Senator proposes recovered missing persons depose before HR Committee

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ISLAMABAD: Senator Farhatullah Babar today proposed that the recovered missing persons be allowed to depose before Senate Committee in confidence and also replace the six year old Commission on Enforced Disappearances with a new one.

Speaking during the hour of issues of public importance in the Senate today he said that journalist Zeenat Shazadi and rights activist Punhal Sario had been released from captivity last week but they were too scared to talk about their ordeal like all those who have been through it in the

“This is the responsibility of the state to re-assure these hapless people” he said and proposed that the human rights committee invite some of them to record their statements in camera. Further, the committee members should make a declaration on oath that they will not divulge their statements in public, he said.

He said that apart from its cathartic value for the victims, it will also add to the body of information available to the Parliament which may be highly useful in discreetly addressing the increasing incidents of missing persons.

Secondly, he said that while the efforts of the Commission on Enforced Disappearances had resulted in the tracing of a large number of missing persons, it had failed in performing two most important functions. He elaborated that it had failed in fixing responsibility on individuals or organisations for enforced disappearance as well as in registering FIR’s against them.

The Senator proposed that after 6 years, it was time to disband the commission and replace it with a new one comprising experts in investigations; this commission should make public its report as provided in the new amended law on Inquiry Commissions, he said.

He also called for making public the report of the first 2010 Commission under late Justice Mansoor Kamal which worked for only one year.

On the issue of accountability, he said that the Parliament had a unique opportunity to remove the glaring anomalies in the existing NAB law that was misused for political re-engineering. He called for seizing the moment and devise a new legislation for across the board accountability of all. “If this opportunity that has presented itself is lost, the Parliament will have no one to blame but itself”.