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FIR lodged seven weeks after activist’s disappearance

Report in Express Tribune, Sept 22, 2017
HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad police have lodged an FIR of disappearance of human rights worker Punhal Sario seven weeks after he was allegedly whisked away by a law enforcement agency. The case was registered at the GOR police station on the complaint of Sughra Sario, Punhal’s wife, under sections 365 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

According to the FIR, around 15 personnel in police commando uniforms stopped the car in which Punhal was returning from an event and forced him into a Toyota Vigo. The incident happened at around 11pm on August 3 near the Sindh Museum in Hyderabad.

Punhal headed the non-profit organisation Hari Porhiyat Council and recently became convener of Voice of the Missing Persons of Sindh. Some weeks before his disappearance, he led a march from Hyderabad to Karachi which demanded release of all missing persons in the province.

His disappearance drew condemnation and protests by rights activist in many cities of Sindh, including Karachi and Hyderabad. His wife filed a petition in the Sindh High Court, Karachi, which conducted a hearing on Wednesday.

Mahesh Kumar, a journalist who accompanied the family to the police station, told The Express Tribune that the family had received repeated calls from the local police since Wednesday evening for registering the FIR. The family earlier blamed the police for avoiding registering their initial complaint when the family approached the police on August 4.

September 22, 2017   No Comments

Ex-army officer goes missing: Report in Dawn, September 15th, 2017

ISLAMABAD: A retired army officer, who served with the country’s premier intelligence agency, has gone missing from the federal capital.

On the complaint of Mohammad Shamal Khan, the elder brother of the retired lieutenant colonel, the police registered a kidnapping case against unidentified people.

Mr Khan told the police that his brother, who retired from the army a year ago, came to courts in G-11 from Peshawar on September 11. Later, he was going to the house of a friend when he disappeared, the police quoted the complainant as saying.

His mobile phone was also found switched off. The missing man’s car was found from a parking lot in F-10.

Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Unit arrested a man for allegedly supplying narcotics to students and recovered 7.20 kilogrammes hashish from him, said the police.

During the preliminary interrogation, the suspect confessed to supplying drugs to students of different institutions, the police claimed.https://www.dawn.com/news/1357807/ex-army-officer-goes-missing

September 15, 2017   No Comments

Interior ministry being evasive over enforced disappearances: NCHR: report in The News, Sept 13, 2017

Karachi: Expressing concern over enforced disappearances in the country, the chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) has accused the federal interior ministry of evading responsibility in some specific cases.

In certain cases, the commission contacted the interior ministry, but “they [interior ministry officials] evaded responsibility”, said retired justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan while addressing an emergency press conference at the offices of the NCHR on Tuesday afternoon.

He said the Frontier Corps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had been contacted but it asked for time to investigate the cases, saying they were “working on it”. Later, he said, came the reply, “We are not able to find them.”

Justice Chowhan said the mandate of the disappeared persons’ tribunal was very limited. He suggested the formation of an internal redressal system and said they should be allowed to contact that system. “They should tell us the reasons for detention/disappearance or otherwise.”

This, he said, would also expose “rogue elements” who, under cover of their government service, sought to wreak personal vendetta, thus disgracing the government. Justice Chowhan described enforced disappearances as a matter of great concern, emphasising that “we should try and rectify the situation at the earliest”.

He noted that Article 9 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was very clear on the matter of life and liberty. Besides, he said, fundamental rights were enshrined in the two international conventions, the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on Economic Rights.

“Our policy is the protection and promotion of human rights and safeguarding them.” The NCHR chairman said the Quaid-e-Azam’s struggle since 1919 had been for the conservation of human rights and one of the major causes for the creation of Pakistan was the preservation of the human rights of the minority communities.

In this context, he quoted the Quaid’s speech to the first legislative assembly of Pakistan, on August 11, 1947, laying down the total equality and freedom of all groups inhabiting Pakistan. He stated that the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan also ensured safeguarding of all fundamental rights.

Justice Chowhan said the country was being disgraced overseas as there were daily reports on human rights violations being dispatched to other countries and international agencies. Pakistan, he reminded the mediafolk, had not ratified the treaty on disappeared persons. At this juncture, Begum Anis Haroon, the representative of Sindh on the NCHR, interjected to say that we must demand an explanation as to why the constitution was being violated.

