Resolution says Pak failed to stop perpetrators; most victims are Baloch, Pashtun, or Sindhi.


New Delhi: A resolution introduced in the US Congress last month has urged the Pakistan government to end enforced disappearances, especially those taking place in the Balochistan region targeting people belonging to Baloch, Pashtun and Sindhi ethnicities.

The resolution titled, “Calling for an end to enforced disappearances in Asia and around the world, and calling upon the United States to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance”, was introduced on 19 November in the House of Representatives by Democrat Bradley James Sherman, who represents California’s 30th congressional district.

The resolution, which also mentions China, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, states that “the majority of the victims of enforced disappearances in Pakistan are Baloch, Pashtun, or Sindhi” and that “the Government of Pakistan has not adequately investigated and held perpetrators of enforced disappearances responsible”.

Sherman, in the resolution, while quoting the observations of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance, has described the practice of enforced disappearances in Pakistan as a “culture of entrenched impunity”.

The resolution mentions that the present status of over 2,000 victims of enforced disappearances of citizens (Sindhis) of Sindh Province, Pakistan, still remains unsolved, including those of Aqib Chandio, 20, a student, abducted for the second time on 7 July 2020, Gulam Rasul Shar and Bashir Ahmed Shar, brothers, abducted in Karachi on 16 August 2020, Mehran Ali Mirani, 18, a student and shopkeeper, abducted in Hyderabad, Sindh, on 13 January 2020 and Insaf Ali Dayo, a young tailor, abducted from his shop in Larkana, Sindh, by uniformed military personnel on 29 May 2017.

It is pertinent to mention that, under international pressure, Pakistan had in 2011 established the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COIED) to trace the whereabouts of allegedly enforced disappeared persons and fix responsibility on individuals or organizations responsible. However, that has neither stopped the kidnapping of citizens by uniformed individuals nor has it so far identified anyone responsible for such kidnappings. As per COIED’s record, it has received complaint from family members of more than 5,000 individuals who had fallen victim to enforced disappearances carried out by state officials.

Many of these family members started receiving threats for writing to COIED ,after which many of the complaints were withdrawn, a fact which has also been mentioned in the resolution, “Disappeared people who have been released have received threats, or threats to their family members, to prevent them from recounting their experience to media or seeking justice.”