Benazir seeks parliamentary probe into ‘disappearances’
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairperson Benazir Bhutto on Friday expressed grave concern over the increasing incidents of kidnappings and mysterious disappearances of citizens. She called for full disclosure of those disappeared, their recovery and respect for the due process of law. “It is a national embarrassment that increasing number of citizens not only vanish without a trace but their disappearance is greeted with deafening silence by the state agencies,” said the former prime minister in a statement. She said innocence or guilt can only be established in court of law and disappearances are a negation of human rights and the law. “The human rights committees of the Senate and the National Assembly should jointly take up the issue and constitute an independent commission to investigate mysterious disappearance of citizens of Pakistan,” she said.
She deplored the position taken by the Ministry of Defence in July last year before the Sindh High Court that it exercised only administrative control over intelligence agencies but had no operational control over them. She said such statements gave a wrong impression that Pakistan was a failed society. She said it was important to remove such impressions to strengthen integrity and unity of the country. She reaffirmed her party’s commitment to respect human rights and called upon the people of the country to elect the PPP in the forthcoming general elections and reject the present administration “which has played havoc with the lives of the people on all fronts — social, political and economic”.
Benazir drew attention to Article 4 of the Constitution, which provides every citizen with protection and equality under the law. She noted that mysterious disappearances of people are an internationally recognised criminal offence. Article 9 of the Constitution provides that no person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law, she said, adding, “it is a dark chapter in the history of the country that the military regime is in place to violate these fundamental rights”. She assured the people of Pakistan that the PPP would respect the Constitution and asked them to defend their constitutional rights by voting for the PPP, which is the party of the masses.
She assured the families of missing persons that the PPP is with the oppressed and would always stand with the downtrodden against tyranny. Benazir also condemned the treatment meted out to Sardar Akhtar Mengal. She said the PPP was shocked to learn that a respected and representative political leader is being kept in a cage as disclosed by a human rights organisation. She said such acts of humiliation could not break the spirit of the victim but spoke of the petty and bullying nature of the victimiser. She said the treatment meted out to Sardar Mengal was against the traditions of the people of Balochistan and would alienate Pakistan’s largest province from the federation.
Benazir said she was concerned that the present dispensation was harming the integrity and solidarity of the country and laying the seeds of disintegration.
Source: The News