The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances has received 76 new complaints of missing persons in March, the monthly report released by the commission revealed. The commission received a total of 158 missing persons for the year 2022: 34 cases were lodged in January while 48 in February.
The commission statistics for the month of March added that the commission traced 38 persons last month – of whom 35 persons returned to their homes, one confined in jail while dead bodies of two persons were also found whose reports were lodged with the commission. The Commission statistics indicate that a total of 23 cases were deleted due to not being deemed to be cases of enforced disappearance.
As per the data of cases from March 2011, when the commission was established, up till March 2022, the commission received 8,463 complaints related to enforced disappearances, out of which it has disposed of 6,275 cases, while the whereabouts of 2,266 persons could not be ascertained during the course of inquiry.
The commission took up the case of Muhammad Nabi Marri & Muhammad Khan Marri, residents of Quetta, At the hearing held in this case at Quetta, SP Quaid Abad Quetta informed the commission that incidents of alleged enforced disappearance occurred on 11 April 2012, while dead bodies of both were found in the Maidan of Killa Firozabad, Sariab Road, Quetta last year. The dead bodies of both were handed over to legal heirs after the issuance of death certificates by the Medical-Legal Officer.
The data shows that since the establishment of the commission, a total of 3,319 people returned to their homes, 940 were confined in internment centres of the Pakistan Army, 585 were imprisoned in jails and dead bodies of 230 people were also found.
Out of a total of 940 persons confined in different internment centres in the country, 91 belong to Punjab, 791 are from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 41 are from Sindh, 21 are residents of the federal capital Islamabad, two are from Baluchistan, three are from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), and one person belongs to Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Commission also took up the case of Mossa Jan son of Samand Khan, a resident of Quetta. Moosa Jan appeared before the Commission and his statement was recorded on oath, in which he stated that he was picked up and taken away blindfolded on 14 December 2021 by unknown persons. He further deposed that he was set free on 23 February 2022 at Akhtar Abad, Quetta, adding that hence no further action is required.
As per the data of cases from March 2011, when the commission was established, up till March 2022, the commission received 8,463 complaints related to enforced disappearances, out of which it has disposed of 6,275 cases, while the whereabouts of 2,266 persons could not be ascertained
The commission took up the case of Sikandar Khan son of Pir Bakhsh, a resident of Quetta, and he appeared before the commission. His statement was recorded on oath, in which he stated that he was abducted in front of his house, blindfolded by three or four persons, who came in a car, and kept him at some unknown place in a small room – from where he was set free at Quetta Bazaar after 45 days.
The commission data shows that in the year 2016, the commission received 728 complaints of alleged enforced disappearances, 868 in 2017, 1,098 in 2018, 800 in 2019, and 415 complaints in 2020 – while more than 1,400 complaints were received during the year of 2021.
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah last week equated enforced disappearances with treason. The remark came during the hearing of missing journalist Mudassar Naaru’s case at the IHC. Naru, a journalist from Lahore, went missing in August 2018.
“Enforced disappearances are treason. It is a case of treason,” Justice Minallah remarked. He said that enforced disappearances are not acceptable in a country that follows the Constitution. He asked if the inability to recover Mudassar Naaru was the failure of state agencies, adding that the federal and provincial governments should have looked into this matter.
“Can anyone be disappeared without their [federal and provincial governments’] will? No,” the judge declared. “People going missing are the incompetence of the State. The Executive is responsible if the state agencies are not in control. Why don’t we declare the executive responsible for it?”
The judge went on to say that sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act are applied in the enforced disappearance cases. Hailing from Lahore, Mudassar Naaru has been missing since 20 August 2018, when he disappeared while travelling in the northern areas with his wife and child.