Pakistan: Missing persons protest in front of Parliament House highlights an ongoing problem the state is failing to address

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Amina Masood Janjua protests with families of missing persons

(Image via Amina Janjua)

Amina Masood Janjua once again took to the streets to highlight the ongoing issue of missing persons in Pakistan. It is now ten years since Masood her husband, a well-known educator and businessman of Rawalpindi went missing alongside his friend 25 year old Faisal Faraz, an engineer from Lahore while travelling together on a bus from Rawalpindi to Peshawar. Many persons in Pakistan were “disappeared” as part of the “War on Terror” detained without families being notified of their whereabouts or any legal representation, some were sold to the US. Many innocent families were caught up in this sweep by the state and court action and calls for accountability have had only limited success.

See video with Amina speaking,

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Amina with Masood and children in happier times

On International Human Rights Day (10th December) Amina said, “nothing can deter us from struggling for our disappeared loved ones…neither cold nor rain …nor sunshine. Families of the disappeared are raising voice in heavy rains and cold in front of Parliament house..Islamabad.”

Amina now runs the Defence of Human Rights & Public Service Trust which offers support and advice to other families. As she has often explained, some are too afraid to file the important FIR (First Investigation Report) with police in case other members of their families suffer as a result. She felt it was important for them to know they need not suffer alone.

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One of the many families where a loved one has been “disappeared”

(Images via Amina Janjua)

Another organization which highlights this issue, The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) said it,

“renews its call for the universal ratification and implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances that would make States accountable to helping families of the disappeared find truth and justice, as well as protect their people from being subjected to this heinous crime. Moreover it calls on all states to recognize the competence of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances and enact and implement domestic laws that criminalize enforced disappearances. AFAD likewise calls on states to fully honor their commitments to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”

Amina released a statement on International Human Rights Day as follows,

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Peaceful protesters are often blocked, abused and arrested by police

(Image via Amina Janjua)

Families protesting are often met with suspicion and anger by the state as Amina has discovered time and time again. She posted a photo on her Facebook saying, “while rallying towards the people’s parliament that is how the families of the disappeared whose rights are violated, are stopped and harassed by heavy contingents of police.” 

Links

“Disappeared in Pakistan: Wife marks 10th anniversary and calls for Masood Janjua to be freed”

https://activist1.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/disappeared-in-pakistan-wife-marks-10th-anniversary-and-calls-for-masood-janjua-to-be-freed/

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”.

About Carol Anne Grayson

Blogging for Humanity.... Campaigner/researcher global health/human rights/drones/WOT/insurgency http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/experts/Health_and_Wellbeing.aspx Exec Producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad, currently filming on drones.
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