Forced disappearance in Pakistan

  (Redirected from Missing persons (Pakistan))

Forced disappearance in Pakistan originated during the military dictator General Pervez Musharraf (1999 to 2008). The practice continued during subsequent governments. The term missing persons is sometimes used as a euphemism. According to Amina Masood Janjua, a human rights activist and chairperson of Defence of Human Rights Pakistan; a not for profit organization working against enforced disappearance there are more than 5,000 reported cases of enforced disappearance in Pakistan. This is a form of targeted killings and state sponsorship of terrorism of its own citizens by the The Establishment specially against the civilian nationalists such as Baloch, Sindhi, Pashtun, Hazara, Ahmadiya, Shias.

The EstablishmentEdit

The Establishment in Pakistan is the terminology used in Pakistan to describe the deep state cooperative federation of the Pakistan Armed Forces and the Pakistani intelligence community.[1] Involved in numerous successful military coups in Pakistan, the Pakistan Army army has directly ruled for nearly half of its nation's existence since Pakistan's creation in 1947, and rest of the times the army has had veto power over the civilian rule.[2] The Establishment was behind the 1953-54 Constitutional Coup,[3][4] 1958 Pakistani coup d'état.[5] 1977 coup,[6][7][8] and 1999 Pakistani coup d'état,[9] The army has been involved in enforcing martial law against the elected governments in claiming to restore law and order in the country by dismissing the legislative branch, the Parliament, four times in past decades, and has wider commercial, foreign, and political interests in the country, facing allegations of acting as state within a state.[10][11][12][13][14] The Establishment's sphere mainly consists of the country's high-ranking military officers who also control the collaborating senior civil servants, members of the Judiciary, the most important financiers and industrialists and the media moguls. The Establishment in Pakistan considers the key and elite decision makers in country's public policy, ranging from the use of the intelligence services, national security, foreign and domestic policies including the state policy of sponsoring terrorism.

From 1999 to 2008Edit

After the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, forced disappearance in Pakistan allegedly began during the rule of military dictator General Pervez Musharraf (1999 to 2008).[15] Pakistan went under immense terrorist activities. A large number of people became the victim of suicidal attacks. During Musharraf's tenure, during 'War on Terror', many people were suspected as terrorists and then taken away by Govt agencies.[16][17][18] Many of them were then handed over to the United States authorities to be imprisoned in the Guantanamo Bay's Camp X-Ray.[18] After Musharaf resigned in August 2008, he was charged with various human rights violations.[16] According to Amina Masood Janjua, a human right's activist and chairperson of Defence of Human Rights Pakistan, a Nonprofit organization working against enforced disappearance there are more than 5000 reported cases of enforced disappearance in Pakistan, however, she asserts that the number of unreported cases is much higher. On the other hand, according to government, this figures is inflated.

From 2009 to presentEdit

According to Dawn newspaper report, in the first seven months of 2016, there were 510 reports of forced disappearance in Pakistan.[19] In 2011, a Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances was formed to investigate the cases of forced disappearances. According to Amnesty International, the commission has so far received 3,000 cases of such disappearances.[20]

  • Zeenat Shahzadi: Zeenat Shahzadi, a 24-year-old female journalist who was investigating a disappearance case, was allegedly abducted by some armed personnel on 19 August 2015 and went missing.[20] Her disappearance caused her younger brother to commit suicide.[20] She was later recovered from near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in October 2017.[21]
  • Five online activists: In early January 2017, five social media activists – Salman Haider, Ahmad Waqass Goraya, Aasim Saeed, and Ahmad Raza Naseer – went missing from different parts of Pakistan.[22][23][24][25] Salman Haider was also a poet and academic.[23] However, after few days, all of the bloggers returned to their homes. Their families confirmed their return and reported that all of the bloggers were unharmed.[26]

People who have at any point gone missingEdit

Some have reported to have been handed over to the CIA and/or flown to Bagram, Afghanistan and later shipped off to Guantanamo Bay. Reports of forced abductions by the Pakistani state first began arising in 2001, in the aftermath of the United States invasion of Afghanistan and the commencement of the US-led War on Terror.[27] Many of the missing persons are activists associated with the Baloch nationalist and Sindhi nationalist movements.[27]


According to Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) around 5,228 Baloch have gone missing from 2001 to 2017.[28]

A senior Pakistani provincial security official claims that missing person figures are 'exaggerated', that 'in Balochistan, insurgents, immigrants who fled to Europe and even those who have been killed in military operations are declared as missing persons'.[28] Reports have shown that many people have fled the province to seek asylum in other countries because of the unrest caused by separatist militants.

