March 19th, 2021
By Rehan Piracha
Prime Minister Imran Khan has told a delegation of families of missing persons that his government and the military are on the same page over resolving the issue of enforced disappearances in the country, according to a representative of the missing persons.
Nasarullah Baloch, the chairperson of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, told Voicepk.net that he and two other representatives of the families of missing persons met the PM in Islamabad on March 18. The delegation met the PM along with Shireen Mazari, Federal Minister for Human Rights, and Zubaida Jalal, Federal Minister for Defence Production. The families had held a sit-in at D-Chowk in Islamabad to press for the recovery of their loved ones. The families had ended their protest after assurances that the PM would meet the families of the 13 missing persons.
Baloch said the families had inquired about the whereabouts of the 13 missing persons from the PM.
“The PM was handed a report about the 13 missing persons but he rejected the report, expressing dissatisfaction,” said Baloch.
However, he told the families that he would soon call the Chief of Army Staff and the intelligence chief for a meeting over the issue of enforced disappearances, Baloch said.
“He told us that he would have detailed discussion with the military leadership so that a permanent resolution to the issue of enforced disappearances is achieved,” Baloch added.
The PM said the government and the military were on the same page on the enforced disappearances. He said his government was approaching enforced disappearances in a serious manner. He is trying for the recovery of all the missing persons, he told us, said Baloch.
When asked about the progress on the proposed legislation on enforced disappearances, the prime minister directed his secretary and Shireen Mazari to inform about bottlenecks in the way of the proposed bill on enforced legislation so that he could help in their removal.
Baloch said that PM Imran Khan had directed his secretary and the federal minister to regularly update him about the progress in locating the missing persons of the families. The federal minister was also directed to share details of any development with families of missing persons. Lastly, the PM assured representatives of families of the missing persons that they would soon hear good news about their loved ones.
The delegation expressed the hope that state institutions would cooperate with the PM in the recovery of the missing persons as well as resolve the issue of enforced disappearances according to the law.
In a statement, Minister of MoHR, Dr. Shireen Mazari shared the details of the meeting on her official Twitter handle. She said that PM Imran has tasked the principal secretary to quickly ascertain the exact status of the missing family members and committed to updating them on the progress.
Mazari said that the premier reiterated to fast track the legislation to criminalize enforced disappearance along with whatever other laws need to be amended. She also said that the prime minister also asked to be kept informed about the progress on finding the whereabouts of the missing family members.