HRCP, IPSS seminar: ‘Enforced disappearances’ must come to an end
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Institute for Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS) organized a seminar on ‘Human Rights in the Era of Enforced Disappearances’ at Safma Auditorium on Saturday. Human rights community, artist community, academics & teachers, students, rights based NGOs, representatives of political parties, and families of missing persons attended the seminar.
The participants demanded from the Government of Pakistan for taking steps to stop enforced disappearances, to make public the 3 member commission of judges’ report of 2010 & implement its recommendations, to empower the Commission of Inquiry and turn it into a judicial commission and Pakistan should ratify the international convention on enforced disappearances of citizens.
An HRCP documentary on Enforced Disappearance was screened, a presentation on the history of Enforced Disappearance was shown. This was followed by the discussion among the following speakers: I A Rehman discussing enforced disappearances; Salima Hashmi read a poem of Faiz Ahmad Faiz; Hina Jilani said that this was not an issue of law as state was not interested in law; Lal Khan, Farooq Tariq, Ahmed Rashid, Imtiaz Alam, Dr Mehdi Hasan, Dr Mohammad Waseem, Adv Salman Raja, Irfan Mufti discussed the issue and Aftab Javed recited his poem.
Enforced disappearances have become prevalent in Pakistan and one hears about new disappearances every day. Currently 1,498 cases of enforced disappearances pending with the inquiry commission as of November 2017.
On October 26, 2017, Supreme Court Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan said, “The highest judicial office of the country has no answer to give to the loved ones of the missing persons who have been doing the rounds of the courts.” On December 07, 2017, Senator Farhatullah Babar said, “Whoever is picking up these people is stronger than state institutions;” while the Senate Committee on Human Rights said, “This matter is bringing disrepute to the country.” Thus the civil institutions of the state seem helpless in resolving the matter.
Enforced disappearances are against Pakistan’s constitution Articles 4, 9, 10, 14, and it is against Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, and 19. Thus, this practice is illegal, inhumane and is counterproductive to nation building and peace building.