KARACHI: The prime minister has decided to reform the committee tasked with looking into the issue of enforced disappearances, Dawn.com reported.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad alongside the information minister on Tuesday, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar said the issue could “not be solved overnight in haste or due to someone’s anxiety or someone speaking on social media platforms or even court directives”.

He added that directives had been issued to restart work on the inquiry of enforced disappearances, and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered to reconstitute the committee, formed in May 2022.

Mr Tarar, who was also the law minister two years ago, headed the seven-member body, constituted on Islamabad High Court’s instructions.

The then ministers of interior, poverty alleviation and social safety, communications, defence production, maritime affairs and science and technology were the other six members.

While the law minister gave no detail about who would be added to the new committee, he noted the body would have “parliamentary presence”.

Mr Tarar emphasised that when discussing the issue of missing persons, it must be noted that Pakistan was a frontline state in a war-ridden area for the past four decades, adding that the circumstances in neighbouring countries had further exacerbated internal challenges.

The people and army paid an “unbelievable price” in the fight against terrorism with their sacrifices, he said, adding that this must be taken into consideration when finding a solution to the issue of missing persons.

He claimed that of the 10,200 cases sent to the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, 7,900 have been solved while 23 per cent were pending.

While acknowledging that “a lot of work remained to be done”, Mr Azam emphasised, “there was no lack of seriousness from the government about the issue”.

The law minister also questioned the credibility of inquiry reports on missing persons.

“Are people who have been registered as missing persons really missing?” he asked, recalling a case in Sindh where people registered as missing persons were actually serving jail time at a prison.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2024

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