HR commission concerned over disappearance of political activists
HYDERABAD, July 29 2006: The Asian Human Rights Commission expressed grave concern on July 28 of what it called the apathy of government authorities in addressing the rising incidents of disappearances of political activists and writers in the country particularly in Sindh and Balochistan. In a statement issued on July 28, the Hong Kong-based regional human rights watchdog observed: “The higher courts of Pakistan have failed to respond to the growing number of kidnappings and forced disappearances at the hands of the country’s security forces. Either they fail to take notice of a case, or they accept the denials of various authorities regarding a person’s arrest without question.”
The AHRC hailed a July 20 decision in the Sindh High Court that held the government responsible for locating missing citizens. “This apparently positive statement from the court is just another attempt to avoid challenging the security agencies directly. The greatest number of disappearances is believed to be in Balochistan where the Pakistani Armed Forces are conducting air strikes and ground operations in which according to the federal interior minister some 4,000 persons have been arrested. Out of these, less than 200 are known to have been produced in court. No one knows about what has happened to these thousands of people. Nor have the superior courts bothered to take care of their fundamental rights.”
“The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) held Pakistan’s judiciary responsible for what it called the gross abuses of human rights in that country, including forced disappearances,” the statement said. “In this year when Pakistan’s judiciary is celebrating its 50th anniversary, more than 1,000 reported disappearances in the country remain beyond the confines of the courts.” The AHRC urged Pakistan’s judges, particularly the chief justice of the Supreme Court to take a stand against the denial of human dignity and civil liberties in the country.
The AHRC further called for the establishment of a high-powered independent commission set up by parliament to investigate the reasons behind the growing number of disappeared people in Pakistan. It urges all people, including journalists, human rights defenders, relatives of victims and lawyers, to become actively involved in pressing the government to see such a commission established and the persistent kidnappings of political activists to be brought to an end.
Source: Daily Times