The Supreme Court investigates the bleak realities of enforced disappearances

The Supreme Court resumed hearing the petition against enforced disappearances. At the same time, a strike is being held in several Balochistan cities on Wednesday to protest “state oppression” and “atrocities” committed in the province over the last 70 years.
Baloch protesters camped outside Islamabad’s National Press Club yesterday called for a nationwide shutdown demonstration.
The case is being heard by a three-member Supreme Court bench, and it is being televised live. The live stream of today’s hearing is available on both mainstream news channels and YouTube.
The bench is led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and includes Justices Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Musarrat Hilali.
Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan brought the case to the Supreme Court, highlighting how the illegal practice of enforced disappearances continued unabated, haunting generations upon generations.
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As the proceedings began today, Ahsan’s lawyer, Advocate Shoaib Shaheen, read aloud previous court decisions on the matter. He also brought up the Faizabad sit-in. The CJP, on the other hand, questioned how the case was linked to enforced disappearances.
CJ Isa called Amina Masood Janjua to the rostrum during today’s session. She is the chairperson of the rights organization Defence of Human Rights Pakistan (DHR) and has been affected by the tragedy of enforced disappearances. Since 2005, her husband has been missing. As Janjua took the stand and recounted the traumatic events, CJ Isa probed her about the circumstances surrounding her husband’s disappearance.
CJ Isa attempted to untangle the political landscape at the time, focusing on Pervez Musharraf’s government. Janjua revealed that her businessman husband went missing during the regime of Pervez Musharraf.
As Chief Justice Isa pressed for answers about the disappearance, the courtroom inquiry heated up. He also questioned Janjua about her husband’s background, as well as any previous investigations and the findings.
Janjua revealed that her husband was declared dead by the Missing Persons Commission in 2013, but no information on ‘how’ or ‘when’ was provided. The court also addressed the recent case of Matiullah Jan, with CJ Isa expressing concern about the lack of action taken against government agencies involved in his kidnapping.
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The courtroom drama continued with discussions about the protection of people like Imran Riaz Khan, who claimed to have vital information if given court protection. The CJ also examined the dynamics of protecting individuals from potential harm, emphasizing the complexities of such cases.
Amina Masood Janjua’s testimony became a focal point as the intense courtroom drama unfolded, shedding light on the shadows of forced disappearances and the pressing need for accountability and justice in Pakistan.