7-member ministerial committee set up to deliberate policy about enforced disappearances

“The committee may co-opt eminent jurists, representatives of human rights organizations and any other member(s) as it deems appropriate,”

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ISLAMABAD: The government Monday constituted a seven- member ministerial level committee under the chairmanship of Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar to deliberate a policy relating to enforced disappearances.

Other members of the committee included Minister for Interior Rana Sana Ullah Khan, Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Shazia Marri, Minister for Communication Asad Mehmood, Minister for Defence Production Muhammad Israr Tareen, Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Faisal Ali Subzwari and Minister for Science and Technology Agha Hassan Baloch, said a notification issued by the Interior Ministry.

“The committee may co-opt eminent jurists, representatives of human rights organizations and any other member(s) as it deems appropriate,” it further said.

The report/recommendations of the committee would be submitted to the Cabinet for deliberations. The interior ministry shall provide Secretariat support to the committee. Enforced disappearances have long been documented by local and international rights groups in Pakistan, and in 2011, the government formed a commission of inquiry to document and investigate cases of the disappeared, known as “missing persons”.

Since 2011, the commission has received complaints in at least 8,154 cases, of which 2,274 remain unresolved, according to the commission’s report for September 2021. The military and security agencies under it have repeatedly denied committing abuses, blaming the killings on an array of militant groups active in the resource-rich province that borders both Afghanistan and Iran. But human rights groups have gathered some evidence from relatives of the disappeared that raises serious questions over the conduct of the security establishment.

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