Forced disappearance in Pakistan
Forced disappearance in Pakistan originated during the military dictator General Pervez Musharraf (1999 to 2008). The practice continued during subsequent governments. The term missing persons is sometimes used as a euphemism. According to Amina Masood Janjua, a human rights activist and chairperson of Defence of Human Rights Pakistan; a not for profit organization working against enforced disappearance there are more than 5,000 reported cases of enforced disappearance in Pakistan.
From 1999 to 2008
After the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, forced disappearance in Pakistan allegedly began during the rule of military dictator General Pervez Musharraf (1999 to 2008). Pakistan went under immense terrorist activities. A large number of people became the victim of suicidal attacks. During Musharraf's tenure, during 'War on Terror', many people were suspected as terrorists and then taken away by Govt agencies. Many of them were then handed over to the United States authorities to be imprisoned in the Guantanamo Bay's Camp X-Ray. After Musharaf resigned in August 2008, he was charged with various human rights violations. According to Amina Masood Janjua, a human right's activist and chairperson of Defence of Human Rights Pakistan, a Nonprofit organization working against enforced disappearance there are more than 5000 reported cases of enforced disappearance in Pakistan, however, she asserts that the number of unreported cases is much higher. On the other hand, according to government, this figures is inflated.
From 2009 to present
According to Dawn newspaper report, in the first seven months of 2016, there were 510 reports of forced disappearance in Pakistan. In 2011, a Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances was formed to investigate the cases of forced disappearances. According to Amnesty International, the commission has so far received 3,000 cases of such disappearances.
- Zeenat Shahzadi: Zeenat Shahzadi, a 24-year-old female journalist who was investigating a disappearance case, was allegedly abducted by some armed personnel on 19 August 2015 and went missing. As of 2017[update], she remained missing. Her disappearance caused her younger brother to commit suicide.
- Five online activists: In early January 2017, five social media activists – Salman Haider, Ahmad Waqass Goraya, Aasim Saeed, and Ahmad Raza Naseer – went missing from different parts of Pakistan. Salman Haider was also a poet and academic. Involvement of government agencies were suspected in those disappearances. Later, one news report claimed that two of the five — Aasim Saeed and Salman Haider — were found.
People who have at any point gone missing
- Masood Ahmed Janjua (Husband of Amina Masood Janjua)
- Naveed Butt (official spokesman of the Islamist political party Hizb ut-Tahrir in Pakistan)
- Safdar Sarki
- Saud Memon
- Aafia Siddique and her three children
- Hafiz Abdul Basit
- Muzaffar Bhutto
Some have reported to have been handed over to the CIA and/or flown to Bagram, Afghanistan and later shipped off to Guantanamo Bay. Reports of forced abductions by the Pakistani state first began arising in 2001, in the aftermath of the United States invasion of Afghanistan and the commencement of the US-led War on Terror. Many of the missing persons are activists associated with the Baloch nationalist and Sindhi nationalist movements.
A senior Pakistani provincial security official claims that missing person figures are 'exaggerated', that 'in Balochistan, insurgents, immigrants who fled to Europe and even those who have been killed in military operations are declared as missing persons'. Reports have shown that many people have fled the province to seek asylum in other countries because of the unrest caused by separatist militants.
Similarly separatist militants have also been found responsible for enforced disappearances cases. Separatist militants usually wear military uniform while carrying out their militant activities. Hence they often get mistaken as security officials.
The cases of forced disappearances were criticized by human rights organizations and the media. They have urged the government of Pakistan to probe these incidents. In 2011, a Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances was formed, but there was little progress in the investigation.
- Balochistan conflict
- Enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka
- Forced disappearance
- Gun politics in Pakistan
- Human rights in Pakistan
- Target killings in Pakistan
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Militants wearing security force uniforms stopped two buses in southwest Pakistan on Thursday and killed 14 passengers after ordering them out of the vehicles, police said.
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