Friday, July 20, 2012

The UN and the missing Baloch persons abducted by Pakistani state agencies

THE report that a team of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will visit Pakistan in September must have raised hopes in many a heart in Balochistan. Will this initiative give the efforts to resolve the issue of disappearances a decisive boost? One hopes nothing will be done to thwart the UN mission. Any cancellation or postponement of the plan will further tarnish Pakistan’s image abroad. The working group had requested Islamabad to invite its mission on Sept 29, 2010. It was not wise to delay acceptance of this request for 20 months. Even otherwise, Pakistan’s record with this working group has not been good. In its latest report the group stated it had transmitted 143 cases of involuntary disappearance to the government since its inception and 107 of them were pending as of March 2012. Between November 2010 and November 2011, the cases referred to Islamabad under an urgent-action procedure were those of Muzaffar Bhutto (allegedly abducted on Feb 25, 2011) and Al Sharkawy Abdullah Mohammed Abdelrahim (May 25, 2011). The three cases referred under standard procedure concerned Mir Sohrab Khan Marri (Nov 8, 2009), Ali Asghar Bangulzai (Oct 18, 2001) and Khan Mohammad Marri (Nov 7, 2010). We know the fate of the persons mentioned here.

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