Mechanism devised: Govt to reveal names of secret detainees

Security agencies assure AGP of help in recovering missing persons.

Ghulam Nabi Yousafzai July 21, 2013
Sources added that the detainees would be allowed to meet their families thrice a week. PHOTO: OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS

ISLAMABAD: The authorities have agreed to reveal the names of all detainees in internment centres run by the country’s intelligence agencies, reliable sources told the Daily Express on Sunday.

At the same time, a mechanism has been devised allowing the relatives of ‘missing persons’ to meet their loved-ones in these detention centres. A mechanism has also been worked out for the recovery of missing persons, sources said.

The mechanism was agreed upon at a high-level meeting at the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP)’s office in Islamabad last Thursday. Representatives from the four provinces and other senior
officials were in attendance.

The move is seen as a giant leap towards easing the concerns of rights organisations and civil society activists about the plight of an unspecified number of missing persons particularly in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Officials concerned assured the AGP office of their cooperation in recovering the missing persons.

Sources added that the detainees would be allowed to meet their families thrice a week. Similarly, families would also be allowed to bring food items for the detainees in the internment centres.

Defence ministry officials assured the meeting that each case would be reviewed individually. They added that information would be collected from all concerned organisations and the AGP office would be informed accordingly through an affidavit. The affidavit would then be presented before the Supreme Court.

The meeting decided that intelligence agencies would not be directly quizzed about any missing person. All queries would be routed through the defence ministry which would reveal the factual position to all those requesting the information, sources added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2013.