The International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances is observed on 30th August every year. On this day, the enemies inside and outside Pakistan make a lot of hue and cry just to malign Pakistan Internationally by running disinformation campaigns mainly on the false claims of enforced disappearances in Balochistan. There is a dire need for an informed debate on the issue to set the record straight. Inimical elements of India in collaboration with certain Pakistani liberals and Sub nationalist undertake propaganda against Pakistan regarding Missing Persons. The propaganda against the Armed Forces on the issue of Missing persons is in clear diversion from the ground realities. It doesn’t take into account the efforts of the Armed Forces to curb the menace of terrorism that helped in establishing a peaceful environment in the country.
The myth of enforced disappearances has been busted by the facts that most of the ‘so-called missing persons’ have either gone into hiding to provide fodder to anti-Pakistan propaganda with respect to enforced disappearances or have left their homes to join terrorist organizations including Afghanistan-based TTP, Al-Qaeda, ISIS / ISKP and Fatemiyon / Zainabiyon brigades in Syria as foreign terrorist fighters.
The issue of enforced disappearances has been used by the enemies of Pakistan as a tool of Hybrid Warfare. It is projected internationally to embarrass Pakistan and project a negative image of Armed Forces. There were many occasions when the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks were found to be present on the list of missing persons. The tribal feuds in Balochistan make people go hiding and such instances are used to spread the propaganda of enforced disappearances.
Therefore, the misperceptions created with respect to the so-called missing persons are not grounded in legality and reality. Article 9 and 10 of the constitution of Pakistan guarantee ‘no person can be deprived of his liberty or freedom without due process of law’. Why would any state institution like to keep someone in illegal custody when law under Maintenance of Public Order permits to put anyone indulging in disturbing the public order behind the bars for 90 days? In order to sustain efforts to address the issue of Missing Persons, Government of Pakistan formalized “Commission of inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (CoIoED) on direction of Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The Inquiry commission releases updates on all the cases related to enforced disappearances every month. On 8th November 2021, a new section of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill was passed in National Assembly to criminalize enforced disappearances in Pakistan as it was a long-standing demand of human rights bodies. The government of Pakistan as well as the security agencies are responsible for the well being and safety of people and any effort for the cause is strategized after a long process of analysis. The foreign powers working against Pakistan would continue to peddle propaganda with false information just to malign the country and construct a discord between institution and people.