Activists urge govt to criminalise enforced disappearances | Pakistan Today

Activists urge govt to criminalise enforced disappearances

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Secretary General and former senator Farhatullah Babar on Friday called upon the government to fulfill its promise for bringing in legislation to criminalise enforced disappearances and to end torture.

He said this while addressing a protest demonstration held by the families of victims of enforced disappearances.

He said that instead of criminalising enforced disappearances the government had appealed a recent judgment of the Islamabad High Court which gave some limited relief to the victims and their families.

Farhatullah Babar said that human rights were universal and not confined to national boundaries and demanded that the voice of victim families be heeded before they appealed to the international community.

He said that there were very stern laws in the penal code and if someone had done wrong, then he should be prosecuted.

Keeping people in confinement for years without a trace, without trial and without even informing families could not be allowed in a democratic society governed by rule of law, the ex-senator underscored.

Enforced disappearances are the worst form of torture, despotism, and negation of the rule of law that must not be allowed, he said,  while urging the government to sign the international convention against enforced disappearances.

Farhatullah Babar said that internment centers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and erstwhile tribal areas had become “Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prisons” of Pakistan and called for converting them into normal jails to be governed by jail manuals.

Curbs on freedom of expression had further aggravated the issue in internment centres, he said, deploring even lawmakers were not allowed to visit these centres.

Senator Afrasiab Khattak and MNA Mohsin Dawar also addressed the protest demonstration