Says those challenging state’s security narrative risk disappearance, but ones purveying hate speech go free
ISLAMABAD: Former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf’s admission in his memoirs that he handed over hundreds of alleged militants to the US after 9/11 widened space for agencies involved in enforced disappearances, and the narrative that state itself is involved in the mysterious disappearances.
Addressing the civil society demonstration in front of National Press Club in Islamabad Thursday evening, Senator Farhatullah Babar said that investigations into Musharraf’s confession could help understand the mysterious disappearances.
The fact that all state institutions—including the Supreme Court, parliament and central, as well as provincial, governments—had failed was a proof that those involved were not only more powerful than the state, but were also invisible.
He said that those challenging state’s security narrative risked disappearance without a trace, while those purveying hate speech were allowed to go free.
Raza of Lahore was advocating peace in the region, especially with India, and nothing else, he said, adding that peace with India is not the current state’s security narrative. “Is it a mere coincidence that Raza mysteriously disappeared after pedalling an alternative security narrative,” he asked.
He said that Action in Aid of Civil Power regulation was promulgated in 2011 to enable state agencies to bring into the open without fear of prosecution those held in custody without trial. Those in custody were supposed to be kept in internment centres and tried for crimes in open courts, he said.
However, he added, these internment centres have turned into Abu Ghraib-like prisons, and there was no information regarding how many held for how long, whether tried or not and how many died during captivity. He demanded a thorough performance evaluation audit of these centres.
He called for criminalising enforced disappearances, signing the international convention on enforced disappearances, implementation of recommendations of the UN Working Group that visited Pakistan in 2012, and adoption of legislation for state agencies proposed by the Senate.