Families of missing persons end sit-in after assurances from Mazari


ISLAMABAD: Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari on Saturday said she met the protesting families of the missing persons at Express Chowk in Islamabad and conveyed the prime minister’s message to them.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet a three-member representative committee of the families of missing persons next month in March.

In an accompanying press release, the human rights minister shared that she met the protesters on the premier’s instructions and conveyed his message that had three points.

The protesters should end their sit-in after receiving assurances from the minister. It was further decided that the prime minister would meet a three-member representative committee from among the protesters in March in a meeting arranged by Mazari.

The protesters would hand over a list of the missing persons so their status could be ascertained and communicated to the prime minister before the meeting.

Mazari said families she met requested that priority should be given to the missing persons of the 13 families who are present at the sit-in. She also assured the families of the government’s “commitment to ensure an end to this practice of enforced disappearances through legislation.”

Earlier this week, the federal cabinet had expressed concern over the issue of missing persons and directed the authorities concerned to make prompt legislation to ensure that there was no case.

Mazari had informed the prime minister during the meeting that a proposed bill to stop disappearance of people was lying with the law ministry for over two years but nothing was being done on it. The prime minister asked all stakeholders a devise a proposed bill for necessary amendments to the relevant laws.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid had met the families of the missing persons to show solidarity with them. He assured them that the government was taking the issue seriously and would adopt all possible measures for their recovery.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz also met the protestors and criticised the government for not reaching out to them. Maryam had asked the government to at least inform the families of missing persons about the fate of their relatives.

The families of the missing persons had set up a camp outside the National Press Club last week and march towards D-Chowk on February 16.