Pakistan cabinet sets up committee to probe enforced disappearances

Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs meeting of the Federal Cabinet at PM Office Islamabad on 15th September, 2020. (PID Photo)
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Updated 17 September 2020

Pakistan cabinet sets up committee to probe enforced disappearances

  • Committee will deliberate “reasons behind enforced disappearances and give recommendations on how to control these incidents”
  • This month’s mysterious disappearance of an SECP official has once more put the spotlight on continuing cases of enforced disappearances in Pakistan

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. 


WHO lauds Pakistani frontline workers as 'real heroes' in polio fight

Updated 24 October 2020

WHO lauds Pakistani frontline workers as 'real heroes' in polio fight

  • 270,000 frontline workers participated in the nationwide anti-polio vaccination campaign last month
  • Pakistan and Afghanistan remain the only countries where polio can be found, after Africa was declared polio-free in late August

ISLAMABAD: The World Health Organization (WHO) marked World Polio Day on Saturday by recognizing the hard work of thousands of Pakistani polio workers, as a nationwide immunization drive resumed after a months-long coronavirus hiatus.
According to Pakistan Polio Eradication Program data, 270,000 frontline workers participated in the door-to-door vaccination campaign last month after the government suspended nationwide polio efforts between April and July to focus on COVID-19 response.
"They are our real heroes in this effort, and with the provided support, they have made us proud by vaccinating millions of children during each campaign," WHO Pakistan representative Dr. Palitha Mahipala said, as quoted by local media.
He added that the WHO and its government and non-government partners are "working hard to ensure that Pakistan can be the next country on the journey to a polio-free world."
Polio is a highly infectious disease, which mainly affects children under the age of five and can cause paralysis or death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective means of protection against it.
The next polio eradication campaign will be starting on Monday, in 128 districts of the country, aiming to give polio drops to 31 million children.
Pakistan and Afghanistan remain the only countries where polio can be found, after Africa was declared polio-free in late August. Pakistan has registered 79 polio cases since the start of the year.