Big jump in ‘Enforced Disappearances’ in Pakistan

at 5:10 pm
Baloch Missing Persons
Families of victims of 'Enforced Disappearances' at a protest in Pakistan (File Pic)

New Delhi (NVI) Pakistan continues to witness an increasing trend in the number of ‘Enforced Disappearances’, implying people abducted or killed by security agencies or their proxies, with a new record of 952 cases being reported in just 4 months of this year till April.

As many as 714 complaints were lodged just in one month of March with the government-appointed Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COIED), according to Voice of Pakistan Minority.

This is a huge jump in monthly cases of enforced disappearances as the previous highest number was 162 reported in April, 2018.

The breakup of the new cases in March shows that a bulk of the total complaints was lodged from Balochistan where 692 cases were filed of enforced disappearances with the commission.

The rest of the complaints came from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where 13 new cases were lodged, followed by Punjab with 6 new cases while 3 cases came from Sindh, it said.

Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are witnessing movements for liberation against the Pakistani rule.

It is well known that the enforced disappearances are carried out by the Pakistani security agencies, like ISI, or their proxies.

According to data from the COIED from January 2016 to April 2021, the figure of 952 cases reported in 4 months of this year till April is more than the double of 415 total cases reported for the entire last year, which was the year of lowest number of complaints as compared to the previous five years, voicepk.net reported.

In 2016, the COIED received 728 new cases, followed by 868 cases in 2017. The COIED received 800 new cases in 2019, the website said.

The previous highest number of annual cases was 1098 in 2018. However, the four-month tally of new cases (January to April) in 2018 came to 483 cases which is half of this year’s figure of 952 new cases in the same period, it said.

Since 2011, the COEID has received a total of 7,873 cases of enforced disappearances from across the country till April 30. Out of the total cases, the COIED has disposed of 5,536 cases till last month, the voicepk.net said.

Out of these resolved cases, the commission said a total of 224 missing persons had died with their families having found their dead bodies, it said.

In a briefing paper in September last year, the International Commission of Jurists assailed the performance of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COIED), saying not a single perpetrator of enforced disappearances has been held accountable, the voicepk.net reported.

The ICJ said the COIED has wholly failed to address entrenched impunity, leaving victims and their loved without any redress.

“This Commission has failed in holding even a single perpetrator of enforced disappearance responsible in its nine years,” said Ian Seiderman, ICJ’s Legal and Policy Director.

“A Commission that does not address impunity, nor facilitate justice for victims and their families, can certainly not be considered effective,” the ICJ stated in its paper, according to the website.