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ISLAMABAD: The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) Chairman retired justice Ali Nawaz Chohan on Wednesday urged the government to amend the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to make enforced disappearances an offence.

In his statement on the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances, observed every year on Aug 30, the NCHR chairman said the blame of enforced disappearance fell on the authorities.

In some cases people are picked up and maybe killed to settle personal score and put the blame on the authorities, he said.

“Whatever be the facts, it is the state’s responsibility to protect its citizens and hound the criminals as well as rogue elements within the authorities who have brought such a bad name to Pakistan’s respectable and well-established institutions,” the NCHR chairman said.

He welcomed the fact that the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights chairman had directed the Ministry of Human rights to draft a bill on enforced disappearances within a month in collaboration with the NCHR and other stakeholders.

NCHR advocated for a remedial mechanism by the government to check disappearances and keep an eye on the elements committing the crime with impunity.

He expressed the hope that the new government would devise a mechanism under which the people’s rights to safety, freedom were guaranteed in line with the constitution and the international treaties such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant in Civil and Political Rights, International Convention on Economic Social and Cultural Rights and Convention against Torture.

“The NCHR is a guardian to protect and promote human rights guaranteed in the constitution and in the international human rights treaties. It shall always speak for the safety of the citizen being its primary duty,” the chairman said.

He asked the government to devise a mechanism for the rehabilitation as well as financial support of those who have been recovered from enforced disappearances as well as the families of those who were either still missing or had died after their disappearance.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2018