Amina Masood Janjua, chairperson of the Defence of Human Rights in Pakistan — an independent organisation which has been working for the release of all citizens who have been illegally detained — on Friday met Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Friday to discuss the issue of missing persons.
According to a statement released by the military's media wing, Maj Gen Ghafoor "apprised her about the efforts that government and security forces are doing to facilitate them and address the issue, for which the judicial commission is working day and night".
The statement said the military's spokesperson had also briefed her regarding the formation of a special assistance cell at GHQ, Rawalpindi to assist families of missing persons. The cell has been given special directions to assist the recovery process.
"Our hearts go with the families of missing persons being Pakistanis. However we must realise that not every person missing is attributable to [the] state," read the ISPR statement.
It further stated that those who have been detained by the state are "under legal process".
ISPR, in its statement, also speculated that many of the missing persons "are [...] part of TTP (Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan) in Afghanistan and may be in other conflict zones elsewhere". Moreover many of them may have "gotten killed fighting as part of TTP against the state of Pakistan".
It stressed that such individuals need to be accounted for while listing missing persons.
"She [Janjua] also reiterated the pledge that affected families shall not allow any anti-state force to exploit their emotions against the interest of Pakistan," the statement added.
Meanwhile, the federal government’s commission on missing persons, headed by retired Justice Fazalur Rehman Bazai has been hearing cases in Quetta. During nine consecutive hearings, starting June 24, the commission took up 122 cases.
As many as 12 missing persons returned to their homes in various areas of Balochistan over the past week, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) Chairman Nasrullah Baloch confirmed on Wednesday.
The development surfaced days after Balochistan Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove revealed that 200 missing persons have returned home in the province since January.
Janjua, appearing in a video message alongside Maj Gen Ghafoor said that the Army has provided assurances that they will definitely search for Masood Janjua, her husband who has been missing since July 30, 2005.
"More than 80,000 have laid down their lives to combat the forces of terrorism — whether they are Army soldiers or civilian, they are all ultimately, our brothers," she said.
"There have been some demonstrations where they did not want to wave the Pakistan flag. Moreover, they took away the flag from me. I condemn this and do not wish to be a part of such a movement," she said in an apparent reference to certain gatherings in the recent past where the desecration of the flag was witnessed.
"I thank General Qamar Javed Bajwa and all the efforts he has put in the resolution of this issue," she continued.
"We will not allow the use of this platform for elements that are anti-state. We will resolve this matter keeping our love for Pakistan at the forefront and with complete trust in our institutions," she vowed.
"And I am deeply grateful that work is already underway to address this issue and that an action committee has been formed," Janjua said in conclusion.