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“IS … [Pakistan] a banana republic?” So went the angry rhetoric to which a PML-Q senator resorted in the National Assembly while criticising the recent arrival of a delegation of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. By his own account, Mohammed Raza Hayat Hiraj fears that the team’s report might be used to highlight the views of the “one per cent” separatists of Balochistan. However, he needs reminding that the euphemistically named but very serious issue of ‘forced disappearances’ has been with us for several years now. Repeated efforts and appeals from human rights organisations, the families of the disappeared and even organs of the state have failed to produce any meaningful answers as to who, within what agency, is indulging in unlawful detentions and how those thought to be in illegal custody can be recovered. The unhappy fact is that too often, suspected ‘kill-and-dump’ victims turn out to be those thought to have been made to forcibly ‘disappear’. While Balochistan appears to be the main theatre of operations of such transgressions, there are indications that similar tactics are being employed elsewhere too.

The missing persons issue is already being investigated by the Supreme Court and a parliamentary committee on national security. If the country’s security forces are not involved, as they have repeatedly affirmed, then there’s nothing to hide. The UN committee ought to be given full access and support at every level of the administration. This murky issue needs to be cleared up. At the international level, it casts an ugly shadow over Pakistan, which already has a poor human rights record, while at the national level it erodes public faith in a security apparatus that is stretched to the limit trying to contain threats from myriad quarters, and which needs every drop of support it can muster.

Comments (5) Closed

Iftikhar Husain Sep 12, 2012 12:08pm
I fully agree with the editorial everybody must cooperate with the delegation and provide information.
mohammad hamza Sep 12, 2012 06:58am
Where is our sense of sovereignty now ? Why cannot our own judiciary deal with this issue ? Who Invited the UN team ? Why is the CJ shy of meeting them ? Where is our ghairat Brigade ?
M. Asghar Sep 12, 2012 07:00am
One has to face the fact that the arrival of the UN mission in the country shows that the general security situation in country is getting out hand. One has to find out the source of this mayhem and bring the things under control.
Gerry D'Cunha Sep 12, 2012 10:41am
the whole country should be handed to the united nation on lease for 5 years,in present situation.
cha Sep 12, 2012 02:14pm
UN Commission should also visit FATA, where drone strike are under operation and killing hundreds on innocent's...........