Thursday, December 09, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday met the family of missing journalist and blogger Mudassar Naaru and provided them reassurances of the government's resolve to get to the bottom of the matter.
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari, Attorney-General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan and Interior Secretary Yousuf Nadeem Khokhar also attended the meeting.
The meeting followed directives by the Islamabad High Court to Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari to take Naaru's family to meet the cabinet and the prime minister.
The court, during a hearing earlier this month over a petition seeking the journalist's recovery, had told the minister that it was the responsibility of the government to look after the missing journalist's children and satisfy the other family members of the government's response.
Today Mazari posted an update on Twitter, along with a photo of the family meeting the premier.
"PM met with Mudassar Naaru's parents and son this afternoon. Parents gave details of what they had been going through," she wrote.
Mazari said that the prime minister "reassured them" and ordered a "complete report" on Naaru's whereabouts and on what happened to him.
"The family expressed their confidence in the PM's commitment," she added.
In a hearing regarding a petition for the journalist's recovery held earlier this month, the IHC had observed that it is the prime minister and the cabinet that are responsible for the recovery of missing persons.
The court also sought an opinion from Mazari, one of the respondents in the case, regarding payment of compensation to the victim's family from the pocket of the then chief executive of the country.
"The state is like a mother, but it is no where to be seen," the court observed.
For someone to have been kidnapped at the behest of the state is a extremely grave crime, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said.
The court noted that non-state actors also have a hand in enforced disappearances. "Someone will have to be held responsible," it noted further.
The court also remarked that "half of our lives were spent with non-democratic governments in power".
The chief justice asked what the reaction of the state would be if a relative of a public office holder went missing.
The court observed that the wife of the missing citizen had died.
The chief justice said all law enforcement agencies were under the control of the federal government, adding that it was not a matter of summaries or reports.
Mazari told the bench that the government had introduced legislation to stop such activities as it was part of the PTI manifesto.
The matter would be sent to the upper house soon, she said, adding that PM Imran Khan had a very clear stance on the issue.
She said that the prime minister would hear the family "but firstly we want to complete the process of payment of compensation".
She added that her government admits enforced disappearances are a serious crime.
The hearing will resume on December 13.
Hailing from Lahore, Mudassar Naaru has been missing since August 20, 2018, when he went to the northern areas with his wife and child.
His artist and activist wife Saddaf Chughtai passed away on May 8 this year due to a sudden cardiac arrest, leaving behind the four-year-old son, Sachal.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has shown serious concern over the situation and demanded a probe. They have called upon PM Imran Khan and Mazari to look into the case.