ISLAMABAD: After Balochistan, the number of missing persons in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab is also rising, the Interior Ministry informed the Senate on Friday.
Approximately 358 out of 538 missing persons’ cases were registered from K-P and Punjab with the Commission of Inquiry on Enforcement Disappearance (CIED) since December 2011, the Interior Ministry stated in its reply submitted to the Upper House of the Parliament.
The CIED which has yet to submit its report to the concerned quarters – the Supreme Court, prime minister and president – registered a total of 676 cases since the commission was constituted on September 26, 2011 under directives by the Supreme Court to the Interior Ministry. The commission in its written statement also stated it had registered approximately 138 cases in December 2010.
According to CIED’s findings, the number of missing persons is swelling in K-P and Punjab rather than in Balochistan. As many as 189 missing persons were registered in K-P, 169 in Punjab and 82 in Sindh while 44 people went missing in Balochistan, where current balance of cases is at 56.
Approximately 16 cases of enforced disappearances were also registered in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), 16 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and 22 in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
The commission has disposed off some 209 cases and claimed to have traced 176 missing persons. It traced 68 persons in K-P, 43 in Punjab, 21 in Sindh, 22 in Balochistan, 11 in ICT, six in Fata and five in AJK accordingly.
CIED President (retd) Javed Iqbal directed the deletion of 27 cases due to no identity and six cases owing to other reasons.
During the Senate’s question and answer session, Minister of State for Interior Affairs Imtiaz Safdar Warraich informed the lawmakers that around 315 missing persons have been traced so far and 471 such cases have been disposed off by the two commissions constituted to investigate the issue of missing persons in Pakistan.
After going through the report, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Senator Col (retd) Tahir Mashhadi remarked, “Missing persons’ dilemma is a stigma on incumbent government’s face… (Enforced disappearances) are Musharraf’s legacy.”
Awami National Party (ANP) senator Farah Aqil, meanwhile, questioned if any law existed to keep a check on intelligence agencies which continued to keep missing persons in their custody despite courts’ orders to release them. “There should be some check on intelligence agencies now.”
Responding to queries, Warriach informed the House that the commission has already submitted a comprehensive report to the (aforementioned) concerned quarters. “This report will be made public after the Interior Ministry receives it,” he said. The CIED is still working to resolve the missing persons issue and will finalise its second report in the near future, Warriach added. He stressed that the courts’ decisions were binding on all state institutions and that agencies had no role in such matters.
To another question posed by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) senator Talha Mahmood, Warraich said both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are working on a joint strategy to exchange more and more prisoners under an extradition treaty.
Walkout against loadshedding
Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) members staged a walkout from the proceedings over the failure of the government to address the loadshedding issue in the country.
Federal Minister Naveed Qamar assured the Senate that unscheduled loadshedding has ended in the country, and three provinces are implementing the recommendations of the energy conference, but Punjab isn’t. Punjab is rather protesting out on the streets, he added.
The Senate members recommended that the Karachi Electric Supply Company’s (KESC) administration be handed over to the government, but Qamar turned down the request.
The Senate adopted a resolution condemning the terrorist attack on the mausoleum of former senator Ajmal Khattak and demanded strict action against those involved in such acts of terrorism.
It said that the terrorists are attacking mosques and mausoleums throughout the country but they cannot succeed in their “heinous” designs because the people of the country are united against them. The resolution was moved by Senator Zahid Khan of Awami National Party (ANP).