ISLAMABAD For early release of more than 6,000 Pakistani citizens who are languishing in different foreign jails and recovery of missing persons, the Supreme Court has summoned Secretaries of Interior, Foreign and Finance Ministries on 20th of this month. A three-member bench, headed by Justice Javed Iqbal, heard the cases of missing persons and of those who have been imprisoned abroad. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Tariq Pervez were the other members of the bench. The court expressed its displeasure over the Interior Ministrys report on the issue. Justice Javed observed that Pakistani embassies abroad were supposed to protect and pursue the cases of imprisoned persons. He also asked about the initiatives taken by the Government and the Foreign Ministry for repatriation of such people. The court observed that report of Foreign Office was comprehensive but practical steps had not be taken yet. More than 200 Pakistanis kept in Thailand prisons are in miserable condition while some 425 are imprisoned in Malaysia. Additional Attorney General KK Agha told the apex court that financial shortage was a big hurdle in bringing such people back. On this, Justice Javed remarked, Is Pakistan too poor to afford this? He said that Secretary Finance would be quizzed over the matter. Regarding the efforts of Interior Ministry, the bench observed that no concrete efforts were made. In Afghanistan where about 147 Pakistanis are jailed, the situation is shocking and no action was taken by the Foreign Ministry to contact Afghan authorities, the bench added. Justice Javed said that despite the lapse of five months, the Government could not succeed to take concrete steps for the early release and recovery of its citizens. He asked, How many Pakistani citizens who were imprisoned abroad have been brought back to Pakistan? However, he could not get any response. Justice Tariq suggested that for repatriation of these prisoners, the Government should allocate a separate fund or NGOs must be approached for removal of financial constraints. Justice Khosa said the prime responsibility of this court was to secure fundamental rights of the people and the Interior Ministry should at least explain its efforts in this regard. It appears that the real issue has not been tackled. You people are only concerned with preparation of reports to be read out by this court, he remarked. Ikram Chaudhry, the counsel for missing persons relatives, requested the court that Interior Minister should be issued notices in this connection. Amina Masood Janjua told the court that although Judicial Commission was functioning, yet the relatives of missing persons could not be satisfied till recovery of their dear ones. The bench also directed the Judicial Commission to also take up the 28 cases of missing persons belonging to Muttahida Qaumi Movement.