A Job Well Done

Albert Schweitzer famously observed, “The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.” Regarding human rights, Pakistan has been plagued by the problem of enforced disappearances for a considerable amount of time. There is, nonetheless, some optimism for a solution to this intricate and protracted issue due to the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances’ recent advancements. Following the Supreme Court’s direction, the panel issued a full report on January 9, 2024. In addition to showcasing the commission’s effectiveness and commitment, the study provides a detailed examination of the various provinces’ disposal rates, the success rates of family reunions, and the complex elements that contribute to situations involving missing individuals.
Pakistan’s approach to the problem of missing individuals is centred on the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, whose remarkable work is summarised in its extensive report. The study highlights the devotion and effectiveness of the commission by thoroughly evaluating 10,078 reported instances and achieving a remarkable overall disposal rate of 77.2%. With disposal rates above 80%, provinces like Sindh, Balochistan, and the Islamabad Capital Territory stand out and demonstrate the commission’s steadfast dedication to expeditious case resolution. The report’s open and honest presentation of facts, disposal rates, and causes for disappearances highlights the commission’s responsibility and dedication to promoting open dialogue.
Deciphering the dynamics of the province demonstrates how effective the commission’s investigation procedures are. An astounding 61.66% of the 3485 instances that were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) have been successfully addressed. Balochistan has resolved 2284 out of 2752 cases, achieving an exceptional 82.99% disposal rate. At 90.87%, Sindh has an impressive case resolution rate—1624 out of 1787 cases are handled. Similarly, the effectiveness of the commission is demonstrated by the fact that 84.76% of the recorded cases (306 out of 361) in the Islamabad Capital Territory have been resolved. The good trend is aided by Punjab, where 84% of the 1625 recorded instances have been settled. These figures demonstrate the beneficial effects of the commission’s efforts in several areas.
The commission’s effective efforts to reunite 4,413 missing people with their families between March 2011 and December 2023 are among its most noteworthy accomplishments. The commission’s efforts to provide closure to families and individuals impacted by enforced disappearances are further highlighted by this significant effect. The research also highlights the grim fact that, throughout this time, 261 missing people were found dead in arguments and confrontations. The commission also terminated 1,477 instances that were labelled as non-enforced disappearances, demonstrating the thorough investigation procedure that separates cases into several categories, such kidnappings for ransom or purposeful disappearances.
In addition to indicating the efficient handling of a significant number of cases, the high disposal rates in all provinces and territories are crucial in maintaining public trust in the commission’s work. This increased self-assurance is crucial for building public-commission trust, which is essential for resolving Pakistan’s pervasive missing person problem. The commission’s ongoing inquiries and decisions serve to further solidify its dedication to revealing the truth in each instance and fostering a society that is more fair and responsible.
Examining the report’s finer points in further detail reveals a thorough comprehension of the elements that contribute to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KPK) high number of missing person instances. A total of 3485 instances are listed by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances; the greater numbers are attributed to people moving abroad without first informing their relatives. This migration trend has its roots in the intricate socio-political environment of KPK, which is made worse by conditions akin to those of war. The province has been dealing with the tragic fallout from drone attacks, the pervasive influence of extremism, and ongoing violence, all of which have added to the startling increase in cases of missing individuals. In order to formulate focused policies aimed at addressing and reducing the fundamental causes of missing people instances in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it is vital that these subtle elements be recognised and understood. Policymakers and stakeholders may create more effective interventions and preventative actions to reduce the frequency of enforced disappearances and foster stability in the region by placing the issue within the larger socio-political environment.
The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances stands out as a ray of light among Pakistan’s difficult missing person situation. The thorough report is a testament to the commission’s diligence, effectiveness, and resolve in handling matters involving several provinces. The research provides valuable insights into the many elements that contribute to cases of missing individuals in Pakistan, and is an important first step in identifying and resolving the underlying causes of this pressing problem. The nation’s progress towards justice, accountability, and a society that prioritises the rights and well-being of every individual is at a turning point, thanks to the commission’s persistent efforts.

Omay Aimen
Omay Aimen
The author frequently contributes on issues concerning national and regional security, focusing on matters having critical impact in these milieus. She can be reached [email protected]


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