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PM Told Interior Secretary ‘Unacceptable’ For People To Disappear, Says Shireen Mazari

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Prime Minister Imran Khan told Interior Secretary Yousuf Naseem Khokhar in a cabinet meeting that it was ‘unacceptable for people to “disappear” as laws are present to deal with all manner of crimes’, said Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari in a tweet.

Sharing the news of the return of missing Security and Exchange Commission Pakistan (SECP), the minister said: “PM made clear in Cabinet that it was unacceptable for people to ‘disappear’ as laws are present to deal with all manner of crimes. Strict orders were given to IG & Interior Ministry on this issue.”

A former journalist and joint director of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Sajid Gondal, went missing in Islamabad on Friday night.

According to the family of the SECP official, Gondal’s car was found in front of the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) on Park Road, located in Chak Shahzad. The family members had said that Gondal visited a family-owned dairy farm in Chak Shahzad.

Missing SECP official:

Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Monday criticised the authorities over their failure to recover SECP official Sajid Gondal, who went missing in the federal capital last week.

During the proceedings, Justice Minallah remarked that someone ‘should accept responsibility’ for the people going missing in the federal capital, reported Dawn.

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Interior Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar tried to assure the court that a ‘high-level’ investigation was underway, saying after the registration of an FIR, probe has been initiated.

The IHC said the investigation officers of the Islamabad police were not even properly trained, lamenting there was not even a prosecution branch in Islamabad.

The court also directed the secretary to inform the federal cabinet about the abduction of the SECP official. The interior secretary told the court that the prime minister will be informed and the matter will be placed before the cabinet in the next meeting.

‘Extremely alarming matter’:

On Saturday, IHC had 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 had expressed concerns that her son may be put to mental and physical torture, saying his life may be in danger.

The court had directed that the matter be referred to the federal cabinet. “The abduction of a citizen from the capital in such a manner is extremely alarming,” remarked Justice Minallah during the hearing.

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.

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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.

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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.

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