Pakistan’s opposition fumes over missing peopleMarch 9th, 2012 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, March 9 (IANS) The main opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has demanded the formation of a special parliamentary committee to monitor progress on the issue of the hundreds of missing people in the country.
PML-N has also demanded that the government frame a legislation to regulate the role of security agencies in the issue.
The party has suggested that a special parliamentary committee should monitor the progress made to resolve the missing persons’ issue and recommend additional measures for the purpose within two months, the Dawn News reported.
The suggestion is contained in a resolution submitted by the party to the National Assembly secretariat Thursday.
Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar said during a press conference that the Speaker should set up an eight-member committee with equal representation from the treasury benches and the opposition.
He said the committee would consult families of missing people and victims of terrorism and take briefings from the intelligence agencies concerned before proposing steps in addition to the legislation for resolving the issue.
According to the human rights group Amnesty International, Pakistan’s security agencies, particularly the powerful ISI, often picked up suspects with little or no evidence, and handed them over to US agencies in exchange for bounty, the BBC reported in 2006.
Hundreds of people who have “disappeared” were detained under counter terrorism measures justified by Pakistan as part of the US-led ‘war on terror’, BBC reported.
Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf, in his memoirs, wrote about earning millions of dollars as reward by handing over terrorism suspects to US custody, the Washington Post reported in 2011.
Enforced disappearances, by their nature, are shrouded in secrecy, making it impossible to provide accurate numbers of victims. Pakistani organisations working on behalf of families of those who have disappeared claim there are at least 563 cases.
However, a report released by the UN about cases of enforced disappearances says that only 98 people were missing in Pakistan, the Pakistan Defence website reported Feb 28, 2012.
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