Islamabad: Cases of disappearances, especially from ethnic minority areas continue unabated in Pakistan with a commission recording a total of 158 missing persons for the year 2022.

The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances has received 76 new complaints of missing persons in March, according to the monthly report released by the commission, Friday Times reported.

The Commission statistics also indicate that a total of 23 cases were deleted due to not being deemed to be cases of enforced disappearance.

As per the data of cases from March 2011, when the commission was established, up till March 2022, the commission has received 8,463 complaints related to enforced disappearances, out of which it has disposed of 6,275 cases, while the whereabouts of 2,266 persons could not be ascertained during the course of inquiry.

The commission took up the case of Muhammad Nabi Marri & Muhammad Khan Marri, residents of Quetta, At the hearing held in this case at Quetta, SP Quaid Abad Quetta informed the commission that incidents of alleged enforced disappearance occurred on 11 April 2012, while dead bodies of both were found in the Maidan of Killa Firozabad, Sariab Road, Quetta last year, the report said.

The commission also took up the case of Sikandar Khan son of Pir Bakhsh, a resident of Quetta, and he appeared before the commission. His statement was recorded on oath, in which he stated that he was abducted in front of his house, blindfolded by three or four persons, who came in a car, and kept him at some unknown place in a small room - from where he was set free at Quetta Bazaar after 45 days.

Out of a total of 940 persons confined in different internment centres in the country, 91 belong to Punjab, 791 are from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 41 are from Sindh, 21 are residents of the federal capital Islamabad, two are from Baluchistan, three are from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), and one person belongs to Gilgit-Baltistan, the report further said.

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah last week equated enforced disappearances with treason. The remark came during the hearing of missing journalist Mudassar Naaru's case at the IHC. Naru, a journalist from Lahore, went missing in August 2018, the report said.

"Can anyone be disappeared without their [federal and provincial governments'] will? No," the judge declared. "People going missing are the incompetence of the State. The Executive is responsible if the state agencies are not in control. Why don't we declare the executive responsible for it?"

Enforced disappearances are used as a tool by Pakistani authorities to terrorize people who question the all-powerful army establishment of the country, or seek individual or social rights. Cases of enforced disappearances have been majorly recorded in the Baluchistan and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces of the country which host active separatist movements.

A recent report unveiled by the US revealed that over 8000 people were missing in the country during 2021 including 1,200 missing in Sindh province in the last six months.