Date: 04 March 2011
POLITICAL ACTIVIST ABDUCTED IN PAKISTAN
Two other Sindhi activists were reportedly abducted in October 2009 and since then their families have not heard from them.
Aakash Mallah, Vice Chairman of the Sindh nationalist party Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), and JSQM activist Noor
Mohammad Khaskheli, were abducted on 30 October 2009, in Sindh province, south-eastern Pakistan. Local sources allege the
two men were subjected to enforced disappearances by government security officials. There have been a series of court hearings
on the case since then and two officers of the Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), have
faced allegations by the police for carrying out the abduction. But still the whereabouts of the two men remain unknown and
intelligence agencies have rejected the allegations that the two men are held in their custody.
Since Pakistan became a key ally in the US-led “war on terror” in late 2001, hundreds, if not thousands of people, both
Pakistani and foreign nationals have been subjected to enforced disappearances in Pakistan. As a result of this practice, people
are kidnapped, held in secret locations outside any judicial or legal system, and are often being subjected to torture or other ill-
treatment. The clandestine nature of the arrests and detentions of suspects makes it impossible to know exactly how many people
have been subjected to enforced disappearance in the last ten years. The practice spread to domestic opponents of the Pakistani
government, in particular Baloch and Sindhi nationalists. Held in secret detention out of sight and without charge, without access
to their families or lawyers, their fate and whereabouts remain unknown
Despite several pledges by the newly elected Pakistan's civilian government in 2008 to resolve the country's crisis of
'disappearances', the authorities have not yet provided information about hundreds of cases of people believed to be held secretly
by the government as part of the so-called “war on terror”, or in response to internal opposition in Balochistan or Sindh provinces.
The Government has also failed to fulfil its promise made in May 2008 that it would accede to the International Convention for
the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
In March 2010 the Pakistan government set up a Judicial Commission to investigate disappearance cases, with a view to tracing
individuals. The Commission began its hearings on 28 April 2010 and reached its conclusion on 31 December 2010. The
Commission's report, which was submitted to the Federal government for review remains classified. On 10 January 2011, a three-
member judges’ bench of the Supreme Court resumed the hearing of disappearances case after a pause that had lasted nine
months. During a hearing when the Judicial Commission's report was presented, it emerged that the Commission was able to
trace 134 missing persons. The list of traced persons is not available to the public. The Commission has been criticised for its
narrow mandate and for its failure to investigate the role of the intelligence agencies, the main body accused of involvement in
the disappearances, and to hold them to account.
Acts of enforced disappearance violate several provisions of Pakistan’s Constitution, including freedom from arbitrary detention,
the right to judicial overview of detentions and the prohibition of torture.
Enforced disappearance is defined in Article 2 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced
Disappearance which the UN General Assembly adopted in December 2006, as:“[…] the arrest, detention, abduction, or any
other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the state or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support,
or acquiescence of the state, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or
whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.”
UA: 59/11 Index: ASA 33/001/2011 Issue Date: 04 March 2011