There were some women, some with their little children, who had been waiting since morning to acquaint media persons with their ordeals. Saheerunissa Begum, wife of Muhammad Furqan Khan, said her husband, who was an employee of the KPT, was kidnapped by personnel of a security agency in 2015. “They blindfolded him and took him away,” she said.

Her son, Muhammad Imran Khan, said that he was an eyewitness to the kidnapping. He said his father was returning home from his shift on a scooter when they took him away. To date, he said, there was no trace of his father.

Saheerunnissa said they had been running from pillar to post to determine the fate of the head of the family, and had even approached the JIT, the commission on disappeared persons and the provincial task force on disappearances, but to no avail.

Fauzia Sultana said her husband was picked up by personnel of the same agency while he was on his way to an anti-terrorism court (ATC). She is the mother of two boys, 7 and 2. Her seven-year-old son had brought an enlarged photograph of his missing father.

Shaista said her husband, Shahzad Khan, was picked up on January 15, 2015, and to date his whereabouts were a mystery. She has three daughters and is living with her in-laws. She said she had been running from pillar to post to find out about the whereabouts of her husband, but to no avail.

She said the personnel of the security agency came over to their place at 3:30am, treated the inmates of the house in the gruffest of manner and herded her husband away. He was an employee of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board.

Misbah Aadil, wife of Aadil Zafar, said her husband was an employee of the KPT. She said that since the enforced disappearance of her husband, her six-year- old son had become very violent and was always talking of avenging his father’s kidnapping.

The three common denominators among all the four women were that their husbands had been picked up as way back as 2015, had failed miserably to determine the husbands’ whereabouts and all of them broke down while narrating their horrid ordeals.

Justice Chowhan narrated cases of Tharparkar in eastern Sindh and the Kailash Valley in Chitral. In the former, he said, madrasas were coming up and none knew as to which agencies were behind their appearance. The government, he said, was absolutely supine in the matter.

Hate speeches, he said, were being openly made. Then he said, there were apprehensions about the proposed Gorano Dam, which was deemed to herald an environmental disaster. Forced conversions were going on in the area, he added. As for the Kailash Valley, he said that conversions were going on there too and the endeavour of the NCHR would be to allow the Kailsah their anthropological and historical identity. He suggested that the school education system for the area should be one which allowed them to retain their identity rather than forcibly absorbing them into the mainstream. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/229553-Interior-ministry-being-evasive-over-enforced-disappearances-NCHR

September 13, 2017   No Comments

Govt urged to solve missing persons issue : Report in The Express Tribune, September 11, 2017

QUETTA: Voice for the Baloch Missing Persons (VFBMP) Chairman Nasrullah Baloch has asked the government to ensure implementation of the recommendations given by the working group of the United Nations regarding the issue of the missing persons.

Speaking at a press conference here on Sunday along with VFBMP Vice Chairman Mama Abdul Qadeer Baloch at the missing people’s camp, he urged human rights organisations to establish a joint force on the issue of missing persons.

He said that Voice for the Baloch Missing Persons is a non-political organisation, which was making peaceful and constitutional struggle for the recovery of missing persons. “We staged a historical long march from Quetta to Karachi and Islamabad on the issue of missing persons,” Nasrullah Baloch said, adding that the hunger strike camp was also a part of their peaceful struggle.

He said that despite of all their efforts and struggles, the issue of missing persons has not been resolved.

“Information about the whereabouts of political activists who were arrested has not been provided and both the federal and provincial governments have completely ignored the issue,” Baloch lamented.

VFBMP chairman said that with the consent of the family members of the missing persons, 41 cases have been sent to the Senate’s committee on human rights and the copies of these cases were also sent to the National Commission for Human Rights and Senator Dr Jahanzeb Jamaldini, member of the senate committee on human rights

He said that despite assurances given by authorities concerned and human rights organisations, no progress was made so far to resolve the issue.

