ISLAMABAD - The Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappearances Tuesday informed the Senate panel that it has found 691 missing persons staying in the internment centres out of the total 3,551 cases of enforced disappearance disposed of so far.

Giving a briefing to the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, the commission member Justice (Retd) Fazalur Rehman said that they had received 5,608 cases of missing persons from March 2011 to December 2018. “Out of these, 3551 cases have been disposed of till December 31, 2018,” he said adding that the federal government had constituted the commission on March 1, 2011.

While giving the break-up of 3,551 cases, he said that 1577 missing persons had returned home, 691 were staying in internment centres, 440 had been found languishing in jails facing terrorism or criminal charges and the 184 dead bodies of such persons had been found. “As many as 659 names have been deleted from the list of missing persons that don’t fall into this category.”

Commission says 3,551 out of 5,608 cases disposed of

Justice (Retd) Fazalur Rehman told the meeting, which was held in the chair of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Rehman Malik, that the commission received most of the cases of missing persons either directly from the families of such persons, or courts and the human rights organisations, Most of such persons who have returned home in their black and white statement before the commission have not alleged any law enforcement and intelligence agencies for their disappearance. He added that most of such persons in their statements had shown their ignorance about their kidnappers. He said that commission used to get a written statement from such persons.

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Senator Usman Kakar who had raised a point of public importance in the Senate regarding the details of missing persons showed his dissatisfaction with the figure provided by the commission. He claimed that the figure was much high as claimed by the commission member. “I have another list of missing persons in my possession,” he said. The chair handed over the list to a senior officer of the Ministry of Interior for its further verification through the commission.

Chair Condemns FATF for Discrimination: Chairman Senator Malik condemned the global anti-money laundering watchdog—Financial Action Task Force (FATF)—what he said for discriminating Pakistan while dealing the India with immunity.”

Malik said that he had written a letter to the President FATF Marshall Billingslea on February 14, 2019 demanding to take action against India for protecting international fugitives involved in biggest ever credit fraud and money laundering. “I had sent the letter with all evidences.” He said that on February 18, the president FATF in his response said, “The FATF has no investigative or prosecutorial functions, and is not in a position to give a legal opinion on this situation”. He said that if FATF couldn’t open a case of terror financing and money laundering then how it  had placed Pakistan’s names in its ‘grey list’.  “I have written another letter to President FATF,” he added. He said that FATAF either should exclude Pakistan’s name from the grey list or open a case of money laundering against India.

The committee directed the Ministry of Interior to arrange an in-camera meeting on the Indian dossier handed over to Pakistan on Pulwama attack, the steps taken by the government to counter Indian allegations raised in meetings of FATF and the latest update of the case of Indian RAW agent Kulbhushan Jadhav being heard by the International Court of Justice.  The meeting also said that the ministry would also brief it on the recent crackdown against militant outfits and actual reasons behind this move.

Issues between CDA & MCI:

The meeting discussed in detail about the progress made so far to solve administrative, financial and legal issues of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI). The members showed its displeasure that Capital Development Authority (CDA) and MCI have so far failed to resolve all outstanding issues despite conducting multiple meetings in this connection. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (ML-N) Senator Javed Abbasi said CDA was responsible for the delay while some members were of the view that only the authority couldn’t be singled out for this “mess.”

Mayor of Islamabad Sheikh Ansar Aziz told the meeting about non-cooperation of CDA with MCI. 

Senator Malik said he had written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, for having the charge of interior minister as well, to come up with a solution to the outstanding problems between the two institutions. “This dispute is affecting the efficiency of the CDA and MCI as well,” the letter said.

On the suggestion of Senator Abbasi, the chair remarked that the committee will take the issue to the house if it remained unresolved for some more days. He directed CDA and MCI to sit together under the supervision of Senator Ateeq Shaikh to resolve these all outstanding issues.

Home Secretary Punjab, mayor MCI, chief commissioner Islamabad and senior officials from Ministry of Interior, Law and Justice Division and CDA attended the meeting. The police officers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) also attended the meeting.