Lahore, June 6, 2013: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has moved the Supreme Court of Pakistan to review an order disposing of a petition filed in 2007 for recovery of a large number of victims of enforced disappearance.
On May 18, the Supreme Court had disposed of through a short order HRCP’s constitutional petition regarding enforced disappearance of citizens filed in 2007 and observed that the petitioner could pursue the matter before a commission established to deal with the issue of missing persons.
HRCP is of the view that the short order did not address the grievances cited in the petition and has therefore filed a review. HRCP has contended that the jurisdiction of the honourable court under Article 184 (3) could not be replaced by a Commission, whose majority comprises non-judicial authorities, especially since the matter raised was of public importance and clearly involved violation of fundamental rights, the enforcement of which fell squarely within the jurisdiction of the honourable Supreme Court. HRCP has highlighted that 47 people on its list submitted to the SC were still untraced and the families of those had not been given any access to the Commission set up by the Government of Pakistan.
HRCP has also noted that during hearings before the SC over six years a number of the disappeared persons on the list submitted by HRCP were produced in the court and had given statements regarding their illegal abduction and confinement and made allegations against the security forces. HRCP also noted that the court had also not so far rendered a detailed judgement on an important matter of violation of fundamental rights pending before it for the last six years, nor on the several hearings it had held and several statements it had recorded during the proceedings of the case over the last six years, which clearly identified the perpetrators of enforced disappearances. HRCP also pointed out that its petition included a prayer for compensation for those who had involuntarily disappeared and reappeared, but the question of compensation does not find any mention in the judgement.
Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)