Nasrullah Baloch appealed the federal and provincial government to pay heed to the issue of missing persons. He was of the view that the Supreme Court of Pakistan should hear the cases of missing persons at least once in a month. https://tribune.com.pk/story/1502837/govt-urged-solve-missing-persons-issue/

September 11, 2017   No Comments

The missing debate:by I.A. Rehman in The News on Sunday (TNS) Sept 10, 2017

The author is a senior columnist and Secretary General Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
The horrible phenomenon of enforced disappearances in Pakistan has been in public debate for more than 25 years and there is hardly any aspect of the matter that has not been discussed threadbare and from different points of view. If the demand for an end to enforced disappearances, criminalisation of the practice punishment of the perpetrators and payment of compensation to victim families has been made from various national and international forums, there have also been suggestions, though from a tiny minority, for giving the security forces powers to detain indefinitely dangerous criminals who in many cases are victims of enforced disappearance (ED).
In the present article, we will not go into the whole gamut of issues in debate and deal with only three questions: 1) Is enforced disappearance in Pakistan a post-9/11 practice or what is the nexus between 9/11 and ED?; 2) To what categories — terrorists, persons suspected of links with terrorists, political dissidents, and holders of ‘undesirable’ views on socio-cultural-linguistic issues — do the victims generally belong?; and 3) What can be done to root out the practice of ED?
The impression that Pakistan had no ED problem prior to September 11, 2001 is not correct. The country has a long history of persons being detained for months on end, without any charge and without information to family/lawyer, and ultimately killed in encounter with the police or freed after extorting ransom. Many of these persons met the international definition of victims of ED.
During the 1991-92 operations in Karachi and other Sindh cities, MQM alleged the disappearance of 28 of its workers. The complaint led to an inquiry by a Senate committee in 1996 that was able to trace only two of the ‘missing persons’; one was in a jail and the other one was lucky to be out of prison on bail.
The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID) has been transmitting to the government of Pakistan complaints regarding ED since 1985. Between 1985 and 2000, the group transmitted to the Pakistan government 93 cases of ED, the highest figure in any year being 46 in 1995. Thus, there is no doubt that Pakistan’s ED problem was wholly an indigenous enterprise till the 9/11 attack on New York’s World Trade Centre Towers.
However, 9/11 did have an immense impact on the ED phenomenon. The framing of draconian laws, curtailment of the due process and reckless derogation of human rights in North America and Europe emboldened Pakistan’s security apparatus to follow suit and detain for long periods persons they suspected to be terrorists or their facilitators or contacts.
Laws were amended or new ones made to extend the period of detention without trial and the victims of ED held incommunicado. The internment centres set up in and along the tribal belt for detaining suspects were apparently inspired by the Guantanamo Bay prison complex. Created under the Actions in Aid of Civil Power Regulation, these centres are supposed to hold detainees till they are tried on specific charges.
How many people have been held at these centres and for how long are details that are not in public knowledge. If a person has been detained for months and years, without trial and there is no knowing as to when his trial will begin, it is nobody’s business to ask questions.
The impact of 9/11 can also be seen in the erosion of due process in the administration of criminal justice in cases that could not be put in the category of terrorism. The creation of special and military courts and extensive resort to death penalty can be traced to the trend to justify extralegal acts as steps necessary to protect national security.
Now, who are the victims of enforced disappearance?
When the first disappearances were reported from areas other than Sindh, the authorities maintained that the persons reported missing had gone away voluntarily, most probably to join the jihad in Afghanistan. In some cases, at least this explanation was valid but after 9/11 involuntary disappearance could not be denied.
In 2002, Dr Afia Siddiqi, a notable scientist, disappeared. The fact that she was handed over to the American forces in Afghanistan was admitted by the Pakistani authorities. But this was before the policy of denying everything was adopted. Saifullah Piracha disappeared in 2004 and there was no news about his whereabouts till a letter from him was received from the Bagram military base.
What started worrying human rights organisations in 2004 and 2005 was the realisation that while some enforced disappearances were reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which could be linked to the Taliban activities, a sharp increase in ED had been reported from Balochistan, where a jihad enthusiast was rarely found. Although KP (NWFP then) soon surpassed Balochistan by reporting a larger number of disappearances, the latter province was a close second in cases that came up before any forum.
The three-member Commission for Enquiry into Enforced Disappearances (CEED) — the commission of retired superior court judges — that held hearings for eight months in 2010 received 203 fresh complaints of ED. Out of them, 65 were from KP and 62 from Balochistan. The commission left 138 cases pending — 55 from KP and 47 from Balochistan. While the KP situation is a bit confusing because a large number of people from that province have been rounded up for links with the Taliban, there is no such confusion about Balochistan.
