Amnesty petitions Pakistan over disappearances

The human rights group alleged the disappearances have increased dramatically since Pakistan became a US ally.

Reuters August 30, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Amnesty International has called on Pakistan's government to end what it calls the growing practice of disappearances enforced by the state.

In an Aug 29 petition on its website, the human rights group alleged the disappearances have increased dramatically since Pakistan joined the American war on militancy after the 9/11 attacks.

(Read: “End enforced disappearances in Pakistan”)

Those detained, including activists, journalists and students, are sometimes found dead, with signs of torture. Thousands may have fallen victim to the practice, Amnesty said.

(Read: “UN urges Pakistan to probe journalist killings”)

Amnesty said a judicial commission of enquiry on the so-called enforced disappearances "had failed to resolve the crisis or to hold the security forces and intelligence agencies to account in cases implicating them."

(Read: "Missing persons: ‘2011 will be year of recovery’")

"The Prime Minister of Pakistan who controls the security agencies needs to urgently step in to address this human rights situation," Amnesty said on its website.

It noted that enforced disappearances occur frequently in Balochistan. The province has been facing a low-level insurgency by nationalists who want more control over its natural resources, which they say are unfairly exploited by the federal government.

(Read: "Detained and missing: Amnesty urges action to save 10 missing Baloch")

Amnesty said there were 93 recorded cases of people killed after being reported missing between October 2010 and May 2011 in Balochistan.

Pakistan's military and security forces deny allegations of human rights abuses in the country, a strategic US ally.

Pakistan's army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said: "There has been no military operation conducted in Balochistan since 2008. There is infighting going on between various militant groups, and they are kidnapping and killing each other".

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