Senate committee holds law enforcement agencies responsible for missing persons

The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights’ Chairperson, Nasreen Jalil, on Monday accused law enforcement agencies of abducting people and “asked” them to to investigate the missing persons case.

“They [disappeared individuals] are not even presented in court and [only] their tortured corpses are found later,” she alleged.

Jalil asked how anyone could obey the law if law enforcement agencies themselves do not abide by it. The committee further observed that cases of several missing persons have not even been registered.

Senator Farhatullah Babar of the PPP added that the parliament, Supreme Court and other institutions have failed to resolve the issue.

“The people involved in abductions are not punished despite the evidence against them,” he further alleged.

The session was attended by officials of the interior ministry, Additional Secretary of the Foreign Office and the chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights, retired justice Ali Nawaz Chohan.

Officials from the Inquiry Commission for Missing Persons, however, did not attend the session. According to Jalil, the commission had informed the Senate earlier today that its members would not be able to attend to which Babar responded that a notice about the session’s agenda was sent four days ago. The commission should have informed the Senate earlier so the meeting could have been rescheduled.

He criticised the commission’s performance as well, saying that it had failed in dealing with the issue.

Chohan claimed that it was difficult to take legal action as there were no laws concerning the issue.

“Even the definition of missing persons is not clear,” he said.

The committee responded by saying that the Senate had sent its recommendations to the government in December 2016, yet no debate was held in parliament.

Some Senators also claimed that people had gone missing in a “dramatic fashion” from the NA-120 constituency during the by-polls. Senator Nisar Muhammad of the PML-N said that there were ‘political reasons’ behind the abduction of people from NA-120.

The committee also demanded that a 2012 report on missing persons compiled by Justice Mansoor Kamal be made public, along with a report compiled by the UN’s Working Group on Enforced Disappearances which visited Pakistan the same year.

The Senators also said that the government must look into the Senate’s draft of recommendations regarding the issue.

Source: Dawn


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