US lawmakers concerned over ‘disappearance’ of activists in Pakistan’s Sindh province

Six lawmakers had demanded in August that human rights situation in Sindh “should be a priority” in relations with Pakistan.

October 19, 2017 05:29 pm | Updated 05:29 pm IST - Washington

 Adam Schiff

Adam Schiff

: American lawmakers Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman have expressed serious concerns over ‘disappearance’ of political activists in Pakistan’s Sindh province. The lawmakers issued statements in support of the Washington-based Sindhi Foundation’s campaign to put a spotlight on the recurring incidents of abduction of political and rights activists in the region. Six lawmakers had demanded in August that human rights situation in Sindh “should be a priority” in relations with Pakistan.

“I remain deeply concerned about the incidence of disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Sindh,” Mr. Schiff said. The Foundation organised an event in the U.S capital demanding the release of Punhal Sario, a human rights activist and head of the Voice for Missing Persons of Sindh who himself was abducted by men in uniform on August 3. Organisers announced that they had received news that he has now been released.

United Nations Human Rights Committee has in a recent report called out Pakistan for recurring incidents of forced disappearance of people. “The Committee is concerned by the high incidence of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings allegedly perpetrated by the police and military and security forces; the absence of explicit criminalisation of enforced disappearances in domestic law; the Actions (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation, 2011, which provides for detention by the army without warrants or judicial supervision and indefinite detention in military internment centres, and the allegedly high number of persons held in secret detention under the Regulation,” the report had said.

Mr. Sherman, who raised the issue on the floor of the U.S House of Representative on October 12, said on Wednesday: “Human rights abuses of this type cannot go unanswered….These disappearances and other violations of human rights should be a major topic of conversation in all bilateral discussions between our government and the government in Islamabad,” he said.

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