UN fails to get permission from Pakistan to visit over enforced disappearances

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A UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances has sent several requests to Pakistan government to visit the country to investigate the cases of extra judicial detentions, but is still hasn’t received permission from Pakistani authorities.

This news was revealed by Luciano A Hazan, the Working Group Rapporteur, while interacting with a delegation of the World Sindhi Congress (WSC), who attended a meeting with the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) through a video conference.

This meeting was presided by Hazan, from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

WSC presented a detailed overview of the new and previous cases of the enforced disappearances of human rights defenders in Sindh.

“The sole purpose of these abductions by the Pakistani Government is to silence any dissent challenging their policies of hegemony and appropriation of natural resources and lands belonging to the indigenous Sindhi people,” highlighted Dr. Saghir Shaikh of WSC in his presentation to the WGEID.

Dr. Shaikh further elaborated that these disappearances are carried out by the multiple security agencies, such as Military Intelligence (MI), ISI, and Rangers and police.

“All of these agencies operate with complete impunity!” he added.

Several dozen who have been released in the last few years experienced mental and physical torture. None of them have ever dared to speak up publicly, and almost all of them have resorted to the seclusion and life of shunning human rights advocacy altogether, said the WSC delegation.

Despite enormous protests, campaigns, and petitions in the courts, this practice has not stopped. The delegation requested to send the WGEID team to visit Sindh to ascertain the issue and talk to those who have directly suffered.

According to the statement, The WSC released, Mr. Hazan informed that a formal request to visit the country was sent to Pakistan in November 2019 with a follow-up reminder in April 2020. The WGEID has not yet received a positive reply from the Government of Pakistan. Unless Pakistan does not extend a formal invitation, WGEID cannot visit the country.

Mr. Hazan, assured the delegation that they will continue their best efforts to seek the release or declaration of whereabouts of all the missing persons in Sindh and Pakistan.

It was also resolved that WSC will continue working with WGEID by providing data and other relevant information.

The WSC is based in the UK, USA, Canada, and Sindh and is one of the most prominent human rights advocacy organizations for Sindhi people.

According to Sindhi nationalist and rights groups, Sindhi people are struggling peacefully for basic human rights and the right to self-determination but Pakistani establishment is countering their struggle heavy-handedly.

Enforced disappearances has been the alarming issue in Pakistan for more than a decade. Multiple ethnic groups such as Sindhis, Mohajirs, Pashtuns and Baloch claim to be the victims of systematic discrimination by the state, according to them, raising voice against it is dealt with enforced disappearance and kill and dump policies.

According to the regional and international rights organisations, the highest cases in the region have been recorded are from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Due to the independence movement in Balochistan, many political activists have been forcefully disappeared allegedly by the Pakistan army and intelligence services.

According to Baloch nationalists it is the fifth insurgency in last 72 years against the illegal occupation of Pakistan.

Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), an organisation formed by the families of missing persons to raise voice against forceful disappearances in Balochistan, allegedly by Pakistani security forces. VBMP has organized numerous events, protests and rallies, including a long walk from Quetta to Karachi and then to Islamabad. VBMP has been protesting non-stop for almost 4000 days.

As per VBMP, as many as 45,000 Baloch men, women and children have been disappeared, who are languishing in torture cells.

VBMP also alleges that at least 5,000 missing persons have been killed and dumped over last one decade.

The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) or Pashtun Protection Movement, is working with the families of those who have been disappeared during more than 15 years of unrest in Pakistan’s northwestern Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, and parts of southwestern Balochistan Province. These regions are predominantly populated by ethnic Pashtuns, who comprise up to 20 percent of the country’s population.

PTM has been critical of the state’s policies and specifically the army in Waziristan, for a large number of enforced disappearances and violations of human rights. PTM’s leaders also have been arrested and assassinated, which include the members of parliament. The party blames Pakistan army is behind the assassination of its leaders and workers.

Last year in a statement the leader of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement or MQM, Altaf Hussain, called for self-determination for the Mohajir people, who according to their own reckoning are, 30 million people. Mohajirs are mainly concentrated in Karachi.

The MQM said that Pakistan’s Military repressive actions date back to decades and the non-Punjabi nations like Baloch, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Kashmiris, settled in different provinces of the country, are forced to live like slaves and have been facing genocide. The organisation further said that these nations have been completely irked and now want freedom from Punjabi establishment’s repressive dominance.


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