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The case of disappeared persons in Pakistan

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Nobody knows the exact number of the people who have been picked up by the intelligence agencies during the last few years, particularly after 9/11. According to the Defense of Human Rights of Pakistan, between 8,000 to10,000 people disappeared while a government list provided to the Supreme Court, says 1,390 people are missing. Balochistan province's government says that 922 Baluchis are missing.

Who are the missing persons? They include Sindhi and Balochi nationalists, those suspected of involvement with militant groups, journalists, others who seem to fit no definite category but may have, in one way or the other, evoked the ire of influential people.

The missing persons' case has dominated apex court proceedings for more than four years now. In November 2007, it also led to the sacking of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry by the military ruler President General Parwez Musharraf. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was reinstated in March 2009 after an intensive civil society campaign.

Since Pakistan's involvement in the US-led "war on terror," several hundred Pakistanis have been abducted, detained and tortured. Some have been handed over to US intelligence officials. The former President General Musharraf acknowledged in his book "In the line of fire": We have captured 689 (people) and handed over 369 to the United States. Various people have earned bounties totaling millions of dollars. (Page 237)

Human rights groups across the country have been taking out rallies on a regular basis to keep the issue alive. However, so far very few of the missing persons have been recovered.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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