Published On: Mon, Feb 12th, 2018

The unlawful practice must end

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Cases of enforced disappearances must end as this practice is against the norms of law. Every few days cases of enforced disappearances are reported in the press or brought before the courts. In most of these cases it is found that the missing person(s) had been detained by one or the other security agency. Typically, there is either a midnight knock by plainclothesmen of some agency who take away the person, or one is picked up by police or paramilitary force from the road and taken to some unknown place without informing ones family.

The persons detained are seldom produced before any court as required under the law. Some lucky ones quietly return after being let off; others are traced days or weeks later to be in the custody of some agency. In the worst of the cases the person disappears without trace or his dead body is found at some abandoned place.

In spite of regular protests by the affected families and HR bodies, these cases continue to recur, much to the annoyance of the affected families and HR bodies. Every week such cases are reported in the press or the affected families are seen protesting at the Press Club.

A large number of such cases have been reported from Balochistan. But lately, quite a few cases of such disappearances have been reported from Karachi too. This is not to say that the persons thus picked up are always innocent. The agencies must be having some evidence about them leading to suspicion and their arrest for interrogation.

Needless to say, the situation that the country has been facing calls for  close cooperation between the people and the security agencies; while such cases of enforced disappearance only serve to alienate them from the later.

The police and the security agencies would be well advised to abide by the legal procedures in all such cases. Whenever they pick up or detain any citizen on any suspicion, they should inform their families and as per law produce the detainees before the court for remand. The agencies would thereby uphold the law and save the affected families from the severe anxiety and hardship that they undergo at present.

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