ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry has informed the Senate’s Standing Committee on Human Rights that the total number of missing persons is 1,601.
The information was provided by the Additional Secretary of the Interior Ministry to the committee, which met here on Monday under Senator Afrasyab Khattak of the ANP. Members of the committee did not agree with the information provided by the ministry and said that there were reports according to which “many thousand” people were missing. They observed that political and human rights activists from Balochistan have been saying that about 5,000 Baloch people had been missing in the province alone.
They said that there was also a significant number of people who had gone missing during the Musharraf regime for their alleged links with Taliban and al Qaeda. The committee decided to form a sub-committee to ascertain facts. The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights also reviewed the situation of prisons in all the four provinces. The inspectors-generals of prisons from Sindh and Balochistan said that jammers should be installed in jails to prevent prisoners from using cellphones, disrupting their activities from inside the jails.
The additional home secretary of Balochistan informed the Senate Committee that people involved in target killings in Balochistan have been trained across the border in Afghanistan. He informed the committee that 152 people have been killed in various incidents of target killings in Balochistan since 2008.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 18th, 2010.