ISLAMABAD: Amid controversies sparked by the arrival of a delegation of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, the head of the UN team Olivier Frouville said on Tuesday that the mission was neither an investigative nor fact-finding but its mandate was to ‘act as a bridge between the families of missing persons and concerned governments.’
Mr Frouville, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group made the observation during a meeting with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar at the Foreign Office on Tuesday.
The working group will clarify any misperception about the visit during the end-of-visit interaction with the media on September 20, he told the minister.
Ms Khar expressed the hope that the working group would reflect in its report commitment of the government and efforts of the independent judiciary, free media and civil society for protection of human rights in Pakistan.
She briefed the two-member working group on steps taken by the government for promotion and protection of human rights. “The government takes the issue of disappearances seriously and makes efforts to strengthen domestic mechanisms to address it and ensure rule of law”.
An independent judiciary, free media and vibrant civil society are in the vanguard of national efforts to address the issue.
Meanwhile, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has expressed his inability to meet the UN team on the ground that the cases of missing persons were pending before the court and the matter was sub-judice.
The Supreme Court said in a press release issued on Tuesday that regrets had been conveyed to ministry of foreign affairs about the inability of the Chief Justice to receive the UN delegation.
In a letter sent to the ministry on Monday, the Supreme Court said: “As cases of missing persons are pending before this Court, therefore, propriety demanded that the Chief Justice of Pakistan may not discuss the matter which is sub-judice.”
The Working Group expressed its desire to meet the Chief Justice and the ministry of foreign affairs supported the idea.
The ministry informed the Supreme Court that the UN Working Group was visiting Pakistan at the invitation of the government and would be in Islamabad on September 18 and 19.
JWP WELCOMES MISSION: While several legislators have objected to the visit of the UN mission, the Chief of Jamhuri Watan Party, Nawabzada Talal Bugti, has welcomed it.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Mr Talal Bugti said the mission’s visit had generated hope among the families of missing persons.
He hoped the mission would come to Bugti House in Quetta during its scheduled visit on September 15, during which families of missing persons anxiously waiting for it would submit fresh information leading to recovery of missing persons.