KARACHI. The Sindh High Court (SHC) has noted that tracing the whereabouts of a missing person “even if one has hidden oneself” is the responsibility of the police and law enforcement agencies (LEAs) which should also continually inform the families of such persons about developments in their investigation.
The police should visit such families and keep them informed about the efforts made for recovery of missing persons, said a division bench – presided over by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar – which was hearing a case regarding disappearance of Mushtaq alias Adil and others on Friday.
The court observed that a person had been missing for seven years and nobody knew whether he had hidden himself or was kidnapped by someone or picked up by the LEAs.
A state counsel informed the court that Mushtaq was wanted in several heinous crimes and it was likely that he had hidden himself to avoid investigation and prosecution. The bench, however, wondered why the law enforces could not trace a person who was facing murder charges.
The court also noted that keeping the families of the missing persons informed about the progress in finding the missing persons is also the duty of police. “Police should visit such families and keep them informed about the efforts they are making for the recovery of such people,” the court observed.
The state counsel said Muhtaq’s was not the solitary case of voluntary disappearance and there were numerous cases where people disappeared voluntarily for fear of investigation and their families filed petitions for their recovery.
The court, however, observed that even in such cases tracing the whereabouts of missing persons is the duty of police and other LEAs. The police and the LEAs could not shirk their legal duty by merely saying that a person had hidden himself to avoid prosecution, it noted
The court later directed the counsel to call a detailed report from the law enforcers about the progress made in tracing the whereabouts of Mushtaq and other missing persons and submit the same before it.