That there was no link between the Afghan jihad and ED in Balochistan was apparent from the very beginning. The situation in that province deteriorated when mutilated corpses of quite a few missing persons were found lying at odd places. Most of the victims could not be described as terrorists and even if they were their extralegal execution was not justified. Many of them were political dissidents or members of nationalist student organisations. A random check of the list of the missing persons from Balochistan reveals the following victims:
Dr. Deen Muhammad — Balochistan National Movement (BNM), Zakir Majeed Baloch — Baloch Students Organisation (Azad), Abdul Ghaffar — Baloch Students Organisation (Mengal), Zahid Baloch — Baloch Students Organisation (Azad), Shabir Baloch — Baloch Students Organisation (Azad), Mi Kabeer Reki — Pakistan Muslim League-N, Aslam Shoaz Baloch — Baloch Students Organisation (Azad), Ghulam Fareed — Baloch Students Organisation (Azad), Saadullah Baloch — Balochistan National Party (Mengal), Mushtaq Ahmed Rodeni — Balochistan National Party (Mengal), and Abdul Kabeer Baloch — Balocistan National Party (Mengal).
It did not take Sindh long to start reporting disappearances in significant numbers. There, too, the list of the disappeared included political dissidents and social/cultural activists, such as the following:
Abdul Wahid Arisar — leader of Jeaay Sindh Movement and author of more than 20 books, Dr. Ghanshiam Parkash — activist of Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party, Asif Baladi — nationalist activist, writer and journalist, Raja Dahir Bhanbhro s/o Abdul Haq Bhanbhro — author of more than 20 books on language and history, Muzaffar Bhutto — activist and writer who disappeared twice and was finally found killed, Ustad Rahmoon — 75 years-old, teacher and writer, recovered after eight months, Raza Jarwar — writer, poet, Surwech Pirzado s/o well-known journalist and writer, Lutaif Peerzado — disappeared and was found killed, Asif Panhwer, student of Sindh University, remained disappeared for many months, died in an encounter alleged to be fake.
It has been established that a good number of the disappeared persons were innocent. In June this year, the present commission of enquiry decided 45 cases and 20 missing persons were reported to have returned home. Obviously, nothing to warrant criminal proceedings against them was found. They deserve to be compensated for their ordeal. But is it possible to compensate them for the trauma caused by loss of liberty, solitary confinement, torture, and separation from their dear ones?
The main reason for the state’s failure to effectively tackle the ED problem is that it looks at the whole thing from the point of view of law-enforcing agencies. It has tried only to trace the disappeared and shirked the responsibility of preventing disappearances and punishing the culprits.
The Supreme Court completed the task of identifying those largely responsible for ED. A comprehensive plan for making ED part of history was prepared by the judges’ commission of 2010. The commission called for legislation to “rein in” the intelligence services and also for measures to meet the administration’s security concerns. It also emphasised the need for paying compensation to victims’ families. Further, it urged the police to desist from concocting charges against the victims of ED after they had been handed over to them. These are eminently sound recommendations and deserve to be implemented without any delay.
A major obstacle to a campaign to end disappearances is lack of interest in listening to the UN group (UNWGEID). The group visited Pakistan in 2012 and, despite being cold-shouldered by most of the important people it wished to meet, it made a number of valuable suggestions.
It called for the inclusion of a new and autonomous crime of enforced disappearance in the Penal Code, guarantees that anyone deprived of liberty shall be kept at a fully authorised place of detention and quickly produced before a magistrate, strengthening of the Commission of enquiry (COIOED) set up on the recommendation of the CEED, training of the police and intelligence personnel, protection of witnesses and victims’ families, financial aid and compensation for victim’s families, and ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearance.
Despite regular reminders from the working group the recommendations remain unimplemented. The UN Human Rights Committee, while discussing Pakistan report under the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, made similar recommendations.
The Pakistani authorities will do well to look at the latest UNWGEID report submitted to the Human Rights Council. According to it, Pakistan with 703 cases under intimation to the government ranks 11th in the world.
The pattern of reporting to the government is worth noticing: 93 cases were reported during 1985-2000, the number of cases intimated during 2001-2014 was 199, and the figure jumped to 253 in 2015 and 264 in 2016. The number of cases intimated this year — till May 17 — was 17.
Also worth noting is the fact that Iraq, Sri Lanka, and Argentina that have reported the largest number of enforced disappearance have recorded a huge decrease in cases over the last few years. Iraq that accounted for 16,416 cases in all reported only 37 cases during 2003-2017, and Argentina (3,241 cases in all) reported only 18 cases during 2002-2015. This is a fair indication that if the will to curb enforced disappearances is there the task is not beyond human means.

