Missing persons families hold demo outside UN office
ISLAMABAD: Family members of the missing persons staged demonstration on Thursday outside the UN office in Saudi Pak Tower demanding the release of their fathers, husbands and sons and condemned President Pervez Musharraf’s “cruel regime”. The demonstration was organized by Islamic Centre for Research and Defence of Human Rights. An estimated 60 to 70 women and their children stood outside in the greenbelt holding placards inscribed with messages like “Shame on Pervez Musharraf” and “No Eid for Broken Hearts”.
Frustrated and angry mothers, wives and sisters took turns to speak their hearts out as the media persons stood around to capture their stories. Majid Khan, a computer expert by profession was picked up by the secret agencies four years ago from Karachi, said his grieving wife Rabia. “He is being detained by the US illegally in Guantanamo Camp. Last time I heard from him was in a letter he had written which I received on the forth day of Eid-ul-Fitr. He told me to take care and don’t expect him to return soon.”
Rabia said the letter was delivered by the Red Cross and that was the only letter carrying news of her husband she had received. A little boy said he was detained by government agencies for 58 days. He was picked along with his father by the authorities. “I don’t know his whereabouts and I don’t know if my father Mufti Muhammad Shakir is still alive,” he said. Saifullah Piracha also a victim of enforced Disappearance was picked up by the government (security agencies) along with his 22-year-old son. Saifullah Piracha was a heart patient. They had been missing for five years.
Former Senator, Farhatullah Babar also present on the occasion reiterated his support for the families of the victims of enforced disappearances. “If these people have committed wrong then they should be tried in our courts according to the law of the country. Let them go if they are innocent. But the government has handed some of them over to the US in exchange for dollars.”
He said that security agencies should be brought under the rule of law and urged every Pakistani for support of the family members.
“Our support and hearts go out to these aggrieved families,” said supporter. “There are over a 100 families which are suffering emotionally because of state cruelty. These women had been contacted by their husbands and brothers over phone. They advised them against going to the authorities and creating so much fuss about the matter. They never said anything else. They are serving military personnel, businessmen and computer experts,” he said. Defence for Human Rights submitted a memorandum to United Nations on human rights violations made by Pakistan and enforced disappearances by Pakistani security agencies and against illegal detention of Pakistanis at Guantanamo Camp by the US in the name of “war on terror”.
They asked the UN to take serious note of the people being held for indefinite period in the name of war on terror. They demanded of the UN to take serious action against Pakistan and the US under the International Convention for the Protection of Enforced Disappearance – banning all nations from abducting perceived enemies and hiding them in secret prisons or killing them.
The Convention adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 20, called enforced disappearance a criminal act that could not be justified and said perpetrators must be brought to justice.
Referring to the cases of Saifullah Paracha, Badar Madni, Abdul Raheem, Majid Khan and Saad Iqbal being held at the Guantanamo Camp Defence of Human Rights urged the United Nations to play its role in an early release of all Pakistani detainees held there. The protesters also demanded the closure of the Guantanamo Camp. They vowed to continue their struggle until the “kidnapped” persons were returned to their families.