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Wednesday October 27, 2021

Moot asks political parties to clarify position on enforced disappearances

March 23, 2021

Reminding the government of its pledge to criminalise enforced disappearances, leaders of various political and rights groups at a seminar Monday called for a new and impartial statutory commission that would bring forth results concerning the missing persons’ cases.

The Joint Action Committee for Human Rights organised a national-level seminar on the missing persons at the Karachi Press Club, where speakers termed enforced disappearances a grave violation of fundamental human rights.

Pakistan Peoples Party central leader Mian Raza Rabbani said enforced disappearance was a violation of the constitution and law, and, according to the constitution, every citizen had equal rights, but, unfortunately, the “constitution itself has been kept mortgaged”.

Rabbani said the current government had different standards of law. “For the common people and the elite, there are separate laws,” he said.

He stressed the need for the formation of a grand people’s alliance for resolving the people’s issues and maintaining supremacy of the constitution. Former senator and noted Pahstun leader Afraisab Khattak said that problems would not be solved unless there was resistance.

“The state has failed to protect the fundamental rights of the people,” he said, adding that they had recommended the government to make laws to make the institutions empowered. Former Sindh governor and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Muhammad Zubair said his party accepted the responsibility of those who disappeared during its government.

“In Balochistan, our government has freed most of the missing persons,” he claimed, saying that the current human rights minister, Shirin Mazari, was trying hard but would not

succeed.

He said Imran Khan would not do anything that would “upset the selectors”. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan co-chairman Asad Iqbal Butt said political parties should clarify their position on the issue of missing persons.

Former MNA Bushra Gohar said criticised the political parties for not raising their voice over enforced disappearances. Usman Kakar, a leader of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, said the country’s important issue pertained to the supremacy of the constitution.

Other speakers, including the Tehreek-e-Niswan head Sheema Kirmani, senior economist Kaiser Bengali, National Party central leader Ishaq Baloch and Aurat Foundation’s Mahnaz Rahman, called upon the government to legislate on the issue, adding that Pakistan must ratify the UN convention on enforced disappearances.

Speakers also said missing persons should be produced in court to face trial for any offence they might have allegedly committed, but holding them incommunicado at undisclosed places was a human rights violation.