Kashmiri women, who say their relatives are missing, cry during a demonstration organised by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) to mark the International Day of Disappeared Persons in Srinagar August 30, 2011. The APDP says that more than 8,000 people have gone missing, most of them after their arrest by Indian security forces in the troubled Kashmir region since a rebellion broke out at the end of 1989. – Reuters Photo

ISLAMABAD: Amnesty International has called on Pakistan's government to end what it calls the growing practice of disappearances enforced by the state.

In an Aug. 29 petition on its website, the human rights group alleged the disappearances have increased dramatically since Pakistan joined the American war on militancy after the Sept. 11, 2001 airliner attacks on the United States.

Those detained -- including activists, journalists and students -- are sometimes found dead, with signs of torture.

Thousands may have fallen victim to the practice, Amnesty said.

Amnesty said a judicial commission of enquiry on the so-called enforced disappearances “had failed to resolve the crisis or to hold the security forces and intelligence agencies to account in cases implicating them.”

“The Prime Minister of Pakistan who controls the security agencies needs to urgently step in to address this human rights situation,” Amnesty said on its website.

It noted that enforced disappearances occur frequently in Balochistan. The province has been facing a low-level insurgency by nationalists who want more control over its natural resources, which they say are unfairly exploited by the federal government.

Amnesty said there were 93 recorded cases of people killed after being reported missing between October 2010 and May 2011 in Balochistan.

Pakistan's military and security forces deny allegations of human rights abuses in the South Asian country, a strategic US ally.

Pakistan's army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said: “There has been no military operation conducted in Balochistan since 2008. There is infighting going on between various militant groups, and they are kidnapping and killing each other”.

Updated Aug 30, 2011 04:47pm

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