The constant reports of enforced disappearances in Pakistan have raised questions over the role of the special committee, constituted by the former chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, which was supposed to investigate such cases.
Former senator and ex-chairperson of the HRCP, Afrasiab Khattak, speaking to DW News, said that in his term in the Senate, he formed a special committee to investigate the enforced disappearances. As per the media outlet, he said that the committee found the country’s intelligence agencies, notably the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), were involved in the enforced disappearances.
“I approached the Defense Ministry with the suggestion to form a transparent law to bring secret service agencies under the domain of law. Despite multiple reminders, the Defense Ministry didn’t respond to my request. “Secret agencies don’t want to follow any legal procedure, which ends their authority and impunity,” Khattak said.
People being forcibly disappeared is a serious and longstanding issue in Pakistan. On May 11, Feroz Baloch, a student of the Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, was allegedly headed to the university library. But, according to the reports, he never made it to there and went missing. His whereabouts remain a mystery to this date.
The disappearance of Feroz Baloch has raised awareness of people going missing. DW News reported that since 2000, when then-military ruler General Pervez Musharraf overthrew Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government to form his authoritarian regime, the issue of enforced disappearances has risen to prominence. Hundreds of thousands of people from all spheres of life started to disappear. In March 2011, the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COIOED) was formed to work on the issue.