US HR report takes up issue of missing persons in Pakistan

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Washington, Mar 13 : A human rights report made by the US has said that the politically motivated disappearances were a major problem in Pakistan where as many as 1600 people are listed as missing.

The report, prepared by the US State Department, said is in a sharp contrast with the perception that the US opposes the restoration of sacked judges in Pakistan because they had released some of these missing persons.

"Politically motivated disappearances occurred during the year. Police and security forces held prisoners incommunicado and refused to provide information on their whereabouts," the Dawn quoted the Report findings as saying.

The official US document acknowledged that while some disappearances were associated with terrorism and national security cases, "many missing individuals were Sindhi and Baloch nationalists".

The report notes that during 2007 Pakistan Supreme Court ordered the government to release or regularise the detention status of prisoners held incommunicado by security agencies.

It recalls that in 2007 the then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry heard more than 40 petitions filed on behalf of 198 persons and in August ordered the government to find and release all the missing persons.

In response, the Deputy Attorney General advised the court in October that the government had located half of the 425 reportedly missing persons. They were picked up on suspicion of involvement in terrorism and released shortly thereafter. The rest were kept in different places in the country.

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