Similarly separatist militants have also been found responsible for enforced disappearances cases. Separatist militants usually wear military uniform while carrying out their militant activities. Hence they often get mistaken as security officials.[29]

As of 2018, the Pakistani state was using Islamist militants to crush Baloch separatists.[30] Academics and journalists in the United States have been approached by Inter-Services Intelligence spies, who threatened them not to speak about the insurgency in Balochistan, as well as human rights abuses by the Pakistani Army, or else their families would be harmed.[31]


The cases of forced disappearances were criticized by human rights organizations and the media.[15] They have urged the government of Pakistan to probe these incidents.[15][24] In 2011, a Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances was formed, but there was little progress in the investigation.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Haqqani, Husain (2005). Pakistan : between mosque and military (1. print. ed.). Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. ISBN 978-0870032141.
  2. ^ Pakistan Extends Powerful Army Chief’s Term, Wall Street Journal, 19 Aug 2019.
  3. ^ Pakistan Constitutional Beginnings PAKISTAN - A Country Study
  4. ^ declassified US Intelligence.
  5. ^ declassified US Intelligence.
  6. ^ Hyman, Anthony; Ghayur, Muhammed; Kaushik, Naresh (1989). Pakistan, Zia and After--. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications. p. 30. ISBN 81-7017-253-5. Operation Fair Play went ahead … as the clock struck midnight [on 4 July 1977] ... [Later,] General Zia [told Bhutto] that Bhutto along with other political leaders of both the ruling and opposition parties would be taken into what he called 'protective custody'.
  7. ^ Dossani, Rafiq; Rowen, Henry S. (2005). Prospects for Peace in South Asia. Stanford University Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-8047-5085-1. Zia-ul-Haq, however, chose not to abrogate the 1973 Constitution. Rather, Zia's government suspended the operation of the Constitution and governed directly, through the promulgation of martial law regulations … Between 1977 and 1981 Pakistan did not have legislative institutions.
  8. ^ Cohen, Stephen P. (2004). The idea of Pakistan (1. paperback ed.). Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 0815715021.
  9. ^ Hassan Abbas (2005). Pakistan's drift into extremism: Allah, the army, and America's war on terror. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 16–40. ISBN 978-0-7656-1496-4.
  10. ^ Javid, Hassan (23 November 2014). "COVER STORY: The Army & Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan". DAWN.COM. Dawn Newspapers. Dawn Newspapers. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  11. ^ Aqil, Shah (1973). The army and democracy : military politics in Pakistan. ISBN 9780674728936.
  12. ^ Haqqani, Husain (2005). Pakistan between mosque and military. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. ISBN 0870032852.
  13. ^ Aziz, Mazhar (2007). Military Control in Pakistan: The Parallel State. Routledge. ISBN 9781134074099. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  14. ^ Chengappa, Bidanda M. (2004). Pakistan, Islamisation, Army and Foreign Policy. APH Publishing. ISBN 9788176485487.
  15. ^ a b c "We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years". Human Rights Watch. 28 July 2011.
  16. ^ a b Shayne R. Burnham (28 September 2008). "Musharraf Faces Charges of Human Rights Violations". Impunity Watch.
  17. ^ "Pakistan". Freedom House. 2007.
  18. ^ a b Irene Khan (30 August 2008). "Where are the disappeared?". Dawn.
  19. ^ a b I. A. Rehman (25 August 2016). "Disappearances still a major issue". Dawn.
  20. ^ a b c "Pakistan: Where Is Zeenat Shahzadi?". Amnesty International. 30 August 2016.
  21. ^ (2017-10-20). "'Missing' journalist Zeenat Shahzadi recovered after more than 2 years". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2019-07-27.
  22. ^ Tareq Haddad (11 January 2017). "State crackdown on dissent feared as four secularist activists 'disappear' in Pakistan". International Business Times. IBTimes Co., Ltd.
  23. ^ a b "Fears of online crackdown loom large after 'abduction' of 4 bloggers". Pakistan Today. 11 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  24. ^ a b Qasim Nauman (10 January 2017). "Rights Groups Ask Pakistan to Probe Disappearance of Activists". The Wall Street Journal.
  25. ^ "Second missing Pakistani blogger found, leaves country, says family". Al Arabia. 29 January 2017.
  26. ^ "Abducted blogger breaks silence: 'We want a Pakistan with rule of law'". Dawn. 9 February 2017.
  27. ^ a b Denying the Undeniable: Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan. Amnesty International Publications. 2008.
  28. ^ a b "Thousands vanish without a trace in Pakistan's restive Balochistan". The National. 8 December 2018. Archived from the original on 8 December 2018.
  29. ^ "Pakistan militants execute 14 bus passengers". CNN. 18 April 2019. Militants wearing security force uniforms stopped two buses in southwest Pakistan on Thursday and killed 14 passengers after ordering them out of the vehicles, police said.
  30. ^ Akbar, Malik Siraj (19 July 2018). "In Balochistan, Dying Hopes for Peace". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 September 2019. Increasing attacks by the Islamic State in Balochistan are connected to Pakistan’s failed strategy of encouraging and using Islamist militants to crush Baloch rebels and separatists.
  31. ^ Mazzetti, Mark; Schmitt, Eric; Savage, Charlie (23 July 2011). "Pakistan Spies on Its Diaspora, Spreading Fear". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 September 2019. Several Pakistani journalists and scholars in the United States interviewed over the past week said that they were approached regularly by Pakistani officials, some of whom openly identified themselves as ISI officials. The journalists and scholars said the officials caution them against speaking out on politically delicate subjects like the indigenous insurgency in Baluchistan or accusations of human rights abuses by Pakistani soldiers. The verbal pressure is often accompanied by veiled warnings about the welfare of family members in Pakistan, they said.

Further readingEdit