Photo from February 2012 shows two 'missing persons' before being presented in the Supreme Court. Rights groups have estimated that thousands of people have been kidnapped and detained in secret prisons in the past decade, allegedly by security forces.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) has finalised its recommendations of amendments to the National Anti-Terrorism Act to ensure the recovery of the ‘missing persons’.

Sources told DawnNews that the PCNS has finalised over 10 recommendations for the recovery of the missing.

According to details from the sources, the recommendations would make it mandatory to present a suspect before a magistrate’s court within 48 hours of the time of his arrest. The recommendations also make it a condition to inform the suspect’s relatives of the arrest, and to allow them a visit with their loved ones.

Arrested suspects should also be ensured access to a legal counsel, recommends the committee.

Moreover, the measures propose that the local police station be notified at the time of a suspects arrest and that a challan be presented within 21 days. The filing of a first investigation report is also made a mandatory condition.

Following the committee session held here today, Senator Rabbani confirmed to reporters outside the Parliament House that the recommendations have been given their final touches. However, due to the absence of Aftab Khan Sherpao and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders from the session, the recommendations would be made public after consultations with them, he said.

Rights groups have estimated that thousands of people have been kidnapped and detained in secret prisons in the past decade, allegedly by security forces.

The Supreme Court is already investigating cases of ‘missing persons’ in the southwestern province of Balochistan, where the military has also been accused of rights violations in its bid to put down a separatist insurgency.

The parliamentary committee, a 13-member body representing almost all parties in the National Assembly, was asked by the government to recommend measures to deal with the problem of missing people, or enforced disappearances, especially those belonging to Balochistan.


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