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The quest for missing persons

The buck stops at the top was the observation of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah in a missing person case. The court has solely held the Prime Minister and his cabinet responsible for not recovering missing persons. So far the security apparatus in Pakistan has an upper hand as the forced disappearances reports are mostly denied, and the mental anguish of missing persons’ extended families is rising as they don’t get a definitive answer from the law enforcement agencies. The only answer families get is that the government spokesman denies the allegations. So the families continue to go through horrors and their sufferings are endless.

The fact that there has been no let-up in cases of missing persons is a cause for concern. There are numerous cases that remain unsolved as mystery shrouds these abductions allegedly done by security agencies. Statistics regarding the missing persons from Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh and other restive areas are appalling. Hundreds of cases of missing persons are still pending with the courts. In Balochistan, human rights situation is getting worse day by day. Though the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Amnesty International are raising their voice, yet it seems that they are as helpless as other institutions like the judiciary, that has failed to deliver justice to the missing victims and their families.

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Silencing voices through the use of force cannot yield desired results. Rather, it would give birth to mutiny and more chaos in the country. Pakistan should not be made a banana state. Moreover, reluctance of the police to register missing persons’ cases gives birth to suspicion about the involvement of powerful authorities in these abductions. The problem is that certain powerful institutions do not want the involvement of courts where it would be difficult to prove their case. Therefore, it is easier to act as the judge, jury and the executioner themselves with no right of defence to the victim whatsoever, and justify it all in the name of national security and well-being of people.

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