Missing persons

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

The more things change, the more they stay the same. With the departure of the so-called hybrid regime, we see some more of the hybrid nature in the current dispensation in areas that matter the most.

On the issue of missing persons in the restive province of Balochistan, the federal minister for human rights said that some of them had been engaged by Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadhav. He said that there have been a number of poor people who had chosen to be a part of the operations of foreign-backed and home-grown miscreants on account of the money that they were offered. If that, indeed, were the case, where is the due process that has been followed by the said agencies? Has anything by way of investigation been performed? And even if so, why have people been kept under unlawful incarceration and not been detained at prison facilities?

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His views echo those of the nation’s security and intelligence agencies. Not surprisingly, he said that instead of a commission, the missing persons issue should be investigated by these aforementioned agencies. If the issue weren’t so serious, the statement is enough to elicit a chuckle. The very agencies accused of enforced disappearances are proposed for investigating the disappearances.

In order to curry favour with the civil society, or perhaps out of a temporary genuine empathy, PML(N) vice president and heir apparent Maryam Nawaz attended a missing persons’ camp protest in Islamabad. Ms Nawaz, who otherwise dispenses with the need for optics and propriety when instructing the finance minister to “please look into” import restrictions on pet food quite publicly on Twitter. But she is conspicuous by her silence on the issue now.

These are real individuals and their families whose lives have been disrupted. They are citizens of the Republic. They deserve better.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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