September 10, 2017   No Comments

The ‘legal’ cover: by Asad Jamal in The News on Sunday (TNS) September 10, 2017

The writer is a lawyer.
There are few problems that challenge the integrity of the Pakistani state as seriously as the enforced disappearances.
Hundreds of court proceedings post-9/11 and the information provided and data released by different (civilian) official commissions confirm that the national security institutions have adopted enforced disappearances as a long term measure for ‘national security’/counter-terrorism strategy.
Is there a way out of this huge national problem? Can a legal regime based on long term detention mainly at the hands of the executive/state security apparatus, and constitutional immunity and impunity for past disappearances, as argued by some, provide a way forward? Consider the following.
It may be relevant to mention at the outset that ‘enforced disappearance’ is a term of international law (the Pakistani law recognises no such term). It occurs when state agents or anyone acting on its behalf abduct, arrest or detain an individual followed by a refusal to disclose the person’s fate or whereabouts or acknowledge their deprivation of liberty, which places such individuals outside the protection of the law.
The periodic data released by the COIED (there are other sources of information as well) shows that the total complaints received up to August 31, 2017 stood at 4271 out of which the commission claims to have ‘disposed’ 2899 complaints. Probably, we would never be able to confirm the accurate number of persons who were forced to disappear for months and years. The outstanding complaints before COIED are put at 1372.
Enforced disappearances have been adopted as a strategic tool as opposed to a mere short term tactic. This is supported by the fact that in several legislative measures introduced at the behest of the national security institutions, the focus has been to provide ‘legal’ cover rather than prohibit and criminalise the practice as required under the constitutional framework and international law. Foremost among such legislative measures is the Actions in Aid of Civil Power Regulation 2011, the Protection of Pakistan Act 2013 which stands expired, and amendments to the constitution and the Army Act 1952 to establish military courts. The resistance to wholly abolish the Frontier Crimes Regulation 1901 may also be seen as part of the larger national security scheme.
These new instruments of oppression were enacted despite the fact that Pakistan already has a range of laws which allow for short term to long term administrative detention, preventive or otherwise, without judicial or parliamentary oversight. The foremost is the much used Security of Pakistan Act 1952. Others include the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1962 and the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
One of the main differences between the old laws and the ones introduced since 2011 is that the former didn’t grant the armed forces, including its intelligence agencies and the civil armed forces such as the Pakistan Rangers and the Frontier Corps routinely accused of enforcing disappearances, the power to detain ‘anti-national’ suspects without recourse to the police.
By all accounts, the problem of enforced disappearances had assumed immense significance by the year 2008. It was around that year that the realisation of the enormity of the issue of illegality, unconstitutionality and serious negative consequences of the practice for officers dawned upon the authorities. It was in that context that the Actions in Aid of Civil Power Regulation 2011, a presidential decree, was issued under article 247.
Article 247 is a constitutional anomaly. It makes a black hole of the tribal areas. It grants the president power to frame laws for the tribal areas; two, it ousts the jurisdiction of high courts and the Supreme Court over the tribal areas, which makes enforcement of fundamental rights through judicial means almost impossible.
If it were not for article 247, the Frontier Crimes Regulation 1901 would not exist. It was used in this context only to circumvent constitutional guarantees of freedom from arbitrary detention and the right to be informed of reasons for arrest and be defended by a legal practitioner.
Wrapped in human rights jargon, the 2011 Regulation does some significant things. For instance, it prohibits torture and provides that after gathering evidence the detained suspect may be prosecuted. But it’s a cunning piece of legislation nonetheless for the following reasons, among others. One, it provides a legal cover to the ‘actions in aid of civil power’ initiated by the federal government by calling in armed and civil armed forces in the tribal areas. (This is an Article 245 requirement) This cover is provided retrospectively since February 2008. All actions taken since then suddenly became ‘legal’. Two, it gives the armed forces the power to arrest and detain anyone for an indefinite period of time. For this purpose, the Regulation also allows the armed forces to establish and administer internment centres with civilian oversight only in word. Three, while it was ostensibly made to apply to the tribal areas only, it is so crafted that it seems to also apply to all parts of Pakistan because it allows internment of any person who may be anywhere in Pakistan and is suspected of having committed acts or has nexus with cognizable actions or suspects in the tribal areas.
As revealed in a number of court proceedings since the setting up of military courts, a large number of detainees held incommunicado, including those who were made to involuntarily disappear in previous years from various places across Pakistan, are believed to have been shifted to several internment centres established under this Regulation. A black hole within a black hole, one might say.
Despite all this, enforced disappearances even if covered under the 2011 Regulation are still likely to be taken notice of by the high courts and the Supreme Court as a host of verdicts have held. Even though the judiciary has failed to perform its duty, the threat of possible action by the courts against state agents who have perpetrated enforced disappearances remains.
It is in this context that some legal minds argue for a more ‘flexible’ long term detention regime under the control of executive authorities and a constitutional amendment to grant immunity from prosecution for full disclosure for past enforced disappearances, in the hope of prosecution of offending state agents for their future conduct. Similar proposals are also said to have been recommended by an official Task Force on Missing Persons in 2013.
Will a legal regime providing for long term detention and impunity for past conduct solve the problem? We don’t know. The figures released by the COIED (presented here in the table) show the consistency with which complaints of disappearances continue to arise round the year. One may therefore argue that if the state agents involved in such crimes had such intention, would we not see a clear sign of decline in disappearances?
Only one thing can be said with confidence: such a solution is not likely to diminish the possibility of black holes appearing in the hearts and minds of the people.

