Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights in its meeting on Tuesday has asked the Ministry of Human Rights to hold consultations with all relevant stakeholders and draft a legislation on making the matter of missing persons a cognizable offence under the Pakistan Penal Code and submit the same before the committee within one month.
The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar here at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services and was attended among others by Senators Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Sassui Palijo, Usman Kakar, Tahir Bizenjo, Mehr Taj
The Committee was given a detailed briefing by Justice (R) Javed Iqbal regarding the number of cases before the commission. The total number of cases was said to be 5290 since 2011 while the number of cases disposed off till June 2018 is 3462. A number of 1828 cases is still under instigation with the Commission. The Committee was told that two reports by Justice Mansoor Ali Khan and Justice Noor Muhammad will be of use to better analyse the problem of missing persons. Chairman Committee directed the ministry of Interior to furnish both the reports before the committee and has also directed Secretary Interior to come to the next meeting and give his input on the two reports.
It was the sense of the Committee that whatever the reason of disappearances, the responsibility of recovery of citizens lies with the Government. The Committee also decided to take data from the Foreign Office regarding the number of Pakistanis in jails in different countries abroad and directed the Foreign Office to share the same number assumed to be around 5000 with the Commission on Enforced Disappearances. The Committee directed the Secretary General Administration Sindh to sort out the issue of proper office building for the Commission’s working in Sindh and give compliance report to the Committee. The Committee will also visit the Commission’s internment centres to observe the conditions for the inhabitants and also asked for the exact number of people currently in such centres.