Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari on Monday said that Pakistan was “moving forward” in its commitment to criminalise enforced disappearances, and emphasised that such acts did not have a place in a democracy.
As the world celebrates International Day of the Disappeared on August 30, Dr Mazari tweeted that the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Interior approved a bill on enforced disappearances last week.
“Sadly, time [was] lost because no previous government moved on enforced disappearances,” said Mazari.
“In our first meeting at the Ministry of Human Rights, we had the then PPP chair of the Senate human rights committee participate. Once introduced in NA it was available on 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 said.
She also said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had met Baloch families of “disappeared” persons who provided details about their missing family members. “Some have returned home while others are being traced,” the minister said.
The minister also hit out at former governments for their lack of response on the issue. “[I] can’t recall any PML-N or PPP prime minister in the last two governments even recognising enforced disappearances, let alone meeting with these families.”