: A land of systematic disappearances Pakistan
On 26 March 2007, Supreme Court of Pakistan asked the government to provide information about tens of people who have been missing after being taken into custody allegedly by the
1. Patterns of disappearances
The enforced disappearance in
Majority of the victims come from Balochistan and Sindh. According to HRCP, out of 242 persons who were still missing as of 12 December 2006, 170 were from Balochistan and 70 were from Sindh.
Amidst pressure, the judiciary
On 10 November 2006, the Supreme Court ordered the Ministry of Interior to make public whereabouts of 41 disappeared persons by 1 December 2006. On 1 December 2006, the government told the Supreme Court that only 20 of the 41 persons were found out and 10 of them have been sent home. The Supreme Court ordered the authorities to trace all the other missing persons.
On 9 December 2006, the Sindh High Court expressed dissatisfaction over a report submitted by Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Criminal Investigation Department, Syed Zubair Mehmood about the whereabouts of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) activist, Sikandar alias Akash Mallah, who had allegedly been picked up with another JSQM activist identified as Manjhi Chandio by the police on 16 May 2006. Although Manjhi Chandio was later released, Mr Mallah went missing. But the DIG's report stated that he had not been arrested. On 21 December 2006, the
On 18 December 2006, Peshawar High Court served notices to the Director General of Inter Services Intelligence, the Station House Officer of Matta police station and the Deputy Superintendent of Police of Swat to submit their comments on the whereabouts of four missing persons identified as Mian Syed Laiq, Ziauddin, Syed Muhammad who were arrested on 11 November 2006, and Muhammad Yousaf who was arrested on 24 November 2006.
On 8 March 2007, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) submitted a list of 148 missing persons in the Supreme Court and alleged that the Pakistani intelligence agencies were responsible for their disappearance. A full bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry took up the petition and issued notices to the federal and provincial governments. Amina Masood Janjua, an activist whose husband also disappeared, presented another list of 59 missing persons to the Supreme Court. The lists of the disappeared persons included Ali Bugti and Fahad Bugti, nephews of the late Nawab Akbar Bugti. The HRCP's petition claims that some of the released victims testified before the HRCP that they had been severely tortured in security detention, coerced to spy for the intelligence agencies, and that the security agencies maintained secret private prisons or safe houses where detainees are tortured.
II. Role of the
In an interview to The Herald magazine in October 2005, Pakistan Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao stated that
On 27 February 2007, Human Rights Watch released a list of 39 persons including a woman who were being held or had been held in secret prisons maintained by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Many of those prisoners were allegedly handed over by
III. Reject “We do not know” reply
It is clear that the
In a reaction to Supreme Court's order of 26 March 2007, President Musharraf on 27 March 2007 denied his government's involvement in the disappearances and instead claimed that those disappeared had probably been “brainwashed” into joining jihadi groups. “These people may have gone on their own ... to
It is not usual denial which will satisfy national and international community. President Parvez Musharaff must ensure full and unconditional compliance with the orders of the courts, if the judiciary is to be seen as an independent entity. At the same time,