September 10, 2017   No Comments

Parties call strike over scholar’s kidnapping: report in Dawn, September 10th, 2017

QUETTA: Political and religious parties of Balochistan on Saturday condemned the kidnapping of Jamiat Ahle Hadees provincial chief Maulana Ali Muhammad Turab and said they would observe a strike in the city on Sept 12.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Senator Hafiz Hamdullah of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Maulana Abdul Haq of Jamaat-i-Islami and Maulana Abdul Qadir Luni of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Nazaryati as well as many other leaders demanded taking all possible steps for early recovery of the abducted leader.

They warned that political and religious parties and members of the civil society would mount a massive protest if the authorities failed to meet their demand.

They said a strike would be observed in the provincial capital on Sept 12, adding that future line of action would be devised in view of the government’s response.

Most of the leaders were of the view that the provincial government had failed to maintain law and order in Balochistan as the religious scholar was kidnapped in broad daylight along with his son and two others.

“Kidnapping of four persons from a busy road puts a question mark on the performance of the law enforcement agencies,” they said.

They demanded that the provincial government resign because bomb blasts, robberies and kidnappings had become a norm in the region.

September 10, 2017   No Comments

Other detention cases: report in The News, Sept 10, 2017

Karachi: The court also directed federal and provincial law officers, a joint investigation team and others to file comments on petitions against the detention of citizens allegedly by personnel of law enforcement agencies.

Meer Alam Khan, Syeda Lala Rukh, Jamil, Zaibun Nisa and Mohammad Raheem alleged that law enforcers had picked up Shahid Khan, Mohammad Farooq, Ghulam Ghous, Jamil and Mohammad Karim from Gulshan-e-Maymar, Saddar, Surjani Town and PIB Colony, and that the whereabouts of the detainees had not been disclosed.

They said that neither police were disclosing their whereabouts nor were they being provided with details of cases pending against them.

They sought appearance of the detainees before the court.

The court directed the provincial and federal law enforcement agencies, the Sindh police chief and the Rangers to trace the whereabouts of the detainees and submit reports within two weeks.

It also directed the Malir SSP to look into the alleged detention of three citizens by personnel of law enforcement agencies.

Gohar Rehman submitted that his brother, Naveed Iqbal, and two other relatives, Raheemullah and Bilal, were picked up on December 3, 2014, from the Super Highway and their whereabouts were unknown.https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/228857-Other-detention-cases

September 10, 2017   No Comments

Term of body probing ‘enforced disappearances’ extended

Report in Dawn, September 8th, 2017
ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet, which met under Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday, granted a three-year extension to the Inquiry Commission on Enforced Disappearances that had been set up in 2010 in the light of the Supreme Court verdict in the missing persons case.

A senior minister told Dawn that the cabinet had in fact ratified the approval that had already been granted by the prime minister to extend the period of the two-member inquiry commission under retired Justice Javed Iqbal till Sept 14, 2020.

