June 24th, 2021
By Hamid Riaz & Ahmed Saeed
On June 23, a delegation of the Human Rights Commission (HRCP) of Pakistan held a press conference at the Lahore Press Club.
During the conference, senior members of the committee presented their yearly analysis report regarding the Human Rights situation in the whole country with a special focus on the province of Punjab.
On this occasion, Hina Jilani the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan remarked that even though enforced disappearance was a national menace the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) recorded the highest numbers of missing persons during the year 2020.
“There was a time when the phenomenon of enforced disappearances was limited to Balochistan alone but now we have seen an acceleration of this phenomenon in other parts of the country as well. Even though KP saw the most cases of missing persons in 2020 the pace at which these abductions are increasing in Punjab and Sindh is worrisome as well,” says Hina Jillani.
Hina Jillani strongly criticized the government’s decision to give a three-year extension to the Commission of Inquiry on enforced disappearance, Javaid Iqbal, particularly in the light of the fact that the commission had virtually failed to get the crisis of enforced disappearances under control and had been unable to hold anyone accountable for these crimes.
In response to a question by Voicepk.net, Hina Jillani stated that the government’s move to bring about a law to control the menace of enforced disappearances is futile. She maintained that a true resolution to the crisis could only be achieved by bringing the agencies (who allegedly perpetrate these crimes) under oversight on par with international practices.
“There needs to be institutional accountability. Across the world intelligence agencies are accountable to elected bodies and the rule of law why can’t this be implemented in Pakistan. If a missing person returns no one is held accountable, they are not allowed to say who abducted them, even the supreme court called the people who carry out these abductions ‘unknown’, I say to them if these people are unknown then make them known it is your responsibility,” continues Hina Jillani.
Hina Jillani expressed that the HRCP is deeply concerned about the nationwide wave of attacks against journalists referring to the recent attacks against Absar Alam, Asad Ali Toor. She also condemned the creation of an environment whereby journalists are being choked financially. The chairperson announced that the commission stands in complete solidarity with the journalist community during this difficult period.
After the press conference, the chairperson took out the time to talk to voicepk.net regarding the controversy surrounding the death of senator (late) Usman Kakar and demanded a transparent inquiry into the matter.
“The circumstances surrounding senator (late) Usman Kakar’s death are extremely worrisome. Any moral state but pay heed to these allegations. If Usman Kakar’s family has suspicions then the state must step up and try to address these apprehensions,” explains Hina Jillani.
Raja Ashraf, Vice President of the HRCP said that the situation of Human Rights in Pakistan has been under constant decline since 1947 and the year 2020 was no different. Ashraf expressed serious discontent over the launch of online education during the pandemic without proper facilities and termed it a gross violation of the right to education of students from tribal areas.
The HRCP delegation pointed out that the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown put in place to control it has further damaged the financial conditions of the weakest segment of the society and demanded that the government take immediate police measures to provide relief to this segment of the population.