Skip to main content

Missing persons and international pressure

https://dailytimes.com.pk/217942/missing-persons-and-international-pressure/

Daily Times

MARCH 22, 2018

International pressure is building on Pakistan on the missing persons’ front. Amnesty International (AI) has said this week that the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has more than 700 pending cases from this country; with hundreds more being received by Pakistan’s State Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances. This comes in the wake of last November’s UNHRC Universal Periodic Review on human rights here. Back then, AI had highlighted cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, particularly in Karachi and throughout Balochistan.

All of which represent violations of Pakistan’s international commitments on human rights. And as AI notes: no one has ever been held accountable for those who have disappeared. From, more recently, activists such as Raza Khan to journalist Saleem Shahzad who had reported on Al Qaeda infiltrating the Navy back in 2011 before he disappeared. His dead body was found four days later, bearing marks of torture. This is to say nothing of the thousands and thousands of nameless Pashtuns who have gone missing over the decades; being little more than footnotes in someone else’s history. Presently, the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) has compiled a list of 1,200 missing persons after speaking to victims’ families.

By failing to act, the Pakistani state is effectively shooting itself in the foot. For enforced disappearances fall into the dangerous ambit of crimes against humanity, if committed on a widespread scale. And the worst part is that the government is not in the dark about things. After all, Ahsan Iqbal, the man at the Interior briefed the National Assembly last month on the fact that 1,640 persons remain unaccounted for in Pakistan as of February 2018.

If the Centre is unwilling or unable to act, short of admitting it time to pack up shop on the grounds of failing to establish its writ, it should at the very least relay the following message to those who can: unless this issue is at least partially resolved — which must mean bringing to book all those involved, regardless of whether they represent certain state organs or not — Pakistan’s diplomatic and trade relations remain at risk. This point was underscored by Anne Marchal, EU minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan earlier this week when she noted that the bloc does not tolerate human rights violations.

Thus if the Pakistani state continues to peddle notions of some lives being worth more than others — it is hoped that the threat of having its largest trading partner take action against it may give way to the required impetus to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; something that AI recommends. Then there is the matter of reviewing counter-terrorism laws that allow arrest without judicial remand and prolonged pre-trial detention; which are routinely used to allow human rights abuses in areas like FATA and Balochistan.

To not act is to admit that the democracy project is fast failing.  *

Published in Daily Times, March 22nd2018



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Balochistan to establish first medical university

https://www.dawn.com/news/1366135

The Newspaper's Staff CorrespondentOctober 25, 2017QUETTA: The provincial cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft for establishing a medical university in Balochistan.Health minister Mir Rehmat Saleh Baloch made the announcement while speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting.“The cabinet has approved the draft of the medical university which would be presented in the current session of the Balochistan Assembly,” he said, adding with the assembly’s approval the Bolan Medical College would be converted into a medical university.Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2017

China’s 'Digital Silk Road': Pitfalls Among High Hopes

https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/chinas-digital-silk-road-pitfalls-among-high-hopes/


Will information and communication technologies help China realize its Digital Silk Road?By Wenyuan WuNovember 03, 2017In his speech at the opening ceremony of China’s 19th Party Congress, President Xi Jinping depicted China as a model of scientific and harmonious development for developing nations. Xi’s China wants to engage the world through commerce but also through environmental protection and technological advancement. This includes Beijing’s efforts to fight climate change with information and communication technologies (ICTs) that it plans to export along its “One Belt One Road” initiative (OBOR). Xi may have ambitious plans, but could China be throwing up obstacles in its own way?In his speech, the Chinese president emphasized the need to modernize the country’s environmental protections. The Chinese state is taking an “ecological civilization” approach to development and diplomacy, with a natio…

Germany’s Siemens sets up Belt and Road office in Beijing

https://gbtimes.com/germanys-siemens-sets-up-belt-and-road-office-in-beijing
Germany’s Siemens sets up Belt and Road office in Beijingby Janne Suokas Mar 23, 2018 15:20 TRADEINVESTMENTBELT AND ROAD INITIATIVEGerman industrial and engineering group Siemens will set up a Belt and Road office in Beijing. surberFlickrCC BY 2.0
German industrial and engineering group Siemens will set up an office in Beijing to boost international cooperation under China’s Belt and Road initiative, the company said on Friday.The move will help strengthen Siemens’ cooperation with Chinese and international companies and expand business opportunities brought about by the Belt and Road initiative, according to the company’s statement.The Belt and Road initiative is China’s ambitious project to boost trade and infrastructure investment in more than 65 countries along the ancient Silk Road trade routes from Asia to Europe and Africa.Siemens said it had already partnered with hundreds of Chinese companies in overse…