FEDERAL Minister and BISP head Shazia Atta Marri consoles family members of missing persons following in visit to their camp in Quetta on Thursday.—PPI
FEDERAL Minister and BISP head Shazia Atta Marri consoles family members of missing persons following in visit to their camp in Quetta on Thursday.—PPI

• Rana Sana says talks with militants, whether Baloch or TTP, to be held under Constitution
• CM Bizenjo claims no one appeared before body formed to probe Ziarat op

QUETTA: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has said that serious efforts are being made to resolve the issue of missing persons, as it is not merely the problem of a few families but an important issue for the entire country, including Balochistan.

“The federal government is making all out efforts to resolve this issue and progress has been made to a great extent in this regard,” the interior minister said while speaking at a press conference alongside Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo and members of the federal cabinet’s committee on missing persons, here on Thursday.

Led by the interior minister, the delegation consisting of Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, Benazir Income Support Programme Chairperson Shazia Marri, Federal Minister Agha Hassan Baloch and Senator Kamran Murtaza, arrived on a day-long visit to Quetta on Thursday.

The members of the committee also had a meeting with family members of Baloch missing persons, including women and children and political activists, who had been holding a protest sit-in near the Red Zone area for the last 50 days.

The committee members assured the protesters that all possible efforts would be made for the recovery of all missing persons, adding that they had come to Quetta to share in the grief of family members of the missing people.

The protesting families informed the interior minister and committee members about their concern and apprehensions about disappearance of their loved-ones and said that they should be recovered and produced in a court of law of the country if they had committed unlawful activities.

After the assurance of Mr Sanaullah and members of committee, the protestors called off their over a month-long protest sit-in.

Later, at the presser, Mr Sanaullah said that negotiations with anyone, including disgruntled Baloch militants and members of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), would be held within parameters of the Constitution of Pakistan.

“Be it any terrorist group, Pakistan’s security forces are very capable and competent to deal with acts of terrorism,” he said, adding the country had overcome this problem in the past, and it would successfully overcome such challenges in future also.

Mr Sanaullah said that efforts were under way and a lot of progress had been made for the recovery of the missing persons, but it could not be disclosed at this stage. However, he maintained that their relatives had been informed of the progress.

He asked the relatives of the missing persons to join the committee and guide “us in our efforts so that the issue could be resolved as soon as possible”.

He said that members of the federal cabinet had come for talks with family members of the missing persons not on the orders of any court, but on their own, considering the matter an imp­ort and humanitarian one.

The minister said that the issue of missing persons was a complicated one as the families of the missing persons and agencies had different views and the government had talked to both sides and heard their positions on the matter.

However, he said, efforts were under way to find a solution to the issue.

“We are in a position to resolve this problem, not in months and years but in days and weeks,” Mr Sanaullah claimed.

Separately, Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo claimed that no one appeared before the judicial commission formed by the provincial government to investigate the Ziarat operation.

Speaking at another press conference on Thursday evening after his meeting with the delegation from Islamabad, the CM said the provincial government had held talks with the relatives of missing persons, but they had in turn demanded that representatives of the federal government should come and negotiate with them.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) welcomed the meeting between the government delegation and the families of forcibly disappeared persons.

However, in a statement issued on Thursday, HRCP said that it firmly believed that expressions of solidarity alone could be no substitute for concrete action towards safely recovering victims of enforced disappearances.

It called on the cabinet’s subcommittee to make good on its promises and act swiftly to eradicate what is recognised internationally as a crime against humanity by criminalising enforced disappearances.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2022

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