Foreign spy agencies behind ‘enforced disappearances’ not ISI, MI: NAB chief
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Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal says 70% of missing persons are found to be 'pro-military'. PHOTO: FILE
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal said on Monday that foreign agencies illegally apprehend people and pin the blame on Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI). Briefing a meeting of National Assembly’s Standing Committee for Human Rights, headed by Zahra Daud Fatima, Iqbal, who is also the head of a committee formed to probe missing persons, said that 70 per cent of the missing persons are found to be ‘pro-military’, Express News reported. He said that often the kidnapped refrain from sharing details of the incident out of fear. A terrorist’s family should not be labelled a terrorist, he argued, adding that “with the state rests the responsibility of the family of the missing persons.”
The NAB chief said that statistics shared for the missing persons in Balochistan are contradictory to reality. “There have been several militant groups present in the province and many ‘missing persons’ have gone along with them,” he said. Former CM Balochistan Aslam Raisani and Nasrullah Baloch had been tasked to provide with the list but to no avail, the NAB chief complained.
He said the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) itself has no interest in their missing persons. Despite being in the government, and Ishrat-ul-Ibad’s appointment as the Sindh governor, the party lacked the sincerity, seriousness and interest of recovering their own missing workers, he added. MQM-P workers have been missing for the last 20 years, but former governor Ibad distributed a plot and a job to the family of a missing worker and closed the case, the NAB chief lamented. According to the NAB chairman, there are 14 cases of missing persons belonging to the party in the commission, at present and the number of missing workers is crossing a dangerous number. The UN working group has also expressed serious concerns regarding the issue. The commission has 29 cases of MQM’s missing workers under review, from 1992 to 1995.
The former justice also said that the commission has received 4,929 cases of ‘enforced disappearances’. The commission solved 3,219 cases from March 2011 to February 2018, he added. Presently, 1,710 cases of the missing persons are under investigation. In the past two years, the commission also received 368 cases from the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, most of which belonged to Sindh, Iqbal added. “68 persons who had gone missing in August 2016, who were either imprisoned or had returned homes were followed,” he said. Justice (retd) Iqbal further added that out of 368 missing person cases, 309 had been solved. 723 cases of the missing persons cases were registered against Pakistan in a UN working group meeting held in May 2017 in Geneva, out of which 505 have been solved. However, 218 cases are pending with the Commission, out of which 14 cases are of the Afghans who went missing in Pakistan from 1982-1986, he added.
Musharraf handed over 4,000 Pakistanis to foreign countries
Chief of the country’s anti-graft body also said that in the Musharraf-era, interior minister Aftab Sherpao handed over 4,000 Pakistanis to foreign countries. Musharraf even admitted to ‘handing over’ Pakistanis, yet there was no voice raised against his and Sherpao’s action in parliament, said the NAB chief and further added that their actions should have been investigated, both should’ve been interrogated and asked under which law these citizens were handed over. “How were Pakistani citizens handed over to foreign countries despite having parliament, constitution and courts in the country,” he questioned. Iqbal also said that there was no contract between Pakistan and other countries regarding extradition of Pakistani citizens, hence they were secretly handed over to them in exchange for US dollars. Yet, no one will ask them how many dollars per person, he added.
Iqbal said that he was in favour of banning foreign Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), as they work in the interests of the other countries, and are funded by them. He said that if it were up to him, he would’ve banned all foreign NGO’s by now, but ‘political reconciliation always gets in the way’.