International Day of Enforced Disappearances

Written by : Hooran Baloch

August 30 is declared by the United Nations as World Disappearance Day. Victims of enforced disappearances who are forcibly disappeared by state officials. The families of the missing persons and those who are being rehabilitated do not know anything about the whereabouts of their loved ones and the institutions do not provide any information about them.

Under Article 10 of the Constitution of Pakistan, any citizen has the right to appoint a lawyer for himself using his right of defense. But they have no idea where they are and their families have not been provided with any information for years and have not been brought before any court.

Being a member of United Nations, Pakistan has to abide by the charter and Laws of United Nations especially human rights laws. Similarly, Pakistan has its own constitution but no one cares about humans. Perhaps, according to ex-president of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf “The constitution is a piece of paper that has no status” and this is the reason that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies do not recognize the constitution of Pakistan. It is very difficult to estimate the pain and suffering of a person who has been forcibly disappeared. At the same time, the whole family is also in great pain. Their basic human rights are also taken away due to enforced disappearances and the whole family is subjected to collective punishment.

Enforced disappearance is unconstitutional, illegal and inhumane. Thousands of Baloch have gone missing in Balochistan and are being held in state jails. Every second or third person is forcibly disappeared. Similarly, hundreds of Sindhis have been forcibly disappeared in Sindh. Immigrants, Urdu-speaking, Shia community etc have gone missing in Karachi. Hundreds of Pashtuns have also gone missing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In Balochistan, it is considered obligatory to compensate the Baloch.

In the list of enforced disappearances, baloch names includes words like target killing, mutilated bodies, fake encounters. This series of Baloch genocide has been going on in Balochistan since 1947. The tragedy is that the families of the victims of enforced disappearances are also threatened that if they raise their voices for their loved ones, they will receive the mutilated bodies of their loved ones and may face serious consequences. They should not raise their voice for their loved ones or file any FIR. Just remain silent and keep it a secret from the people. Even an FIR cannot be launched because no one dares to file an FIR against state institutions. While the family members think that if they remain silent, their loved ones will be rescued and no harm will be done, but it is wrong.

The state now kills Baloch victims of enforced disappearances every month in fake encounters. Four times in two months, the CTD has killed several Baloch in fake encounters. These are the people who were in the custody of state institutions. We, the Baloch, have a constitutional and legal right to stand up and speak out against the CTD, including the state intelligence agencies. Therefore, I urge all human rights organizations and social activists to show solidarity with the families of the missing and all Baloch, Pashtuns, Sindhis are requested not to remain silent for the lives of their loved ones, this is your constitutional right. Get out there and raise your voice.