October 2nd, 2020
A state-appointed commission on enforced disappearances has claimed that according to 53 persons reported missing had returned to their homes in September saying 34 new cases were reported to the body in the period.
In a statement on Monday, October 1, the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COIED) said the commission had resolved 76 cases of enforced disappearances in September, adding that out of 76 cases, 53 persons reported missing had returned to their homes. The COIED said nine persons were found to be detained in internment centers and jails while three persons reported traced as dead. According to the COIED statement, 11 cases of missing persons were deleted after a thorough investigation as these were found not to be of enforced disappearances. The commission received 34 new cases during September, it added.
The COIED said the commission could not hold proper hearings due to restrictions placed after the COVID pandemic. However, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, the COIED Chairman, directed the commission officials to chalk out a well-thought program of hearings at all provincial headquarters as well as the head office in September. Accordingly, the Commission arranged hearings at Peshawar, Quetta, and Lahore in addition to usual hearings at Islamabad, the COEID statement said.
Giving a break-out of the cases disposed of in the month of September, the COIED said Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, Chairman of the Commission, himself visited Lahore and 16 cases pertaining to Punjab were disposed of in the month. Justice (retired) Fazal-ur-Rahman, Senior Member, visited Quetta for the hearings and disposed of 25 cases pertaining to Balochistan, the statement added.
Similarly, Mr. Muhammad Sharif Virk, Member of the Commission, presided over hearings at Peshawar pertaining to the cases of district Peshawar and disposed of 15 cases during the hearings. The remaining 20 cases were disposed of in hearings, simultaneously, conducted at the commission’s head office at Islamabad. After hearings at sub-office in Karachi, Justice (retd) Ghous Muhammad, Member, disposed of seven cases pertaining to Sindh during the month.
According to statistics released by the COIED, the commission had about 6,752 cases under investigation on August 31, 2020. Another 34 new cases were received during September 2020, thereby making the total number of cases as 6,786. The Commission had disposed of 4,642 cases up to August 31, 2020, and 76 more cases were disposed of during September 2020 making the total disposal of 4,718 cases. Remaining cases as on September 30, 2020, thus worked out to be 2,068, the COIED said.
The families of the missing persons whose loved ones have surfaced expressed their gratitude to Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, chairman COIED, for his untiring efforts towards the noble cause, the statement concluded.