Enforced disappearances: UN team visit causes panic among MPs

Published: September 11, 2012
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“It would be the first step leading towards the disintegration of the country,” says Raza Hayat Hiraj.DESIGN: SIDRAH MOIZ KHAN

“It would be the first step leading towards the disintegration of the country,” says Raza Hayat Hiraj.DESIGN: SIDRAH MOIZ KHAN

ISLAMABAD: 

The arrival of a UN delegation on Monday on a 10-day mission to investigate the issue of enforced disappearances in the country has set off alarm bells in the National Assembly.

Expressing surprise at the visit of the delegation, which is here on the government’s invitation, the fact-finding exercise was termed a ‘threat to the country’s sovereignty.’ Interestingly, the National Assembly, according to the schedule, was to resume a discussion on the prevailing law and order situation in the country, including in Balochistan. However, none of the MNAs from the government or the opposition expressed any desire to participate in the debate.

Speaking on the delegation’s visit, PML-Q MNA Raza Hayat Hiraj said: “It would be the first step leading towards the disintegration of the country,” while asking the house to take the issue seriously. Speaking on a point of order, Hiraj expressed his fears, saying the two-member ‘UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances’ would definitely visit Balochistan, where a handful of people would talk about independence from Pakistan. He warned that, ultimately, the UN would hold Pakistan responsible for human rights violations and give the Baloch an opportunity to talk about their right to self-determination.

“What are the ulterior motives of this commission, what is its mandate, where will it visit, who will be quizzed, what would be the commission’s motive, who had issued the visas?” questioned Hiraj, who called the visit “a failure on the part of the Foreign Office.”

He went as far as to state that, “it is an issue more grave and serious than the floods, the performance of public institutions and corruption.” Hiraj also warned the government that the commission’s report could endanger democracy and the upcoming general elections in the country.

“Why did the commission come when the Supreme Court has already constituted one, when the chief justice is hearing the enforced disappearances cases and parliament has constituted a special committee over the subject?” Hiraj further questioned, pondering “is this a banana republic?”

Responding to his concerns, Minster for Kashmir Affairs Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo supported the argument and asked Hiraj to submit an adjournment motion for holding a debate in the house on the matter.

There were also discussions on the widespread mismanagement of public institutions in general and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in Islamabad in particular. “There are mafias in the CDA and the government should take action,” urged Nadeem Afzal Gondal.

NLC scam

During the session, Khawaja Saad Rafiq of the PML-N took exception to General Headquarters’ refusal to allow the trial of three retired military generals who were found guilty in the National Logistics Cell (NLC) scam.

“I condemn this act of the military establishment,” Rafiq stated. “Are they [the army] above the law that they cannot be held accountable by a civilian institution?” He also urged the military and political leadership to take serious notice of the issue.

“It is quite strange that an elected prime minister is disqualified by the Supreme Court but no one can touch a general. They perhaps still think that they are above the law and democracy has not matured yet, he claimed.

ANP boycotts proceedings

The Awami National Party (ANP), which had boycotted the NA proceedings on Friday to protest against the promulgation of the Sindh Peoples Government Ordinance 2012, did not attend Monday’s session.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • True
    Sep 11, 2012 - 6:26AM

    This is an attack on the sovereignty of Pakistan. Perhaps such teams should visit Indian and the US where there are a greater number of missing people.

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  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Sep 11, 2012 - 6:26AM

    Were these MPs sleeping?.Were they not aware.
    Baluchistan issue needs to be handled in a serious manner and on very urgent basis

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  • Roaming eye
    Sep 11, 2012 - 6:46AM

    The writing is on the wall. Years of foreign interference, cross border sanctuaries, training for the separatist Baloch militants, the ongoing insurgency and the now these commissions!!! What else is not there to complete the picture???

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  • Naeem Siddiqui
    Sep 11, 2012 - 6:54AM

    I myself is surprised with this UN visit!! supreme court already working in this matter. who invited them and whats their mandate need to be cleared.

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  • Cautious
    Sep 11, 2012 - 7:20AM

    Hiraj expressed his fears, saying the
    two-member ‘UN Working Group on
    Enforced or Involuntary
    Disappearances’ would definitely visit
    Balochistan

    Seems like your politicians are more concerned about looking bad than finding the cause/solution to the thousands of missing people. The concern is not warranted since the rest of the World already knows who’s responsible and that other than a few harsh words from CJ your country hasn’t done anything meaningful to reign in those who are responsible.

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Sep 11, 2012 - 7:35AM

    It is so clear why the government has invited the UN to intervene and the same government also brought in UN people to investigate BB’s murder. This elected outfit in Islamabad don’t have the confidence in the local authorities, the military and the agencies are beyond their control, and they should be blamed for it, they are the ones who violated the constitution and negated the Supreme Court’s orders. If this government could have strengthened the hands of the Supreme Court, the court might have brought the military and the agencies under civilian control. Bringing in the UN to look into internal matters will have far reaching consequences for Pakistan for years to come, we have lost the respect among the world community and these agencies are bringing the country to it’s knees before the world. The path Pakistani powers to be are following is a slippery slope and leads to implosion. We have mistreated our brothers and sisters in Bungla Desh and now we are doing it in Baluchistan and FATA. When would we ever learn. We don’t need external enemies to undo the country , we are doing a good job by ourselves.

