- MPC chairman admits 4,000 Pakistanis extradited to foreign countries deliberately
- Justice (r) Javed Iqbal promises to meet Manzoor Pashteen to inquire about Pashtun missing persons
ISLAMABAD: Former president and military ruler General (r) Pervez Musharraf secretly extradited as many as 4,000 Pakistanis to foreign countries, mainly to the United States (US), the chairman of Missing Persons Commission (MPC) claimed before National Assembly on Monday.
In his briefing to the Standing Committee on Human Rights, Justice (r) Javed Iqbal asserted that as many as 4,000 Pakistanis were handed over to foreign countries, mainly the US.
The head of the commission on missing persons — who is also the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman — said that the former interior minister Aftab Ahmad Sherpao was also part of the “secret handover”.
Iqbal blamed the Musharraf regime, stressing that it did so for money. “Most of the extradited persons sent to the US in exchange for dollars,” he told the lower house of Parliament.
He added that there was no provision in the country’s law for such extraditions. He asked, “As per the law and the Constitution, how could someone secretly hand over the Pakistani nationals to any other country?”
“No one including the Parliament ever questioned the role of Musharraf and Sherpao in it,” he regretted.
The NAB chief pointed out that certain foreign agencies were involved in enforced disappearances and gave a bad name to Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI).
IQBAL PROMISES TO MEET PASHTEEN:
Justice (r) Iqbal promised to meet Manzoor Pashteen, the leader of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement’s (PTM), assuring to address the issue of missing persons in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
He said, “Pashteen has suddenly emerged on the scene even though the matter of missing persons has been there for years. [But] I will get in touch with Pashteen and look into his list of missing persons.”
When Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party lawmaker Naseema Hafeez said the mainstream media had ignored Pashteen and PTM protests, he responded, “Our media does not give much coverage to the issue of missing persons. Pashteen has [at least] received a lot of coverage in the international press and social media.”
In 70 per cent of the cases, Iqbal claimed, the missing persons were found to be involved in militancy. If a person is involved in militancy it does not mean that his family too should be considered militants, he said further, complaining that many formerly missing persons had chosen not to inform the commission about their ordeals due to fear.
‘FIGURES OF BALOCH MISSING PERSONS EXAGGERATED’
The NAB chairman said that the figures of missing persons in Balochistan were often exaggerated. “The numbers mentioned in Balochistan are contrary to the facts,” he said, adding, “A lot of these people have either left those areas or they are living in the mountains.”
He said he had asked the Balochistan authorities to provide official figures about the missing persons but they did not respond to his request. “Several groups are operating in the province and many missing persons joined those outfits,” he argued.
Justice (r) Iqbal said if he had any authority he would have never allowed such foreign organisations to operate in Pakistan in the first place, defending the ban on international NGOs.
“Most of the international NGOs work with the enemy’s agencies under the garb of welfare scheme,” he claimed while supporting his stance by citing the example of Dr Shakil Afridi.
MISSING PERSONS’ REPORT
Iqbal also presented a report on missing persons before Zahra Wadood Fatemi-led committee. He said that a complaint was lodged with respect to 4,929 missing persons from 2011 to 2018. “The MPC disposed of 3,219 cases and investigations are underway regarding 1,710 missing persons,” he claimed.
Kishwer Zehra, MNA from Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, said that 132 persons from her party were missing and their family members remained unaware whether these people were dead or alive.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has criticised the country’s human rights record over the past year in a new report released on Monday, saying the nation has failed to make progress on a myriad of issues, ranging from forced disappearances to women’s rights and protection of religious minorities.