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December 8, 2017

Senator for disbanding Commission on Enforced Disappearances


December 8, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Senator Farhatullah Babar Thursday called for disbanding the Commission on Enforced Disappearances and replacing it with a new one with experts in investigations as members who should also be required to make its report public.

He said this during discussion on the issue of missing persons in Balochistan in the Senate Committee on Human Rights in a meeting chaired by Senator Nasreen jalil and attended by Senators Mufti Abdul Sattar, Sehar Kamran, Jehanzeb Jamaldin and Farhatullah Babar besides officials from relevant ministries and government of Balochistan.

Senator Farhatullah Babar said the impunity of the crime of enforced disappearances continues because the Commission has not been able to pursue investigations into the identity of kidnappers in the light of victims statements. “The law under which the Commission has been set up not only empowers it but also obligates the Commission to do so but it has failed,” he said.

He said the Commission takes credit for having recovered over two thousand missing persons during the last 6 years but it has nothing to show by way of pursuing investigations or filing FIR against individuals or institutions found involved in enforced disappearances.

Babar proposed that the Senate Committee should invite the recovered missing persons and speak with them so that the conversation on missing persons is taken forward, a proposal which the committee accepted. He said that the law had since been amended to empower the Commission to make public its report directly without requiring government approval and asked what has prevented the Commission from making its periodic reports public.

The Committee also called for making public the report of the first 2010 Commission under late Justice Mansoor Kamal which worked for only one year. Senator Farhatullah Babar also called for a peep into what was going on in the internment centres in different parts of the country which he said were Pakistani version of Guantanamo Bay like prisons.

He said that the Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulation promulgated in 2011 was given backdated effect from 2008 to enable law enforcing agencies to bring into the open those caught during fight against militancy in Swat and Malakand. “This was an extraordinary concession to the agencies, however, these centres had become Pakistani Guantanamo Bay prisons and virtual black holes from which no information was forthcoming,” he said.

He said that all state institutions like the Supreme Court, the Parliament, the National Commission on Human Rights and the Commission on Enforced Disappearances appeared helpless in addressing the issue of missing persons. “It clearly means that the invisible perpetrators of the crime are far more powerful that all these state institutions put together,” he said.

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