The Pakistani National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights met on February 24th in the Parliament House in Islamabad to discuss the various human rights issues plaguing the country, including enforced disappearances. Activist Haseeba Baloch, sister of the missing Qambrani brothers, also participated in the committee to make her voice heard. MNA Mohsin Dawar, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, former Senator Farhatullah Babar and several others were also present in the meeting.
According to the details, the members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf walked out of the committee before hearing from Haseeba Qambrani, who is among the prominent voices advocating for the safe recovery of Baloch missing persons. She was among the families of the Baloch missing persons who staged a week-long sit-in protest in Islamabad.
The PTI members reportedly objected to the presence of MNA Mohsin Dawar and therefore walked out before Haseeba Qambrani could address the committee.
Addressing the gathering, Qambrani said that the two brothers had been “abducted” in the past and their mutilated dead bodies were subsequently found. She also provided the details of the disappearance of her brothers Hassan and Hizbullah Qambrani who went missing a year ago in Quetta.
She also gave an account of the disappearance and subsequent killing of her two other brothers – Gazzain and Salman Qambrani.
The Pakistani National Assembly Secretariat said in an after-meeting press release that it was “perturbed to listen to the story” of Haseeba Qambrani. “The Committee sympathized with her opined that legislation in this regard should be done.”
The press release went on to say that the government is “aware of enforced disappearances” and that it is in the “charter of the PTI Government to address this sensitive issue.”
A “senior officer of Government of Balochistan” told the Committee that a Joint Investigation Team has been formulated to address the issue. The JIT has conducted two meetings and after its third “conclusive” meeting, it will submit its report to the committee.
The Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of the Pakistani Army, said in a press conference that the Commission on enforced disappearances has made “a lot of progress.” He said that the Commission had 6000 pending cases of enforced disappearances, out of which 4000 have already been resolved. The “missing persons issue will be resolved very soon”, he said.
His comments days after the families of Baloch missing persons calling an end to enforced disappearances in Balochistan ended their week-long sit-in protest in the federal capital after the assurance that the Pakistani premier will meet them next month.
The DG ISPR also said that few people have been arrested for having links with the perpetrators of the Machh massacre where 10 coal miners from the Hazara community of Pakistan were massacred in the dead of the night.
On the other hand, rights organizations dispute the DG ISPR’s claims. Mama Qadeer Baloch, Vice-Chairman of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, said that the government is talking about the recovery of 300 missing persons, it should also address the enforced disappearances being carried out on an almost daily basis.