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  • Lala Gee
    Sep 11, 2012 - 8:38AM

    “He warned that, ultimately, the UN would hold Pakistan responsible for human rights violations and give the Baloch an opportunity to talk about their right to self-determination.”

    It is an embarrassment when someone who believes in democracy is afraid of self-determination, be he an Indian or be he a Pakistani. Self-determination is a fundamental right of people and cannot be deprived off their basic right. However, let the time come and see if UN makes such demand and that would be the time when Kashmiris would have to be given this right first before any one else could get this right.

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  • gul bahadur
    Sep 11, 2012 - 8:53AM

    Why our “AGENCIES” are so much worried about U.N.investigators.When your own body starts fighting your systems,the doctors call it AIDS.U.N.has been active in many other countries including Libya,Bahrain,Syria and many other African countries where our police men are proud to be a part of U.N. missions.We need U.N. missions in all parts of Pakistan where people are killed by the so called TERRORISTS.A glaring example of this is the BOMB BLAST in Parachinar yesterday(Express Tribune) when more than 15 people lost their lives.

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  • jjndkvn
    Sep 11, 2012 - 9:15AM

    “It would be the first step leading towards the disintegration of the country,” — first step??? No, many steps have already been taken towards the disintegration of the country including the disappearances themselves.

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  • Muhammad Ishaq
    Sep 11, 2012 - 9:16AM

    we shoud wellcome this UN team because we have no capacity to control and manage our boys in Pindi.

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  • Muhammad
    Sep 11, 2012 - 9:42AM

    If you do not solve your own problems there are just too many people waiting to help “Syira” to freedom! if you get my drift.

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  • Raw is War
    Sep 11, 2012 - 10:06AM

    fat is in the fire now.

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  • Kiran Ali
    Sep 11, 2012 - 10:07AM

    The United Nations deserves being thrown out of the dictionary of Pakistani politics. It is a defunct institution and there is a big question mark on its role as a governance body.

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  • Tabish Bilgrami
    Sep 11, 2012 - 11:00AM

    Interestingly, the National Assembly, according to the schedule, was to resume a discussion on the prevailing law and order situation in the country, including in Balochistan. However, none of the MNAs from the government or the opposition expressed any desire to participate in the debate.

    Amazing they all the same… HUH

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  • Pakistani boy
    Sep 11, 2012 - 11:10AM

    No doubt it was very well written. the concern shown by an MNA that this visit will destabilise the democratic system of the country, he is true but the time when the feudal system in Baluchistan is on the peak and not allowing government to build any infrastructure for the sake of the people why didn’t he put a question in the national assembly. if UN representative are here to see the missing person issue, question is to UN that the people killed in drone attacks, what about their concerns. this visit is just to target a specific for destabilise the country administrative and political system..

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  • Mr. Honest
    Sep 11, 2012 - 11:48AM

    @ Gul Bahadur. Pakistan hes yet not become libya or syria… But for sure this govt. has made it a banana republic.

    Also you don’t need UN to investigate things for you when you have a COUNTRY (Did UN investigate Indian Kashmir? ) … but then I think there is no government in the first place. Its a farce. Very sad indeed!

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  • Pak Tester
    Sep 11, 2012 - 11:55AM

    Expressing surprise at the visit of the delegation, which is here on the government’s invitation, the fact-finding exercise was termed a ‘threat to the country’s sovereignty

    The first line says two absurd things…first the delegation is on government’s invitation, second its a threat to the sovereignty. If it is on govt’s invitation then it cannot be a threat on country’s sovereignty. The delegation is not going to punish anybody, instead it will only investigate, and its a general international procedure. When you are part of the UNO, then why the fuss, ???Recommend

  • Polpot
    Sep 11, 2012 - 12:14PM

    ‘The solution is simple: just make the UN Team disappear
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Problem Solved.

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  • Austin
    Sep 11, 2012 - 12:40PM

    Attack on sovereignty ? What is the use of sovereignty if your life, honour and property are not safe. I think our law makers think sovereignty means a state where they are ministers and all the resources of the country are used to serve them.

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  • baldtree
    Sep 11, 2012 - 1:50PM

    If there is nothing to hide, why should there be any trepidation on the visit?

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  • Dolly Aga
    Sep 11, 2012 - 6:06PM

    Many of these ‘forced disappearances’ may have been ‘voluntary’ as motivated persons went to join jihadis and other organisations that are against the US and its presence in the region – worth a thought. Of course families are worried but such persons usually go off without warning when they are convinced by their peers and others. A number of families have such tales to tell. Anyway its an internal matter and the UN should not be involved – it is a useless body as some has said above!

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