Kulbhushan Jadhav engaged with some missing persons: Pak Minister

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Human rights Riaz Pirzada said that some of the missing persons in country were engaged with former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav or by neighbouring nations to spread unrest.

Jadhav is an Indian national detained by Pakistan since 2016 after he was kidnapped from Iran. Islamabad has alleged that he is an Indian spy and was involved in subversive activities in Pakistan.

“Some of these missing persons have been killed in terrorist activities, who were engaged by Kulbushan Jadhav or neighbouring countries,” Pirzada said.

“The Indian spy Kulbushan had exploited the poor people and used them to spread terror in the country.”

The Minister’s remarks come at a time when the issue of missing persons has been raised in the Pakistani courts and authorities are being asked to present the in-custody persons, who have been picked up for their alleged or suspicion of allegiance or being party to anti-state activities.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has questioned the very existence of Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, calling it a liability and an entity, which has failed to justify is position.

For years, families of the missing persons are demanding to know the whereabouts of their loved ones and also calling for their return.

However, Pirzada revealed that many of the missing persons, who he said had been lured into working with anti-state forces through the temptation of money and monetary support, have either been killed or taken asylum in neighbouring countries, including Afghanistan, India and Iran.

Defending the security forces for their actions against the missing persons and taking into custody people on suspicion of alleged involvement in anti-state activities, Pirzada said the security forces do needful actions despite uproar over the issue.

“The security forces swung into action after terrorist incidents in Quetta, Balochistan. There has been criticism when the state forces take actions. People start protesting and missing persons issue gets surfaced,” he said.

The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances was established in 2011 to trace the missing persons and fix responsibility on the individuals or organizations responsible for it.

However, only one third of the missing persons have returned home since 2011.

Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minalllah highlighted in the missing persons case that “when there is sufficient evidence to conclude that it is, prima facie, a case of enforced disappearance, then it becomes an obligation of the State and all its organs to trace the disappeared citizen.

“This obligation of the State will remain effective and perpetual till the victim has been traced or credible information gathered through effective investigation regarding his/her fate.”

Families of the missing persons demand a fair trial to their loved ones, who they say have been kidnapped without any charges against them by the security forces and have been gone since long.

“We have been demanding that those people should be brought to the court and be put through a fair trial. If they are guilty, then punish them. And if they are not, then let them go,” said Amina Masood Janjua, Chairperson, Defense of Human Rights.

“They picked up my husband and he never came back. They pick up people and then their families are not even told of their whereabouts. So many poor families are waiting for their sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and fathers for years,” she added.

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