Missing SECP official’s abduction has exposed ‘worrying’ situation of lawlessness in federal capital, says Chief Justice Athar Minallah
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday directed law enforcement agencies to ensure that Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Additional Joint Director Sajid Gondal, who has been missing since Sept. 3, is recovered by Sept. 17.
Hearing a petition against Gondal’s “abduction,” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah slammed the government for making citizens of the federal capital feel “insecure,” and termed the situation “worrying.” He lamented that such cases appeared to be on the rise and questioned whether security officials had managed to recover a single missing person.
The interior secretary, representing the state, told the court that all efforts were being made to recover Gondal, adding it was too soon to say whether this was a case of “enforced disappearance.” The judge noted that he had been informed that the missing persons commission had taken notice of the disappearance.
“If there is no rule of law in the federal capital then what does this mean?” asked Justice Minallah. “I am confident that you have not yet informed the P.M. of this case,” he said, adding that if Imran Khan were aware of it, the state’s response would have been much different.
The chief justice said ongoing disappearances of citizens was the “real corruption,” and directed the federal government to ensure that every step was taken to recover the SECP official. He also said that the guilty parties should be punished stringently so no one else would dare to think the state authority’s was weak.
He also ordered the federal government to submit a report on the steps it had taken to recover Gondal. “If Sajid Gondal is not recovered or [authorities] fail to track his whereabouts, then the attorney general will have to appear before the court,” he added.
This was the second hearing on the abduction of Gondal, with the court having directed law enforcement agencies to recover him by Sept. 7 (Monday) in its previous hearing.
The SECP official’s abduction has raised eyebrows in Islamabad, with both Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari and Special Assistant to the P.M. on Accountability Shahzad Akbar directing law enforcement officials to ensure his “early recovery.”
Gondal’s mother had filed a petition in court for her son’s return, noting that police were refusing to initiate an investigation. “I seek justice from God,” she said in a video that has gone viral on social media. “How they will face God? Don’t they know one day they will be facing their Lord? The highest court is God’s court.”