SECP Relies On ‘Prayers’ For Recovery Of Its Joint Director

The Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has failed to initiate any legal proceedings for the recovery of its joint director Sajid Gondal, who reportedly went missing in Islamabad on Friday night.

According to a statement issued by the SECP,  "Sajid Gondal, who is working as an additional joint director at SECP is missing since last evening. SECP as an institution expresses its solidarity with his family and is providing complete assistance to the family at this moment. The SECP staff are praying and hoping for an early and safe return of Mr Gondal."

Gondal, who is a former journalist, visited a family-owned farm in Chak Shahzad on Friday after which he disappeared.

According to the family, Gondal’s car was found in front of the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) on Park Road, located in Chak Shahzad. Police had registered a case and started a probe into the incident.

IHC orders recovery of Gondal by Monday:

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ordered the law enforcement authorities to recover the missing government employee by Monday.

The directive was given during the hearing of a habeas corpus petition filed a day earlier by Gondal's mother Asmat Bibi. She expressed concerns that her son may be put to mental and physical torture, saying his life may be in danger.

"If the SECP official is not recovered within the given timeframe then the interior secretary and Islamabad Chief Commissioner Amer Ali Ahmed will need to appear before the court," said IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.

The court also directed that the matter be referred to the federal cabinet, stating that it should be taken up at the next cabinet meeting if Gondal is not found. “The abduction of a citizen from the capital in such a manner is extremely alarming,” remarked Justice Minallah during the hearing.

Following the court directive, Islamabad Police registered a case against the alleged abduction of Gondal.

Reactions to the abduction:

Following the report of his abduction, activists and social media users have pointed fingers at the law enforcement officials for their involvement in the disappearance. They linked the abduction of Gondal with a recent story by journalist Ahmad Noorani that disclosed the asset details of Gen (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa.

Amnesty International urged the government to establish his whereabouts immediately. “Sajid Gondal, a former journalist and an official with the SECP, is missing and feared to have been disappeared. We call upon the authorities to establish his whereabouts immediately,” the rights watchdog added.

Former PPP senator Farhatullah Babar said the SECP official must be recovered immediately. “Perception growing that kidnapping linked to a report about Lt Gen Asim Bajwa. Far from damage control, angry knee jerk response has done incalculable damage,” the PPP leader said, adding the abduction ‘lent credence to the report’ about Bajwa’s assets.