Pakistan’s missing citizens

July 23, 2008

April 2008 file photo of the family of a missing man near QuettaIn a country facing the triple challenges of economic crisis, political instability and Islamist militancy, the impact on individuals can be easy to overlook. Amnesty International has tried to redress part of this by publishing a report about the hundreds of people it says have disappeared in Pakistan as a result of counter-terrorism measures.

It urges the coalition government elected in February to act immediately to resolve all cases of enforced disappearance. “We don’t know if those subjected to enforced disappearances are guilty or innocent, but it is their fundamental right to be charged and tried properly in a court of law,” says Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific director.

The report also calls on other governments, particularly the United States, “to ensure that they are not complicit in, contributing to, or tolerating the practice of enforced disappearances. Many people who have been secretly held in detention centres in Pakistan say they were interrogated by Pakistani intelligence agencies but also by foreign intelligence agents.”

So is the report enough to prod the government into action?

The Guardian quotes Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, as saying: “The missing persons issue is high on the agenda. In fact when I called on the prime minister a few days ago … he mentioned this issue as well.” Babar added that the interior ministry had been “tasked to call a meeting of the [intelligence] agencies and sort it out”.

But it also quotes Amina Janjua, whose husband Masood disappeared three years ago, as saying that the government “talk a lot, but that is not enough.”


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Absolutely shameful and disgraceful. It was one of the major issues of which the CJ of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhri, took suo motto notice and started hauling up the secret agencies to find out the where abouts of over 600 such persons. This was one of the reason for his illegal dismisal from service and detention alongwith his family for well over 5 months without any charge. All this has been happening in the 21st century in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a supposedly democratic country, with the full knowledge and blessing of the western powers particulary America and England.
America is still supporting the perpetrator of this and other equally serious crimes and creating hurdles in the way of restoration of the CJ Iftikhar Chaudhri and about 50 other judges of the Supreme and High Courts of Pakistan who stood by the CJ for upholding of the constitution of Pakistan and for rule of law as is being demanded by 165 million people of this country.
It is this state of lawlessness in Pakistan which has now made even liberals have a second thought about enforcement of Shariah law in this country. They feel some law even though antiqated may still be better than no law which has been the norm in Pakistan particularly in last few years.
This must be a food for thought for Americans and their other allies in their war on terror. The war which they are trying to win with the use of brute force only and are failing.

Posted by Kabir Das | Report as abusive

Give me rule of law or give me death !!!

Posted by Kabir Das | Report as abusive

Iftakhar Choudhry was not removed because of the missing persons case which he was hearing. Had he not touched the candidacy of President Pervez Musharraf, I think he would have been the Chief Justice even today. It was an ill-advised move on the part of the chief justice to start a case when he had already legitamized the take-over by General Pervez Musharraf on the doctrine of necessity. He had also taken oath under the first PCO issued by general Musharraf.

As far as the missing persons are concerned, I think President Mushrraf and the government of Pakistan cannot of be blamed for it. It is the US who is to blame.

Posted by Nasir Jamal | Report as abusive