ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani cabinet has approved setting up a committee to probe continuing cases of enforced disappearances in the country, a government notification said this week, as this month’s mysterious disappearance of a government official once more put the spotlight on the continuing practice in Pakistan.
The seven-member committee will comprise of the ministers of law and human rights, the Pakistani prime minister’s special adviser on accountability, the chief commissioner and inspector general of Islamabad police, and a representative each from the ISI and the Intelligence Bureau spy agencies.
The committee will “deliberate on the reasons behind enforced disappearances and give recommendations on how to control these incidents,” the notification said.
A federal Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances set up by the government in 2011 listed 6,506 such cases nationwide by the end of 2019. And despite the pledges of successive Pakistani governments to criminalize the practice, there has been slow movement on legislation and people continue to be forcibly disappeared.
At a court hearing earlier this month over the disappearance of Sajid Gondal, a Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan official who went missing, investigation officer Malik Naeem said he was investigating 50 cases of missing persons in Islamabad alone.
Gondal has since returned home.
Pakistan’s secret services are often blamed for enforced disappearances, though they vociferously deny the allegations.