SHC orders police to register cases of forced disappearances

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered the police to register cases of enforced disappearances of people as it sought a report in this regard from the provincial home department and police chief.

During the proceedings of a case linked to enforced disappearances, Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro ordered the police to lodge cases of people purportedly abducted by state agencies and start an investigation to locate their whereabouts.

He ordered the authorities to take immediate steps for the recovery of disappeared people.

The court also directed the home department and police chief to submit a report on August 25.

Enforced disappearances have long been documented by local and international rights groups in Pakistan, and in 2011, the government formed a commission of inquiry to document and investigate cases of the disappeared, known as “missing persons”.

Since 2011, the commission has received complaints in at least 8,154 cases, of which 2,274 remain unresolved, according to the commission’s report for September 2021.

The military and security agencies under it have repeatedly denied committing abuses, blaming the killings on an array of militant groups active in the resource-rich province that borders both Afghanistan and Iran.

But human rights groups have gathered some evidence from relatives of the disappeared that raises serious questions over the conduct of the security establishment.

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