Number of missing persons declining, United Nation mission told -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Number of missing persons declining, United Nation mission told

By: Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD: Riaz Fatiana, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights, informed a UN mission on Tuesday that incidents of enforced disappearances had declined sharply since the issue became the focus of the judiciary, parliament and media.

Talking to Dawn after his meeting with the two-member UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Mr Fatiana said he had informed the mission that most of the cases of the missing persons had been lingering on since the time when Gen Musharraf was in power.

He said there had been no mechanism available with the judiciary and parliament to trace the missing persons, except for depending on law-enforcement and intelligence agencies. When these agencies said they had no missing person in their custody then not much could be done, he added.

Mr Fatiana briefed the UN mission about the efforts made by his committee, parliament and the judiciary to resolve the issue. He said the number of missing persons had come down to less than 400 from the previously reported 2,300.

He said the Supreme Court had formed two judicial commissions on the issue and the NA committee had also been playing a vital role in locating the missing persons. He said the situation was not as bad as being portrayed by the media and that such incidents had mostly been reported in the provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and in Fata.

He told the UN officials that all the state institutions were playing a positive role to resolve the issue. The UN working group, headed by its Chair-Rapporteur Olivier de Frouville, is on a 10-day visit to the country on the invitation of the government.

The group members visited Balochistan and met nationalist leaders and relatives of the missing persons.