The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ordered authorities to recover by Monday 2pm an official of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) who went missing on Thursday night from near his farm in Islamabad.
An IHC single-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah gave this order on Saturday while hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Asmat Bibi, the mother of the missing official Sajid Gondal.
Justice Athar Minallah noted that the interior secretary and the Islamabad chief commissioner will also have to appear before the court if Gondal is not rescued by the given time.
He also directed his office to refer the matter to the federal cabinet.“It should be taken up at the next cabinet meeting if Sajid Gondal is not found,” he said.
The court also forwarded a copy of the order to the Cabinet Division secretary. “The abduction of a citizen from the federal capital is extremely alarming,” the judge remarked.
SECP Additional Joint Director Sajid Gondal went missing from Islamabad on Thursday evening.
The family of the SECP official, who earlier worked as a journalist, told the police that on Thursday Gondal after returning from office had gone to his dairy farm.
He had stayed at the farm for some time but never reached home. The official’s wife feared that her husband might have been kidnapped and urged the police to ensure his recovery.
The police said they were later informed about a car with an official number plate parked near the National Agricultural Research Centre. When they reached the spot, they identified the vehicle as the official car provided to the SECP joint director.
In a statement, the SECP later expressed solidarity with Gondal’s family. The commission said it was “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,” it read.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari also expressed her concerns over Gondal’s disappearance and said the government had a duty to ensure his early recovery.
“Police have been directed to register an FIR,” she tweeted. “Protection of each citizen’s life is our constitutional obligation. Rule of law must prevail – all must be dealt with according to the law.”
Disappearance of Sajid Gondal is of concern & we as govt have a duty to ensure his early recovery. Police has been directed to register an FIR. Protection of each citizen’s life is our constitutional obligation. Rule of law must prevail – all must be dealt with acc to the law.
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) September 4, 2020
PM’s Accountability and Interior Adviser Mirza Shahzad Akbar had also taken notice of the disappearance of the SECP official and directed the police to make efforts for his recovery.
PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal described the disappearance as “very disturbing news”. “The government should immediately take all necessary steps to ensure his safe recovery. Such acts bring a bad name to Pakistan,” he added.
The Amnesty International had called upon the authorities to establish Gondal’s whereabouts immediately.