The commission was set up by the interior ministry under the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1956 and its period has been extended from time to time since a number of cases of enforced disappearances are yet to be concluded. The main task of the commission, which holds its meetings in different cities, is to “look into all facts of the matter and to make efforts to trace the whereabouts of the missing persons”.

The commission has already resolved more than 2,400 cases.

Besides, the federal cabinet passed a unanimous resolution condemning the Rohingya Muslims’ genocide in Myanmar.

“The government of Pak­istan condemns the cold-blooded and callous genocide of innocent Rohingya Muslims, including women, children and even infants, under the direct patronage of state institutions of Myanmar,” says the resolution, the text of which was released to the media by the Prime Minister Office.

The resolution says: “The brutal and barbaric acts perpetrated against the unarmed civilian population not only constitute state terrorism, but also question the collective human conscience across nations and societies. These atrocities have also revealed the appalling hypocrisy of the democratic leadership of Myanmar.

“We call upon Nobel laureate Ms Aung San Suu Kyi to take immediate steps to stop the atrocities being committed in Myanmar where her party is in power.”

Sources said that some cabinet members raised the issue of the recent declaration by BRICS naming some militant groups allegedly based in Pakistan as a regional security concern and calling for their patrons to be held to account.

The sources said that the prime minister took the cabinet members into confidence on the matter, stating that China had already clarified its position on the matter.

He said China had explained that there was no change in its policy and stand on the issue with respect to the recently-adopted BRICS declaration against terrorist groups. The prime minister said the organisations that had been banned by the UN had also been proscribed by Pakistan and they considered these banned outfits a security threat and illegal entities.

He said that Pakistan desired peace in Afghanistan. https://www.dawn.com/news/1356287/term-of-body-probing-enforced-disappearances-extended

September 8, 2017   No Comments

JUI-F seeks safe recovery of ‘missing’ leader

Report in Dawn, September 8th, 2017
HYDERABAD: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Sindh joint secretary Haji Abdul Malik Talpur has appealed for immediate recovery of the party’s Hyderabad chapter vice president Mufti Habibullah “since he does not have any links to any jihadi organisation”.

Mr Talpur said at a press conference at the Hyderabad Press Club late on Thursday evening that it was wrong to portray Habibullah as a terrorist.

If there was evidence against him, it should be produced in a court of law, he said. He said that Habibullah went to his native town Pishin near Quetta ahead of Eidul Azha where he was picked up on Sept 6 and since then he had been incommunicado.

He said that Habibullah had been associated with JUI-F for 30 years and had been vice president of the party’s Hyderabad chapter for the past eight years.

He had been working as a teacher with Jamia Arabia Miftahul Uloom for the past 20 years and was also running a seminary for girls in Gulshan Khair Mohammad, he said.

He said it was injustice to arrest an “innocent religious scholar” without any charge.

“We have also suffered terrorism. The party head Fazlur Rehman and leader Abdul Ghafoor Hyderi came under terror attacks and Dr Khalid Mehmood Soomro was assassinated in a murderous attack,” he said.

He said the JUI-F always condemned terrorism and demanded arrest of attackers of MQM leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan.

JUI-F Hyderabad leader Maulana Azam Jehangiri and others were also present at the press conference.https://www.dawn.com/news/1356268/jui-f-seeks-safe-recovery-of-missing-leader

Four hunters from Punjab kidnapped in Pannu Aqil : Report in Dawn, September 8th, 2017
SUKKUR: The Sukkur police on Thursday launched a search for the four hunters from Punjab who had been kidnapped in the katcha area of Pannu Aqil a day earlier.

SSP Masud Bungash told reporters that the victims belonging to Sadiqabad had been to the katcha area for bird hunting.

He quoted initial investigation to suggest that criminals belonging to the Kashmore-based Teghani community had kidnapped them in an area falling within the jurisdiction of the Sadhuja police station. He identified the victims as Rizwan, Shamsher, Irfan and Ajmal.

The SSP said that armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and other vehicles carrying a strong contingent of the Sukkur police had been moved into the area for the safe recovery of the victims and arrest of their kidnappers.

It was learnt that the hunters had arrived in the katcha area three days back on an invitation from a local feudal lord.https://www.dawn.com/news/1356267/four-hunters-from-punjab-kidnapped-in-pannu-aqil

September 8, 2017   No Comments