QUETTA - Despite clear orders from the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the missing persons case, 19 officials of the Frontier Constabulary did not appear on Sunday before the Crime Investigation Department’s Deputy Inspector General.

The court had strictly ordered the officials’ appearance in connection with their alleged involvement in the missing persons case.

DIG Imtiaz Shah told the media he himself waited till 4pm, but no FC official was produced.

In an interview in Islamabad on Sunday‚ Information Minister Pervez Rashid said that the government and the Supreme Court have same stance in this regard. He said that no incident of missing person took place during the tenure of this government. He said the government will make sure the return of these people (missing persons) to their homes.

The matter of missing persons, or enforced disappearances, has become a test case of civil liberties in Pakistan where security authorities have long been accused of using extra-constitutional measures to deal with political dissent.

Recently, the relatives and family members of missing persons carried out a 26-day-long march from Quetta to Karachi in order to highlight the plight the families have been suffering. The participants of the march travelled 750 kilometres on foot.

“We were even offered cheques to cancel our long march but I told the shameful people who offered us money that we would not sell the blood of our sons, brothers and fathers,” said Mama Qadeer Baloch, the chairperson of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, who also led the march. “We will fight for justice at any cost.”

On Friday, the apex court ordered the 19 FC personnel to appear before the Balochistan Police authorities. When FC Law Officer Major Nadeem told the court that these officers were now with the army, the chief justice opined the GHQ be contacted and asked for their production before the investigation department’s DIG.

“Produce all these persons whether they are in the FC or reverted to army,” the court had said while hearing the missing persons case.

In a similar gesture, defying Supreme Court’s orders, the Inspector General Frontier Constabulary (FC) Balochistan had also failed to turn up before the apex court in Friday’s hearing. Moreover, none of the ‘missing persons’ was produced.

The Inspector General Frontier Constabulary (FC) Balochistan was ordered by the Supreme Court to appear before the bench with all the 35 undeclared detainees.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was heading the Friday bench which took up the missing persons’ case at Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry.

The Counsel for the FC had told the court that the court ordered could not be delivered to the FC chief and other officers owing to the shortage of time.

“What actually you people want?” the Chief Justice had asked the FC representative. “Tell us to whom should we issue the contempt of court notice?”