QUETTA - Justice (r) Javed Iqbal, the head of an inquiry commission on missing persons, has said that the foreign agencies are behind the abduction of missing persons.
“The claim of thousands of missing persons is baseless and nothing more than political point-scoring,” he told a news conference after a meeting on Saturday.
However, the retired Supreme Court judge warned the number of missing persons had increased manifold over the past years, adding that the issue of missing persons was of sensitive nature as it had been internationalised.
Justice (r) Iqbal said the Balochistan government had sent a list of 945 missing persons to the commission, but the details of only 45 people were available. “We sent the list back to the provincial government for correction, but it was never submitted again,” he added.
He said if some Marri and Bugti tribesmen had gone to Afghanistan by their own, they could not be listed as missing.
He said there were some names of missing persons in the list who had been involved in robbery and terror acts and went underground after getting bail from the courts.
“There are concrete evidences that the foreign agencies, having latest weapons and technology, are involved in forced disappearances of people. Unfortunately, our secret agencies lack such weapons and technology to break up the network of foreign agencies,” Justice (r) Iqbal said.
He dispelled the impression that the commission was not performing the task according to the given mandate, saying, “It is working day and night in accordance with principles, evidence, constitution and law.” “We can’t investigate on the wishes of any individual,” he remarked.
Sharing the details of missing persons, he said till May 2012, there were 18 missing persons in Islamabad, 117 in Punjab, 74 in Sindh, 170 in Khyber Pk, 57 with details in Balochistan, 12 in Fata and 12 in Azad Kashmir. He said if anybody, including media, had evidence about missing persons, they should be provided to the commission.
Iqbal said the claim that thousands of people were missing in Balochistan was untrue and the number of missing persons was being exaggerated only for political point scoring. “Due to prevailing situation in Balochistan, thousands of people have migrated from the province and they could not be listed as missing persons,” he added.
He said the panel was completely empowered as officials of ISI, MI, IB and other state agencies had appeared before it and it was clarified to them that no one was above the law and no extra-judicial step could be tolerated.
He said owing to efforts of the commission, 15 missing persons in March, 13 in April and 16 in May had been recovered this year.
He said during the hearing in Quetta, 12 people appeared before the commission, while three missing people were recovered and the bodies of seven of them were found. “The commission has ordered that cases under Section 302 should be registered over the recovery of bodies and the reports be submitted to the commission,” he added.
Justice (r) Iqbal said the commission was also pursuing the cases of missing persons of Lal masjid and Karachi with a special attention.
He said the commission had also recommended that the heirs of missing persons should be given monthly allowance besides compensation to the families of those whom bodies were recovered.