Karachi [Pakistan], September 21 (ANI): Pakistan Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Tuesday admitted "limits to govt writ" in missing person's cases and said that the state is responsible for recovering citizens who disappeared by force and termed the issue "more painful than death."
"There's no denying and we all know how much writ successive governments have had and it still has in this regard," he said talking to reporters after meeting coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement - Pakistan (MQM-P) at the party's temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad, apparently conceding the fact that government had limited writ in this regard, reported Dawn.
Describing those involved in "enforced disappearances" of political workers, human rights activists and other individuals as violators of the Constitution, Sanaullah said that the government focused on addressing the issue "where solution lies."
When asked that some enforced disappearance cases dated back to the previous governments of the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the centre, he said, "There's no denying and we all know that how much writ successive governments have had and [the current one] still has in this regard and what are its other aspects," reported Dawn.
He later reiterated this in a tweet, "It's a matter of embarrassment for the state that instead of bringing people under the law, they are disappeared and then their bodies are found. Everyone knows the extent of the government's writ in this regard. I assure you that we are trying to solve the problem through reconciliation rather than confrontation."
The interior minister, who drove to the MQM-P's office minutes after landing at Karachi airport, held a detailed meeting with the leaders of the party and also met with the families of workers who had been missing for the past several years, reported Dawn.
His visit to Karachi came after the MQM-P strongly reacted to the recovery of bodies of its missing workers from different parts of Sindh.
The party even questioned the reason for being a coalition partner after it came under serious pressure within the party ranks and workers, who protested against the non-implementation of a "charter of rights" agreed with the PPP and the PML-N in March to strike a deal with the ruling coalition on almost all of its years-old demands, reported Dawn.
He said disappearing people by force had tarnished the country's image the world over and attracted serious questions from global organisations on Pakistan and its affairs.
The MQM-P was not the only party facing this issue, as the same was the case in Balochistan, Sanaullah admitted, adding that recently the federal government had made a similar attempt in Quetta to convince demonstrators, who had been staging a sit-in for 50 days for the recovery of their missing loved ones, to call off their protest, reported Dawn.
The constant reports of enforced disappearances in Pakistan have raised questions over the role of the special committee, constituted by the former chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, which was supposed to investigate such cases.
People being forcibly disappeared is a severe and longstanding issue in Pakistan.
Hundreds of thousands of people from all spheres of life started to disappear. In March 2011, the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COIOED) was formed to work on the issue.
According to recent figures released by COIOED in July 2022, 8,696 missing person cases have been reported. While 6,513 of these cases have been solved, 2,219 are still pending, as per DW news.
Despite efforts by civil society, there is no end to the issue of enforced disappearances in Pakistan, as the State continues to use it with impunity.
The irony is that successive Pakistan governments have pledged to end the practice of enforced disappearances, however, there is no end to it, reported Canada-based think tank, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS). (ANI)