Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had promised in its general election of 2013 manifesto that once in power they would bring home all forced disappeared persons.
On 5th September 2013, the provincial capital city, Karachi, faced the worst law and order situation. To combat this, a targeted operation was announced jointly through federal and provincial governments and carried out by Police and Rangers against the miscreants in city. During the operation, Workers and sympathizers of different political and religious parties were forcibly disappeared from the province particularly from Karachi.
A majority of the missing persons cases were noted Sindh after 2013 where PPP leads Govt. in province. As the provincial government runs into its tenure’s fourth year, PPP is yet to fulfill its promise regarding the missing persons.
Mutahida Quami Movement (MQM) alleges that the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) forcibly disappeared their workers and sympathizers. Ameen-Ul-Haq, spokesperson for MQM said that of the 160 workers and sympathizers that went missing in year 2013 onwards, ten workers returned home after years of illegal confinement and around eight persons’ dead bodies were received by their families. The rest are still missing.
Ameen told Truth Tracker that MQM has put their reservations before the federal and provincial government authorities during many sittings regarding the missing persons’ issue but so far no result have been borne. “Constitutional appeals filed by the families of the missing person in the provincial apex Sindh High Court are all pending,” he said.
After the Sindh High Court issued a notice to the police authorities regarding the constitutional petitions of MQM, Senior Superintendent of Police (Investigation) Zulfiqar Ali Mahar filed reply that no one is under their custody. He alleged that sympathizers and workers of MQM went underground after targeted operation in Karachi, and many of them are self-absconder.
Zulfiqar further said, in statement before the court that authorities believe, of those missing, some exited the country because of their international linkages, particularly with the neighbour country.
Para military force, Rangers, which partners in the targeted operation in Karachi, also informed the court, that nobody is under their custody.
Mutahida Wahdat-ul-Muslmin (MWM) representing Ahle-Tashea Sect of Islam, also alleged that LEA is responsible for the disappearance of their workers and sympathizers from Karachi. Nasir Hussain, spokesperson of MWM said that 20 of their workers and sympathizers are missing from Karachi and the same plea is heard from Sindhi Nationalists Organization regarding their missing workers.
Jeay Sindh Mutahida Mehaz, one of the banned Nationalist Organization, claimed 50 of their worker and sympathizers are missing for more than a year.
Senior Lawyer Amir Manoob Qureshy, while talking to Truth Tracker, said that issue related to missing persons is too complicated; hundreds of the missing persons’ cases are under proceeding before the special division bench of Sindh High Court and some of the missing came back to their home after filing constitutional petitions in court. “They are not ready to record their statements before the bench, he said. They must be brought before the court and should file their statement explaining where they have been kept during their disappearance but they have not done so,” he stated.
Amir opined that this was the reason why constitutional petitions could not produce much results in such cases except exert a little pressure on the authorities. He stressed the fact that the statements of those who have come back home safely could be beneficial for other missing persons. He deplored the fact that during court proceeding, the representatives of LAE file their denial statements regarding their involvement in missing persons’ cases.
Senator Taj Haider who was head of the election manifesto committee of PPP for general election, 2013, in a telephonic conversation regarding the missing persons, promised Truth Tracker that the matter is a country-wide concern and that PPP had not formed the federal government in the previous elections to tackle the issue on such a scale. “PPP’s Sindh Government has formed a provincial task force (PTF) for the missing persons, headed by the provincial Secretary for Home affairs,” he said.
Taj said that the LEAs have also arrested worker and sympathizers of PPP during the Karachi operation and face enquiries. “Provincial authorities are trying to bring back all missing persons, and PPP also made clear to the authorities that the government has zero-tolerance in the missing person cases,” he added. Taj said that PPP government hasn’t reduced its efforts to bring back the missing person, and will continue on until their recovery.
Many political parties list such issues in their election manifesto, which are hard to resolve. This promise by PPP was also part of the election campaign to attract and get the sympathies of public for general elections, said Ejaz Ahmed Sheikh, analyst and a human rights campaigner in Sindh. “Issue related to the missing persons is so complicated and so it won’t be an easy issue to resolve soon,” he said.
The fact that PPP workers and sympathizers are also among the missing persons but the government couldn’t do anything for them, reveals the difficulty of the task for the government. We have seen that the provincial government formed the PTF. This is but only one attempt for the recovery of the missing persons but the list of the missing is too long demanding lots of efforts. “I don’t think that PPP has fulfilled its promise regarding the missing persons,” he declared.
As per Truth Tracker investigation it is evident that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has not been able raised its voice in its own party’s forum, Senate, National Assembly and provincial assembly to bring back missing persons, as promised in its election manifesto, 2013. Therefore PPP’s promise stands compromised.