After no show, IHC summons PM Kakar for third time in missing Baloch students' case

IHC last week had summoned PM Kakar along with defence, interior ministers and secretaries of ministries concerned

Asim Javed
Awais Yousafzai
A sign board outside the Islamabad High Court. — Geo News/File
A sign board outside the Islamabad High Court. — Geo News/File

  • Coming to court shouldn't be considered an insult, judge remarks.
  • "No one is above the law," says Justice Kayani.
  • IHC adjourns hearing of case till February 28.

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has been summoned for the third time by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday in the case pertaining to the missing Baloch students.

The court orders came before its bench adjourned today's hearing till February 28.

"Caretaker prime minister should not consider coming to court as an insult," Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, who is heading the bench, remarked during the hearing.

The caretaker prime minister should not go to Karachi for the next hearing, but appear before the court, the IHC judge added.

"No one is above the law here," the judge said, stating that the premier was summoned because he was "accountable".

The judge was upset over the absence of PM Kakar, reminding the Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan about the second time he has skipped appearing before the court.

Justice Kayani also inquired about other caretaker ministers as well as the defence and interior secretary.

However, Interior Secretary Aftab Durrani appeared before the court later.

A day earlier, IHC’s Justice Kayani issued a four-page written order summoning PM Kakar, defence and interior ministers along with the secretaries of the ministries concerned. 

They were directed to ensure their physical appearance in today's hearing at 10am.

Along with the caretaker premier, the caretaker ministers of interior and defence have also been summoned.

The hearing

At the onset of the hearing, IHC’s Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani said it took two years to recover the people of our country, but not all children have been recovered yet.

“There is no case of fights, narcotics or any other kind against them. [We] hear more sensitive cases of missing persons,” he remarked.

Responding to the judge’s query about the recovery of the 12 missing students, AGP Awan said: “As per my information eight students have not been recovered yet.”

Justice Kayani asked the AGP to provide details regarding the criminal cases filed against the missing persons and whether the state institutions are responsible for enforced disappearances.

He remarked that it is the responsibility of the state institutions if these people either ran away or were abducted by a third party.

“There is no case on record against the citizens who were recovered,” the judge said, adding that a citizen was picked up without a first information report (FIR) from Islamabad F6.

The judge lamented that three governments couldn’t do anything to recover the missing Baloch students.

“Right now there is a caretaker government, before that there was a government of 16 months. Even the previous government could not do anything on the issue of missing persons,” he remarked.

The judge maintained that the defence and interior secretaries as well as the director-general of Inter-Services Intelligence, director-general of Military Intelligence (Pakistan) are all civil servants.

“All these officers are accountable, no one is above the law,” he said.

The judge suggested forming an inquiry committee with the heads of all three institutions and seeking a report from them.

“Why should we call the PM? Let’s form a committee consisting of the same organisation’s people that are being accused.

The AGP requested the court give some time to the new government to make a policy.

The judge asked if the new government will be fine with enforced disappearances. Some institutions, he added, should not get the exemption they receive.

Justice Kayani said: “You should be afraid of the time when someone stands up against the law enforcement agencies.”

Addressing the interior secretary, the judge remarked that someone will, one day in an act of resistance, gun down the ones coming to their homes.

In the previous hearing on February 13, the court had directed the interim premier to appear before the bench.

At the outset of the previous hearing, the assistant attorney general (AAG) asked the court to adjourn the hearing as the attorney general was unavailable. However, the request was rejected.

Justice Kayani further remarked that the death penalty should be awarded to those involved in enforced disappearances. 

“People involved [enforced disappearance] should be given the death penalty twice,” remarked Justice Kayani. He then asked the caretaker PM to appear in person to explain why a case should not be registered against him.

However, the advocate general pleaded with the court that they required more time in the case. But Justice Kayani refused to entertain the government’s plea.

This is the second time that PM Kakar has been summoned by the IHC. He was last summoned on November 22, 2023, to personally appear before it in the case filed by Advocate Imaan Mazari. 

However, he did not appear as he was not in the country.