Nov 01, 2011

Sindh: International Response Needed to Disappearances

Reports from Pakistan link the latest political activists to be ‘disappeared’ with ongoing impunity within the security services and the need for international actors to ensure Islamabad lives up to crucial legal and constitutional obligations


Below is an article published by UNPO:


In the latest instance of disappeared political and human rights activists in Pakistan, the very question of the country’s adherence to basic norms of democracy and transparency are being called into question by commentators.


Not limited Sindh, Balochistan has also been one of the worst affected of Pakistan’s provinces by the lawlessness and lack of justice that allows the perpetrators of disappearances to go unpunished, for the disappeared themselves to remain undiscovered for weeks or months, and for activists to live and work in a climate of fear.  The impotency of the Supreme Court of Pakistan is one of the most jarring signs of the powerlessness of justice in Pakistan today.


On 29 October 2011 the reality of such lawlessness was again brought home to citizens in Sindh when the Awami Awaz newspaper reported the disappearance of G M Abro, Anwar  Depar and Noor Abro – all of them political activists working in Larkana city.  Unconfirmed reports indicate the involvement of state security agents, but enquiries to local police authorities have yielded no answers to the whereabouts of the disappeared men.


As the families of these three men await their hopeful return or simply some news of their whereabouts it raises key questions again of the rule of law in Pakistan.  International covenants and domestic legislation all provide for a legal process to be conducted should individuals be found to have committed a felony.  The disappeared are denied any such justice. 


Consequently there are calls being made by commentators and civil society within Pakistan for renewed efforts to define, coordinate, and implement a strategy by which basic human rights can be protected in Pakistan.   At stake is the international reputation of Pakistan, the sanctity of its constitution and the provisions therein, and above all, the well-being of all Pakistani citizens to enjoy a life free from fear or injustice.  How this challenge should be taken up is open for debate but the fear must be that any solution may come too late for three men from Larkana.


Note:  This article is based on reports from the Socialist Pakistan News