Despite growing anger in Pakistan at the practice of enforced disappearances, the government has still not acknowledged its responsibility for hundreds of people arbitrarily detained in secret locations and reports of enforced disappearance continue to emerge.
In a week of demonstrations organised by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) against enforced disappearances, Amnesty International is releasing an update to its September report that reveals new cases and describes how families searching for their relatives have begun to organise themselves into protest groups.
The day Amnesty International released its earlier report -- 29 September 2006 -- magazine editor Abdur Rahim Muslim Dost was arrested as he left a mosque in Peshawar. His fate and whereabouts are still unknown. He had just published a book describing how he was arrested by Pakistani military in 2001, transferred into US custody and detained in Guantánamo Bay. The book recounted his torture in Pakistani and US custody.
Family members continued to face harassment even as parliamentarians, lawyers and NGOs gathered for a workshop organised by the HRCP and Amnesty International in Islamabad in early October 2006.
The Pakistani government must not respond to terror with terror. Instead of using methods that undermine the prospect of justice and that lower society’s standards, the government should take immediate action to prevent enforced disappearances. It must set up a central register of detainees and publish regular lists of all recognised places of detention.