While the search for Balochistan’s missing persons continues, their cases are complicated by the discrepancies between the records of those involved.
The home department, for instance, said in a recent report that 71 people are missing in the province, while human rights organisations estimate that the figure is closer to 8,000. The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VFBMP) advocacy group insists that more than 19,000 Baloch political activists and sympathisers have been subjected to enforced disappearances over the last 13 years. For his part, Akbar Durrani, the provincial home secretary, has reiterated the government’s resolve to finding the missing persons. Monthly reports are submitted to the Supreme Court, according to him.
VFBMP vice president Mama Qadir says his organisation has submitted a detailed report to the United Nations with evidence regarding missing persons. “There are more than 19,000 people who were subjected to enforced disappearance in Balochistan and none of them have been recovered yet,” he told The Express Tribune. “The government has done nothing, except to release those who were detained for a brief period.”
The home department has stated that 135 cases of missing persons have been registered in the province and the provincial government has received the details of 194 people claimed to be missing. “Human rights organisations have claimed that there are 8,000 people missing and they hold secret agencies responsible for these enforced disappearances,” a routine departmental report stated. “The rights groups were asked to submit evidence in court but they provided only 989 names.”
The department has set up a special cell on the directives of the interior ministry and the cell has published these 989 names in various newspapers, requesting the relatives of these missing persons to submit further details.
Only 194 applicants came forward with additional data. “There is a committee looking into the cases and it is doing its job,” Home Secretary Akbar Durrani insisted, adding that those agencies blamed for the disappearances have also been represented in the committee. “The special cell is set up to collect information. The cases are also with the Supreme Court,” he said.
A special task force was also set up by the interior ministry last year, mandated to formulate a national policy on the missing people, monitor the progress and coordinate efforts of all the stakeholders working on the issue.
The force included officers from the agencies, home secretaries of the four provinces, the additional attorney general, a member of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, additional inspectors-general of special branches of the four provinces and additional chief secretaries. The task force has met 31 times since July 2013.
The interior ministry also formed three special commissions headed by DIG Police Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sharif Werak, Justice Retired Fazalur Rehman and Justice retired Javed Iqbal and Iqbal continues to head a commission regarding the missing persons’ cases. The government claims that 80 missing persons of 194 were recovered and the commission dismissed 43 cases after declaring that these cases do not fulfill the criteria of ‘missing persons’. The commission is currently probing 71 cases.
The Home Department says 135 cases are currently registered, 64 of which are with the Supreme Court.
As many as 612 dead bodies have been recovered from across Balochistan from 2010-2013, according to the Home Department. 373 of these cases were identified as Baloch, 95 Pashtun, 71 un-identifiable and 73 belonging to women, children, members of the Hazara community, those of Punjabi ethnicity and Afghan nationals. All these bodies were found dumped in isolated spaces in Quetta, Khuzdar, Kalat, Mekran, Naseerabad, Sibi and Zhob. The VFBMP contests this information, saying the number of recovered bodies is higher than that declared by the provincial government. “We have evidence that more than 2,000 people were killed in illegal detention cells and their bodies dumped in places across Balochistan,” says Mama Qadir.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2014.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ
@ Jameel ur Rasheed. Dear sir, there was great number of their family members and their aides but lamentably those who protest for recovery of their beloved ones are abducted and met same fate without producing them before courts to prove their crimes. Many students were abducted just because of their protest in support of missing persons. And those who sit with the families of missing persons are threatened to death. Now even they are afraid of coming out of their homes even. Whosoever lost their lives their families also fear to protest peacefully because, I think, do not want their sons, brothers, father and husband to be dumbed as mutilated. Moreover, you discuss number of missing persons and you have no sympathy for those who killed. This behavior of our Pakistani brothers creates distance between state and Baloch brethren. At least, every human loss deserves sympathy regardless of deceased race, religion, region, culture and language. May Allah unite us against oppressors. Amen
Call BLA and other terrorist org's in the court your problem will be solved . Government is always like a mother unless when some one goes beyond control.
612 bodies have been recovered of those persons which were missing at a time. This means that people are missing in huge numbers. Whether the number is 8000 or 19000 it doesn't matter. What matter is that its a grave humanitarian crisis and all the missing persons should be produced before courts if they have committed any crime. Failing to produce them before court proves that nothing can be proved against them
@Jameel ur Rasheed
The painstaking attempt that you have made to prove that Baloch missing persons is not in thousands I wish you could make half the effort to understand the Balochistan conflict.
There are missing person's for sure . The question is how went missing kidnapped or went out but didn't came back . Agencies agencies agencies all foreign agencies are operating in Baluchistan with the help of local abettor's. Did missing person's joined Ferrari group's with the permission of government. Did they joined BLA with the permission of government .Terrorist of BLA and other org are responsible of killing thousand's of local people's ,did they did with the permission of the government . Now the peoples who are protesting what they want from the government , they joined the terrorist group at their own , is government is responsible for that . Those who fought against the country definitely got killed , should government present them back to their family wrapped in national flag .
@Jameel ur Rasheed: Ok. Now that you have assured yourself of a fewer number, you can peacefully go back to doing your usual business.
A simple mathematics one can apply to assess the total number of mission people. If the total missing number is around 8,000 and each missing person is represented by 1 relative at hunger camps, protest sit ins and vigils there must be ATLEAST 8,000 people out there on streets. Now add some scenario, multiple missing people from families, so two or even three missing people are represented by 1 relative, you should have a total to 3,000 to 4,000 protesters at camps in Quetta. The fact is there are no more than 250 people at any protest camps in Balochistan. Mama Baloch who walked all the way from Quetta to Islamabad, had no more than 100 people with him. His sympathizers outnumbered his rally in Lahore and Islamabad. The fact is the protesting Baloch don't know by themselves the total number of disappeared persons. Besides, if 8,000 people are missing can they produce 8,000 identities in form of CNICs or schools certificates or birth certificates or anything. They can't even produce 8,000 pictures. If one analyses the pictures hanging at protest camps, you'll notice a single hand made picture being displayed several times. Than there are pictures of veiled women, how on earth you will locate veiled women from hand drawn pictures? . There is no denying in the forced disappearances, but the fact is that the number is not as high as is reported. In my personal opinion, tally the total number of corpses found plus the total number of verified missing people as claimed by home department. That's it.