Islamabad [Pakistan], July 8 (ANI): Amid an incessant surge in 'Enforced Disappearances' and misuse of power by higher authorities in Pakistan, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the removal of former justice (retired), Javed Iqbal, as the chairman of the missing person Commission of Inquiry.
This comes as Tayyaba Gul who was involved in a leaked video clip scandal with Iqbal recently appeared before the committee and presented the evidence against the former justice, The Frontier Post reported.
In 2019, Gul was involved in a leaked video clip showing alleged clandestine and illicit relations between her and Iqbal. Gul, and her husband, Mohammad Farooq, were facing inquiries in NAB when the scandal surfaced. Later, NAB filed a reference against them before an accountability court in Lahore.
However, during Thursday's meeting, which the former NAB chairman chose to skip, the PAC reviewed the alleged video scandal involving Iqbal, reported The Frontier Post citing sources.
The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances was established in 2011 and Iqbal, who was also the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) until recently, has been heading it since then.
At the outset of the meeting, Khan asked Gul whether she had filed an application against the former NAB chairman. Appearing before the PAC, Gul said Iqbal had filed a Rs20 million reference against her.
"I was not issued a call-up notice nor was an inquiry conducted," she said defending herself. She further went on to say that officials from NAB Lahore arrested her as she alleged the former justice (retired), Javed Iqbal, for the enforced inquiry.
The NAB Lahore DG had stripped her naked and filmed her. My name was placed on the no-fly list, she said, adding that cases were registered against her for stealing coal trucks. Gul also said that Saleem blackmailed Iqbal with the video he had made of her, she added, saying she was silenced at every forum.
The PAC chairman said that the committee would also listen to Iqbal even though he skipped Thursday's meeting.
Speaking to the media after Thursday's meeting, the PAC chairman said that the voices of many women are left unheard. He said that public office holders should be stopped from misusing their authority while in office. "We were shown many laws and were told that the PAC cannot take up this matter," he said.
"Then we showed them the Rules of Procedures and the laws, which state that it is within our scope," he added.
"If he does not show up again, then I will issue a warrant for Javed Iqbal." Those who are guilty will be prosecuted," he said.
Since March 2011, 8,463 complaints of enforced disappearances have been received by Pakistan's Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances.
According to the New York-based rights group, international law defines an enforced disappearance as the detention of anyone by state forces or their agents who refuse to acknowledge the detention or whereabouts of the person, placing them outside the protection of the law.
The issue of forced disappearance in Pakistan originated during the Musharraf era (1999 to 2008), but the practice continued during subsequent governments as the misuse of power by higher authorities only ascended over time.
Human rights activists allege that the law enforcement agencies in Pakistan are responsible for the cases of forced disappearance in Pakistan.
Enforced disappearances are used as a tool by Pakistani authorities to terrorize people who question the all-powerful army establishment of the country, or seek individual or social rights. Cases of enforced disappearances have been majorly recorded in the Balochistan and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces of the country which host active separatist movements. (ANI)