ISLAMABAD: Rawalpindi resident Kausar Rehman’s husband Asif Hameed was allegedly abducted by security agencies four years ago, and since then she has hoped he will return home.
Her husband is 44 years old and worked as a tailor at a shop in Saddar.
“On Oct 10, 2013, he dropped the children off at school and went to his shop. According to an eyewitness, a car stopped him near the shop and two people got out of the car, tied his hands and covered his face and put him in the car. One person drove my husband’s motorcycle, and they left,” Ms Rehman told Dawn at an event at the National Press Club on the International Day of Enforced Disappearances.
She said she has been hoping for some news about her husband since he disappeared.
Event held at NPC to mark International Day of Enforced Disappearances
“My husband was a tailor in Saudi Arabia, but I used to insist that he come to Pakistan. In 2010, my husband came to Pakistan for good and began working here. He was not involved in any illegal activity, but he would pray at a mosque five times a day,” she went on.
“I have seven children – five daughters and two sons – and we live in a rented house. It has become impossible to survive, due to which some of my relatives help me financially. I am sick, but I cannot afford medicines. My husband’s brother died last week, but the agencies did not bother to release my husband,” she said.
Ms Rehman claimed that the families of people who have killed tens of individuals are aware of them, but the relatives of innocent missing persons do not have the right to be informed about their loved ones.
Saima Sadia from Johar Town, Lahore, claimed her husband Kamran Sajid was arrested by security agencies from her home on the night between Sept 8 and Sept 9, 2015.
“Since the disappearance, no one has bothered to tell us where my husband is. Some of my relatives told me he is alive and in the custody of an agency.”
Ms Saida and her husband we were married in 2010, and have two daughters.
Her husband is 35 years old, and was an electrical engineer at the Air Weapon Complex (AWC). Before they were married, he was arrested after an attack on Gen Pervez Musharraf, as people from AWC were involved in the attack, but he was declared innocent and released.
Head of Defence of Human Rights Amina Masood Janjua, while speaking to the press, said families of missing persons were suffering but no one had bothered to bring them relief.
Pointing to the establishment, she said: “You don’t care about your own people, and today you are saying Donald Trump did not care about the services of Pakistan. Currently, genocide of some segments of society in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is being done in Pakistan.”
She alleged that even the Supreme Court was not ready to take up the missing persons issue. A case was registered against a subedar, which was dumped, while fake cases are registered against missing persons and they are killed in police encounters, she said.
Ms Janjua said 90pc of missing persons’ relatives do not lodge FIRs out of fear.
“According to estimates, there are 25,000 missing people in Pakistan. Before becoming premier, Nawaz Sharif came to our camp and assured that he would take up the issue in parliament. However, after becoming prime minister he did not bother to do anything, and finally he lost his premiership.”
She added that although Urdu is the official language, the missing persons commission holds proceedings in English and issues notices in English, which the majority of relatives of missing persons cannot understand.
Advocate Omer Gillani said the missing persons issue shows the failure of the state, as everyone knows who is doing it but no one can raise a voice.
“I want to say that agencies are involved in abductions. On the other hand, the missing persons commission, headed by Justice Javed Iqbal, has been doing nothing. It is the obligation of the commission to register cases against those who are involved in enforced disappearances. The commission has recovered over 2,000 persons but never bothers to register cases against the agencies or officials of agencies,” he said.
He suggested that the commission should be closed, because it “has become dysfunctional”, and a new institution should be established.
After the event, families of missing persons, as well as individuals such as Senator Farhatullah Babar, Asma Jahangir and former senator Afrasiab Khattak, gathered outside the press club to show solidarity with missing persons.
Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2017