Islamabad: To mark the International Day of the victims of enforced disappearance, the Rights Group highlights Pakistan's cases of horrible disappearances which continue with impunity, thus putting people at risk of torture or death.

Successive Pakistan governments have pledged to end the practice of enforced disappearances, however, the practice continued during their tenures.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who lost a vote of no confidence held against him on April 9, 2022, had even campaigned with families of the disappeared prior to becoming Prime Minister.

Similarly, Maryam Nawaz, vice-president of the political party Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) currently in power, had previously campaigned with families of the disappeared and called for the end of the practice. However, enforced disappearances continue.

"Victim families who have exhausted all legal avenues are forced to publicly campaign in search of the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones," rights group Amnesty International South Asia said on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Amnesty International documented how the protests by families of the disappeared are cracked down on.

Under the title, "Braving the Storm-Enforced disappearances and the right to protest in Pakistan", it explored how the right to protest of families of the disappeared and activists campaigning against enforced disappearances are repressed by the state, a practice that is longstanding and that continues to date.

Families and activists have described being harassed, arbitrarily arrested and detained, and subject to violence for simply exercising their right to peaceful protest - a right protected by international human rights law and domestic law.

It further draws on previous research on the issue of enforced disappearances carried out by Amnesty International and additional desk research. Desk research includes a review of documents published by UN agencies, media articles, data from government websites, judgments by Pakistani courts and Twitter.

Enforced disappearance is a violation of international human rights law and a crime under international law. It also violates the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan.

It is 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 places such a person outside the protection of the law."

Despite assurances from multiple governments that Pakistan would accede to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED) since 20085 and as recently as 2019,6 this has still not happened.