Editorial : Still missing - Friday 15th April 2011

IN the latest development in Pakistan`s missing people saga, the Supreme Court on Wednesday summoned a slew of senior officials, including the interior minister, provincial home secretaries and the inspectors general of police of the four provinces, to explain why hundreds of missing people have still not returned home. The same day, an activist group wound up a 10-day camp in the capital protesting delays in the recovery of those who have disappeared from Balochistan; now that the dead bodies of missing Baloch have begun turning up, the matter has taken an even more serious turn in that province. Indeed, nearly a year and a half since the SC took up the issue of forced disappearances again, this serious human rights violation remains unresolved. Although the court claimed on Wednesday that over 220 people had been recovered through its efforts, an activist group said the number of missing people has risen to nearly 350. The fact that reports about such disappearances are still appearing in the media, especially from Balochistan, only confirms that even as some progress has been made, people continue to be picked up and detained without trial.
That said, there is only so much the courts can do. No judicial commissions and no number of hearings can be successful without the cooperation of the government and the security establishment. In order for this problem to be resolved, the civilian administration would have to demonstrate the will to pursue it with determination and persistence and the courage to ask questions of the law-enforcement and intelligence agencies that activists and families of missing people claim are responsible. In turn, these agencies would have to be willing to accept that such detentions are unacceptable, return people to their homes and charge them with any wrongdoing through legal channels. The SC has declared that 2011 will be the year of the recovery of missing people. But the foot-dragging and obstruction that have characterised investigations so far do not provide much hope that this national embarrassment will be resolved any time soon.

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/15/still-missing.html

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