The Islamabad High Court (IHC), presided over by Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, held a hearing on November 29 regarding the case of over 50 missing Baloch students.
The court had previously directed caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar to facilitate the students’ recovery or to appear before the court. However, despite the urgency of the matter and the court’s clear directive, the caretaker Prime Minister was notably absent from the proceedings, which Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan attributed to the Prime Minister’s week-long trip to the Mideast.
Interior Minister Sarfaraz Bugti, Human Rights Minister Khalil George, attorney Imaan Zainab Mazari, and families of the missing students were among those in attendance. Awan informed the court that 22 of the missing Baloch students had been located and returned home, but 28 still remain missing. He emphasized the challenge posed by the lack of detailed identification information for these students.
Justice Kayani, during the hearing, issued a stern warning, asserting that if the remaining missing students are not recovered by the next court session, he would initiate legal proceedings against top government officials, including the Prime Minister, the Minister of Interior, and the Secretary of Defense.
Justice Kayani expressed deep concern about the situation, emphasizing the fundamental human rights at stake. He noted that allegations often implicate state security agencies and stressed the necessity of accountability.
Interior Minister Sarfaraz Bugti noted that the commission had overlooked certain aspects, including cases of individuals traveling to Afghanistan. However, Justice Kayani was quick to highlight that in cases involving enforced disappearances, it is often the state’s own agencies that are implicated.
The court expressed frustration with the Minister of Interior for the lack of progress after numerous hearings. Justice Kayani emphasized the need for legal action against guilty parties, insisting on accountability for all agencies involved.
In his concluding remarks, Justice Kayani underscored the state’s failure to adequately address these disappearances. He firmly stated that if the missing students are not found, legal action will be taken against the top officials, including the Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior. “The Prime Minister and you will then have to go home,” he sternly addressed Bugti, underscoring the gravity of the situation.