The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday directed petitioners’ counsel to register Baloch students’ complaints of harassment faced by them to the Ministry of Human Rights secretary, who will present it to the recently formed commission.
The IHC had ealier ordered the formation of a commission to probe into the racial profiling, harassment and disappearance of Baloch students in the country.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani was appointed as convener, while the body’s other members include former senator Afrasiab Khattak, PTI leader Asad Umar, former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani, Senator Kamran Murtaza, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, former Balochistan chief secretary Nasir Khosa, former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Ali Ahmed Kurd, Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman, and the secretaries of the interior and human rights ministries.
Earlier today, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard petitions against the harassment and disappearance of Baloch students of Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) and other educational institutions.
Former minister for human rights Dr Shireen Mazari’s daughter Iman Hazir Mazari represented the petitioners and stated that a student, Feroz Baloch, has been missing from a university in Rawalpindi since May 11.
“We attempted to register an FIR [First Information Report] at Sadiqabad police station for six hours, but the police did not do so,” the lawyer stated.
To this, the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) responded that a missing student from Islamabad’s National University of Modern Languages had returned.
The high court directed Advocate Mazari to compose a complaint, on behalf of the Baloch students’ grievances, to the secretary of the Ministry of Human Rights – who would then present it before the commission.
The IHC chief justice also ordered Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Ministry of Human Rights to submit a report by the next hearing of the case on June 10.
The court further directed the interior minister to formulate a separate inquiry into the disappearance of Feroze Baloch and submit a report. “If the minister cannot satisfy the requirement then he must appear in person,” CJ Minallah added.
The chief justice remarked that the formation of the commission had been notified.
The DAG further informed the court that the purpose of the commission is to address the grievances of all stakeholders, “in many cases there are issues of jurisdiction but the commission can look into it,” he added.
Subsequently, the court adjourned the hearing of the case till June 10.
On March 7, the Chief Justice Athar Minallah stated that the court will not allow the voice of Baloch students to be silenced.
These remarks were made during the hearing of a petition against the registration of a case against Baloch students who protested outside the National Press Club in Islamabad against enforced disappearances, triggering a criminal case to be registered against 200 Baloch students and Iman Mazari.
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While the case was withdrawn by the capital’s police, the IHC directed President Dr Arif Alvi to meet with the students stating, “it is the responsibility of the federal government, but the government does not meet them. This court expects the president of Pakistan to ensure the safety of children,” the IHC chief justice added.
As a result, President Alvi directed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the Vice-Chancellor of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Islamabad to take necessary measures to stop incidents of harassment and racial profiling of Baloch students on university campuses.
He further asked the VC to thoroughly monitor any activity which may be a cause of concern to the Baloch students at the varsity and to verify the credentials of visitors in order to check the impersonification and maligning of law enforcement agencies.
Originally published at tribune.com.pk