Amnesty asks Pakistan to solve 'disappeared' cases

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan's latest report, more than 400 missing persons' reports have been filed with the Supreme Court, while many more have gone unreported as a result of intimidation.

Amnesty asks Pakistan to solve 'disappeared' cases
Rights group Amnesty International asked Pakistan's new government on Wednesday to resolve hundreds of cases of people who disappeared after being picked up by security agencies' counter-terrorism operations.

The United States has counted on President Pervez Musharraf's support in a global war on terrorism, but the former army chief has taken a backseat to a new civilian government formed in March following the defeat of pro-Musharraf parties a month earlier.

"As a first immediate measure, the new government should ease the suffering of the relatives of the 'disappeared' by either releasing the detainees or transferring them to official places of detention," said Sam Zarifi, the organisation's Asia-Pacific director.

The government should disclose details of missing people and hold to account those responsible, including security and intelligence officials, the London-based group said in a statement.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan's latest report, more than 400 missing persons' reports have been filed with the Supreme Court, while many more have gone unreported as a result of intimidation.

Zarifi also called for reinstatement of judges fired by Musharraf after he imposed emergency rule in Pakistan lasting six weeks from Nov. 3.

Among those dismissed was Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who Musharraf first sought to remove in March 2007 when he was hearing a case brought by relatives of missing people.

The group said other governments, especially the United States, should ensure that they were not "complicit in, contributing to or tolerating" the practice of enforced disappearances.

The call came just ahead of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's first visit to the United States. Gilani is due to meet President George W. Bush on July 28.

Reuters
Last Mod: 24 Temmuz 2008, 08:55
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