[Marxism] These mysterious ‘disappearances’

Ghulam Mustafa Lakho gmlakho.advocate at gmail.com
Sat Aug 5 12:24:43 MDT 2006


*These mysterious 'disappearances'*

[Editorial of Daily Dawn]

CITIZENS of the republic continue to vanish without a trace. This national
disgrace was highlighted in the Senate on Thursday when the government came
in for sharp criticism over the mysterious 'disappearance' of Baloch
politicians and activists. The opposition's concern on this score is
understandable given the number of people who have gone missing in
Balochistan in the course of the ongoing military operation. The malaise,
however, is neither confined to one province nor recent in its origins. It
is estimated that due legal process was not followed in the 'arrests' of
some 800 people allegedly picked up by intelligence or law enforcement
agencies between 2001 and 2005. Many such 'ghost' prisoners remain
untraceable to this day. Dr Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT graduate who was
apparently wanted for questioning by the US, has been missing for three
years. Attiqur Rehman, a nuclear scientist associated with the Pakistan
Atomic Energy Commission, has not been seen since he disappeared on his
wedding day two years ago. His father claims that he was picked up from his
home in Abbottabad by operatives of "secret agencies". The case of missing
journalist Hayatullah Khan came to a tragic end when his body was found six
months after his abduction in North Waziristan. Recent months have seen the
disappearance of Dr Safdar Sarki of Jeay Sindh and Sindh Nationalist Forum
president Asif Baladi. When pressed for answers, the police and intelligence
agencies consistently deny any knowledge of these disappearances. It is
clear, however, that officials have been hiding the truth in all such cases.
For instance, journalist Mukesh Rupeta and cameraman Sanjay Kumar were
produced in court three months after their disappearance in Jacobabad.
Throughout their detention, the official line was that their whereabouts
were unknown.

This brazen trampling of the fundamental rights of citizens flies in the
face of the government's claims that it is committed to human rights and due
process of law. Irrespective of the crime — real or perceived, serious or
minor — innocence or guilt can be established only through a legal process
involving formal arrest, framing of charges, production in a court of law,
access to defence lawyers and, finally, adjudication. In many cases, these
norms and principles are respected more in breach than in observance.

Daily Dawn, Karachi, August 5, 2006


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