Pakistan moving forward to formally criminalize enforced disappearances

Pakistan is moving forward in its commitment to criminalize enforced disappearances, said Shireen Mazari.

The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Interior approved a bill on enforced disappearances last week. The decision has come at a time when the world is celebrating the International Day of the Disappeared on the 30th of August.

Speaking on the matter, The Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari said on Monday:

Pakistan is moving forward in its commitment to criminalize enforced disappearances. Such acts do not have a place in a democracy. Sadly, time [was] lost because no previous government moved on enforced disappearances.

The Minister took to Twitter to share the bill details and stated:

In our first meeting at the Ministry of Human Rights, we had the then PPP chair of the Senate human rights committee participate. Once the bill was introduced in NA, it was available on the NA website, so to say no one knew the content is absurd. No one objected on the floor of the NA or in the committee.

She further stated:

Prime Minister Imran Khan has met Baloch families of disappeared persons who provided details about their missing family members. Some have returned home while others are being traced.

Criticizing the former governments for their lack of response on the issue, Dr. Shireen Mazari said:

[I] can’t recall any PML-N or PPP Prime Minister in the last two governments even recognizing enforced disappearances, let alone meeting with these families.

Here are the original tweets by Dr. Shireen Mazari:

With the bill’s enforcement, families of the sufferers have started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Their long-lost hopes have started to glimmer once again as reuniting with disappeared loved ones now seems somewhat possible.

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