ISLAMABAD: Federal Human Rights Minister Riaz Pirzada on Thursday contradicted the statement he issued on Sunday that some missing persons were engaged by detained Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav or by some neighbouring countries.

Clarifying his remarks, made during a recent interview with DawnNews, Mr Pirzada said he meant to say that the missing persons’ issue could not be addressed by his ministry alone, as it was not the investigating authority.

A statement issued by the ministry further said that the bill regarding missing persons was under consideration by the standing committees concerned. However, it is worth mentioning that the ministry secretary has already expressed ignorance about the bill being under discussion by any panel.

During a recent meeting, the secretary had maintained that his ministry was unaware about the whereabouts of any such bill. Rather, he said, the interior and parliamentary affairs ministries had been asked to trace it.

DawnNews’ interview with Mr Pirzada’s, which was broadcast on television and is still available on YouTube and other platforms, contains the disputed remarks, wherein the minister categorically states that some missing persons had been engaged by Jadhav or neighbouring countries.

The Human Rights Ministry, Pirzada maintained, had forwarded a bill and suggestions to parliament to address the issue of missing persons, and it now rested with the Interior Ministry despite being debated by parliamentary committees. The minister had hoped the committees would soon complete their deliberations and no foreign agenda would be followed in this regard.

Separately, former human rights minister Dr Shireen Mazari told DawnNews that she had taken up the missing persons bill with the army chief and the officials concerned of the ISI.

“It took me three years to convince them that such practice (picking up people) should end,” she added.

She alleged that some ‘invisible’ forces tried to incorporate certain amendments to the bill and later, the draft legislation could not be materialised.

Commenting on a statement recen­tly made by Rana Sanaullah, Ms Mazari said the minister had admitted that some institutions were compelled to ‘disappear’ certain people. She dem­anded the high-ups of the interior and parliamentary affairs ministries should be questioned about the whereabouts of the missing persons bill.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2022

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