UN team spends busy day in Quetta
QUETTA: A delegation of the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances headed by Olivier de Frouville discussed the issue of missing persons with delegations of various groups and political parties here on Saturday.
The UN officials met Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad and Home Secretary Nasibullah Bazai to learn about the official version on the complaints lodged by political groups and parties about the cases involving missing persons and human rights violations in the province.
The chief secretary briefed the UN team about the measures being taken in the light of the orders of Supreme Court.
He said there was a lot of confusion about the total number of missing persons as claimed by various political groups. According to confirmed figures, the number of missing persons was 80 and 53 of them had been recovered with the efforts of the government, he said.
Mr Yaqoob said a cell had been established in the home department and the government had been making appeals to the heirs of the missing people to submit their details to the cell, but the response was not too encouraging.
According to official sources, the UN working group termed the steps taken by the government satisfactory.
Nasrullah Baloch and Mama Qadeer Baloch, chairman and vice-chairman of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, submitted a list of missing persons and apprised the UN officials about human rights violations in the province.
“I have handed over a list of 1,341 missing persons with their data to the UN working group,” Nasrullah Baloch told Dawn after the meeting and added that his organisation had another list of around 1,000 missing persons but it was not given to the UN team because it was not complete. He said the UN delegation informed them that they had a limited mandate of just gathering facts about the missing persons.
A delegation of the Baloch Republican Party led by Dr Bashir Azim briefed the UN delegation about the situation in Balochistan.
Talking to newsmen, he said the UN working group assured them that they would include the facts they had gathered about the missing persons in their report.
“We have provided a list of 12,000 to 14,000 missing persons to the UN team,” Dr Azim said.
He said they had handed over complete data of 2,652 persons of the 4,262 killed in the province. President of the Balochistan Bar Association (BBA) and human rights activist Zahoor Ahmed Shahwani and chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Balochistan chapter, Tahir Hussain Khan also met the visiting delegation.
Mr Shahwani said he had informed the group that the BBA had filed two petitions in the Supreme Court about the missing persons and the human rights violations and provided a list of 150 missing persons. “We briefed the UN group about target killings and the increasing incidents of kidnapping for ransom,” he said.
A delegation of the Balochistan National Party-Awami led by Dr Nashnas Lahri briefed the UN team about his party’s point of view on the issue missing persons and other problems of the province.
Agha Sahil and Bostan of the Hazara Democratic Party told the UN group that more than 700 people belonging to Hazara community had been killed in target killings over the past few years but none of the killers was arrested.
Agha Ashraf Dilsoz and Gohram Baloch of the Baloch Fikeri Council, an alliance of four parties, briefed the UN officials about the “atrocities being committed by state institutions” against the people of Balochistan and asked them to visit the interior of the province to collect the real facts.