Pakistan government not taking the bill seriously: Babar

ISLAMABAD: The government does not seem serious in enacting its own bill to criminalise enforced disappearances said Secretary General Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians Farhatullah Babar.

“From some glaring mistakes in the bill to the fact that it is lying in the National Assembly Committee on Interior unattended for the past over eight weeks, it appears that there is no interest in it,” he said while speaking at a webinar organized by the Defence of Human Rights and Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) on Tuesday.

Babar said hopes were raised when the bill criminalising “enforced disappearances” was tabled in the parliament for the first time in the country.

“However, it appears that some powerful quarters are still opposed to its legislation,” he said. The PPPP leader said even if the bill was enacted in its present form, it will still fall far too short of achieving the objectives.

He said ideally there should be a separate legal mechanism to provide for filing complaints of disappearances, holding perpetrators accountable and providing compensation to aggrieved families. “The bill brought before the National Assembly does not provide for any of these essential prerequisites,” he said.

He said internment centres located in former tribal districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are beyond the jurisdiction of provincial police and prison department, where some of those falling under enforced disappearances were found kept. “The case is still pending before the Supreme Court since the last hearing in December 2019,” he said. He said ratification of the international convention for the protection of all persons against enforced disappearances should also form part of the new legal architecture

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