“Bill regarding missing persons went missing,” says Human Rights Minister
On January 4, the Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, while speaking at a session of the Senate Standing Committee, said, “We had prepared the bill regarding missing persons and the relevant committee and NA passed it. But it went missing after it was sent to the Senate.” In June 2021, the bill was introduced in the National Assembly by the interior minister, which termed enforced disappearances as illegal.
It is pertinent to mention that more than 7000 complaints of enforced disappearances have been reported in Pakistan since 2011, according to Dawn’s report. However, Shireen Mazari claimed that the bill is now at the Senate Secretariat. The amendments in the bill included imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to Rs500,000.
Human Rights groups in Pakistan had called for the authorities to make a law criminalizing “enforced disappearances.” The approved by NA and Senate stated, “The term enforced disappearance relates to illegal and without lawful authority arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by a State agent or by person or group of persons acting with authorization.”