Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan

Zahida Sharif

Zahida Sharif holding a picture of her husband, 48-year old Dr.Abid Sharif, June 2010

My son was born seven months after my husband went missing…he has never met his father, he just looks at his pictures.”

Across South Asia, thousands of people disappear in the context of violence against the state. These thousands are often caught in the crossfire between security forces and militants. You can help by taking action now.

The practice of enforced disappearances has increased dramatically since Pakistan joined the US-led “war on terror” in 2001. Disappearances occur across the country but especially in Balochistan province in the south-west, which faces violence from ethnic and religious armed groups and state security forces. Activists, journalists, and students have been especially targeted and an increasing number have been found dead with their bodies showing signs of torture.

In Balochistan from October 2010 to May 2011 alone, we recorded 93 cases of people who had been killed after being reported as missing. Many of the victims’ families blame state security forces, especially the paramilitary Frontier Corps for these killings.

A judicial Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappearances has failed to resolve the crisis or to hold the security forces and intelligence agencies to account in cases implicating them. The Prime Minister of Pakistan who controls the security agencies needs to urgently step in to address this human rights situation.

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