28 September 2022
LAHORE: All of the stakeholders including the judiciary, the relatives of the missing persons as well as the government have to sit together to find a solution to enforced disappearances, the Federal Minister of Interior Rana Sanaullah has said, specifying that judicial proceedings could not alone provide a solution to the problem.
Explaining the modus operandi of these talks, Sana has said that the talks must be in-camera in which both sides – the government and the families of missing persons – must admit to ‘their mistakes’ and evolve a strategy to move forward. He said that the only way to move forward would be by forgiving each other’s mistakes.
Rana Sanaullah spoke about the issue on Aaj TV’s talk show Spotlight with Munizae Jahangir.
“If a missing person has committed a crime, then there is also a punishment for him,” he said. “However, if a person has been missing for five years, has his sentence not been completed?”
The Interior Minister said that no one was telling the complete truth regarding this issue, while he has admitted that a few state officials, who were tasked with eliminating terrorism also misused their authority.
“A few innocent people were also apprehended along with the terrorists during the anti-terrorism operations,” he said in the interview.
Commenting about the judicial proceedings on enforced disappearances, Sana added that the matter could not be resolved through judicial proceedings only.
“During my last appearance before the Islamabad High Court on this issue, I wanted to tell this to the Cheif Justice IHC Athar Minallah that the matter cannot be resolved the way you are trying for it to be, or just through the efforts of a few human rights organisations,” he said.
Answering Munizae Jahangir regarding the Peshawar High Court’s statement that there was no evidence against the 900 persons languishing in internment centres, Sana retorted, “From where should we bring the evidence? Who will give the evidence?”
He went on to say that if the anti-terrorism judges were getting threatening phone calls, how could they give verdicts against terrorists?
Earlier, Amina Masood Janjua, a human rights defender and campaigner against enforced disappearances had already suggested forming a ‘truth and reconciliation commission’ to resolve the issue.
She had also said that the relatives were ready to give amnesty to those who were responsible for picking up their loved ones.