August 17th, 2020

                                                    By Shaukat Korai


Activist Sarang Joyo who has been working for the recovery of missing persons in Sindh, finally returned home in the early hours of Monday, August 17. Sarang was taken away by the police six days ago from his residence in Karachi by unknown persons.

Sarang was admitted to a hospital for treatment for physical injuries that he sustained and for the intense mental stress he was suffering from after his six-day detention, his father Taj Joyo told the Senate Committee. Taj Joyo is a progressive Sindhi writer and poet.

On Monday, Taj Joyo was summoned by the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights to hear out the case.

Speaking to, Taj Joyo said that his son Sarang was released (only) after the committee took up the matter. Joyo claimed that his son had been mentally and physically tortured and was currently in a Karachi hospital.

Sarang’s detention gained media spotlight on August 14 after his father, Taj Joyo, was nominated for the Pride of Performance award by the President of Pakistan Arif Alvi, however he refused to accept the medal to protest the illegal detention of his son.

Taj said it was not just about his son, he wanted all missing persons from Sindh to be recovered. He has submitted the list of missing persons to the senate committee. The senate committee has directed the Inspector General Sindh to ensure recovery of all missing persons.

Sarang is a Research Associate at the Shaheed Zulfiqar Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology in Karachi. He was an activist for the recovery of missing persons. Sarang’s wife Sohni Joyo alleged that uniformed and plainclothes police officials entered their house and tortured her husband. She said that their children were also beaten that night during the search.

Asad Iqbal Butt, the vice-chairman of the Sindh chapter of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said that the disappearance of people was a major crime under the state of Pakistan and international laws. He said that the HRCP has informed the UN Commission on Missing Persons about the situation.  He added that Commission for Missing Persons Recovery in Pakistan has not proved fruitful.

Established in 2011, a Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances was formed to investigate the cases of forced disappearances on the orders of the Supreme Court. Retired justice, Javed Iqbal, was appointed as the first and the incumbent chairman of the commission. Iqbal is also chairman of the National Accountability Bureau.

During the committee hearing, Senator Farhatullah Babar cited an August 2018 quote of Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal, Chairman of the Commission of Forced Disappearances that 153 military personnel were involved in forced disappearances. Babar raised a question about action taken against these military personnel. The representative for Javed Iqbal told the committee that the chairman could not attend the hearing as his life was under threat due to the NAB hearing of former president Asif Ali Zardari. The answer left the committee members aghast.