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HRCP for SC commission on ‘disappeared people’

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Saturday claimed that ‘disappeared persons’ were not Jihadis but they had fallen prey to the intelligence agencies.

Speaking at a press conference after the council meeting of the commission at its secretariat, HRCP chairperson Asma Jahangir claimed that most of the victims had not disappeared or belonged to Jihadi organisations, but picked up by the intelligence agencies.

Flanked by HRCP secretary general Syed Iqbal Haider, director IA Rehman, Zahoor Ahmed Sahavani, Kamran Arif, Dr Mubashar Hasan and other provincial representatives, she blamed the government for hiding truth and demanded immediate recovery of over 150 ‘disappeared persons,’ who had gone missing in the country during the last three years.

Alleging the federal government of neglecting the issue of disappearances, the HRCP demanded the Supreme Court to form a judicial commission to probe the matter, collect solid evidences and record statements of the victim families.

Apart from the Supreme Court suo moto notice and a few other petitions, the HRCP has filed a separate constitutional petition before the SC on the issue of disappearances, terming it a violation of a number of Articles of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973. The hearing of the case is scheduled for April 10.

The HRCP also condemned the interior minister for issuing a statement that the government couldn’t trace the addresses of the victims and only 10 people had been recovered. It asked the government and the interior minister to tell the people of Pakistan and the rest of the world that what action had been taken against the elements responsible for disappearances of the 10 recovered persons.

“All ‘disappeared’ people are not Jihadi but nationalists and against the Jihadi and militant organisations,” Asma said, adding, “Since 2004, according to authentic information, over 168 people have disappeared and only 20 have been recovered till date.”

She said the HRCP had been continuously updating the cases and even in 2007, more than two-dozen people had disappeared.

She denounced the government and accused it of negligence. “The interior ministry was unable to trace the cases while the HRCP, a non-government organisation, has gathered more authentic information and tips about the cases,” she added.

She said if the minister was so inefficient and unable to trace missing people, he should step down. She also demanded the Supreme Court immediately set up an independent judicial commission to probe the matter and call people related to the cases. She cited the case of Raza who twice disappeared and was released with a number of other people. She said it was against the dignity of the head of the state that he was denying information about disappeared people.

Other speakers accused the government of making mockery of the sentiments of the masses and aggrieved people by denying any information about disappeared people. They said they had strong evidences and statements of some released victims revealed that they had witnessed many others on the same places. They said there were very clear cases in Balochistan, the Punjab and Sindh where law enforcement agencies had arrested people in daylight amongst a number of other people.

Earlier, the HRCP council meeting discussed the current situation and expressed concerns over the Parachanar and Jamia Hafsa incidents.

Source: The News

Date:4/8/2007

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