Islamabad: Despite efforts by civil society to raise awareness about enforced disappearances, the issue lingers in Pakistan as the State uses it with impunity.

The irony is that successive Pakistan governments have pledged to end the practice of enforced disappearances, however, the practice continued during their tenures. reported a Canada-based think tank, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS).

The reality is that the Pakistani state is comfortable with using enforced disappearance as a tool to throttle dissent and this persists to date.

From time to time, voices are raised by civil society against the impunity with which the armed forces, intelligence agencies and police carry out such acts, with little or no accountability.

Former lawmakers and human rights activists used the International Day of the Enforced Disappearances (August 30) to demand the introduction of legislation to ensure that limits were imposed on state institutions and laws were introduced in Pakistan that laid down boundaries for intelligence agencies over enforced disappearances.

Large number of human rights activists, politicians and lawyers gathered outside the office of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) to demand that the state must act against those involved in enforced disappearances.

Speaking to the media outside Pakistan's HRCP (30 August 2022) Babar recalled that in December 2015 the Senate Committee of the Whole had made nearly half a dozen proposals for legislation on the role of security and intelligence agencies, adding that rules the government should have either implemented the recommendations or reverted back to the Senate with reasons of why it could not implement them, reported IFFRAS.

"The Commission on Enforced Disappearances has also failed miserably. In not one case has it been able to prosecute a perpetrator of the crime".

Babar said an inadequate Bill was moved in the National Assembly in June 2021 to address the issue, but even that bill seems to have disappeared.

The armed forces of Pakistan are widely accused of being responsible for the 'disappearance' of an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 persons. As per local media reports, activists from Baluchistan are high on the list of the 'missing', reported IFFRAS.

Baloch 'nationalists', forming many groups, have been fighting the state to oppose curbs on civil rights and the CPEC projects that they claim deprive Balochs of natural resources while giving few jobs.

Enforced disappearances are used as a tool by Pakistani authorities to terrorize people who question the all-powerful Army or seek individual or social rights.

Cases of enforced disappearances have been majorly recorded in the Baluchistan and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces which host active separatist movements.

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, reported IFFRAS.

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

Amnesty International South Asia has noted that "Victim families who have exhausted all legal avenues are forced to publicly campaign in search of the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones."

Earlier this month, Amnesty International showed how the state dealt with protests by families of the disappeared harshly.