ISLAMABAD: Parliament, Supreme Court, National Commission for Human Rights and other institutions have failed to address the issue of enforced disappearances, as it seems that people involved in this heinous crime are above the law, said Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Farhatullah Babar.
The senator was addressing the participants of a consultation meeting on ‘prevalence of enforced disappearances’ organised by NCHR on Thursday.
“Time has come to raise our voice against this heinous crime and people/powers behind this,” the senator said.
Senators share anguish over enforced disappearances
Babar said the relevant authorities failed to provide information on missing persons after being asked multiple times by the apex court and parliament.
“No idea why they pick innocent people, and how they treat them. The most terrifying thing is that their families are clueless whether their loved ones are alive or dead,” said the PPP senator.
He urged the need to reconstitute the Inquiry Commission on Enforced Disappearances instead of expanding its mandate. He added that the commission should seek help from experts and later publish its report on a monthly basis without any fear.
“Parliament has also suggested to the government to regulate security agencies by parliamentary accountability which is not being supported by the government,” he lamented. The senator also urged NCHR to take up this issue and play a proactive role in resolving it.
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According to the Inquiry Commission on Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan, a total of 4,516 cases of alleged enforced disappearances have been recorded till November 30, 2017 since the inception of the commission, and out of this 3,018 cases have been disposed of by the commission.
Meanwhile, NCHR Chairman Justice (retd) Ali Nawaz Chowhan expressed serious concern over the ineptitude of the government to take the issue of enforced disappearances.
“Enforced disappearances are creating panic and chaos among the people and they are feeling insecure in their own homeland,” he deplored.
He further criticised what he called the “irresponsible role” of the ministry of interior in this regard.
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“I am extremely disappointed by the Ministry of Interior’s lukewarm response to this burning issue,” he said, adding that NCHR had approached the relevant officials of the ministry through emails but never received any reply.
Chowhan further said, “When state institutions won’t follow laws then its consequences will be disastrous.”
The chairman voiced concern over a lack of accountability against perpetrators of such crimes which resultantly promotes the culture of impunity. He urged upon the government to adopt some effective mechanism to address the issue of disappearances. He also presented a list of some missing persons and highlighted their ordeals.
Reema Omer, a legal advisor for the International Commission of Jurists, said the government has to fulfill its duties in light of the judgments given by the Supreme Court in such cases, its international commitments and constitutional guarantees.