Defence of Human Rights

137 enforced disappeared people in Balochistan have returned home, what about the rest?

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“We have had some victories and many setbacks on our journey. Since the beginning of our protests, several representatives of the Pakistani state have admitted that security agencies are responsible for enforced disappearances. These admissions led to the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances in 2011. The commission, however, has failed to achieve much in the last 10 years.”

The Commission for the Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan released figures for May, saying that a total of 157 missing persons returned to their homes last month, including 137 from Awaran and Ketch districts of Balochistan province. 

The commission said that it had registered 145 new cases of enforced disappearances last month. The commission further stated that according to their fact sheet in May, the commission had traced 184 people whose families had reported cases of enforced disappearances to the commission.

According to the commission, 157 of those missing have returned to their homes, while 15 others are still being held in military-run detention centers. The commission claims in its statistics that it has also traced 14 other people who have been forcibly disappeared and are lodged in various jails across the country and have been subjected to legal provisions. 

Speaking about the total number of enforced disappearances in the country, the commission informed that till Mayof this year, it has registered 8018 cases of enforced disappearances out of which 5722 persons have been traced while 2296 persons are still unaccounted for.

The commission further stated in its figures that 1,098 cases of enforced disappearances were registered in the first five months of 2021, which is much higher than the previous year as a total of 415 cases of enforced disappearances were registered with the commission in 2020.

DHR congratulates the commission on solving 157 cases but, sadly most of the cases we witness every day are still stuck in a deadlock due to the existing commission. These cases are stuck because the mandate of the commission ends after they have provided the production order in any case. There is no hope for various families who have a production order in hand.

Peshawar

120 victim families in Peshawar are doing a sit-in since the last week as most of the cases were disposed off by the Commission of Inquiry for Enforced Disappearances COIED or are still pending.

Sindh

According to a statement issued by the UNWGEID (United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances) to the Government of Pakistan regarding the ongoing, continuous practice of enforced disappearances, 3800 cases have been recorded in Sindh alone.

Balochistan

In Balochistan, co-founder and chairperson of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), Nasrullah Baloch, has registered more than 5,000 cases of enforced disappearances. He further said that, 

“We have had some victories and many setbacks on our journey. Since the beginning of our protests, several representatives of the Pakistani state have admitted that security agencies are responsible for enforced disappearances. These admissions led to the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances in 2011. The commission, however, has failed to achieve much in the last 10 years.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/3/9/addressing-pakistans-epidemic-of-forced-disappearances

Punjab

In Punjab and Islamabad, more than 550 people have been disappeared to date. Most of the cases have been registered in commission and also in Islamabad High Court by the families of the disappeared but there has been no progress regarding the cases.

The families of the disappeared have been hopeless and disappointed with the inability of the commission to achieve any significant success. As 137 victims return back to their families, the remaining thousands stand in hope that one day they will also be reunited with their disappeared loved ones.

Sabha Munir
Marketing & Communications Officer, Defence of Human Rights Pakistan

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