Islamabad - Activists of Pakistan People’s Party on Thursday said that former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s admission in his memoirs that he handed over hundreds of alleged militants to the US after 9/11 had widened space for agencies’ involvement in enforced disappearances.

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said that Musharraf’s claims gave credence to the narrative that state itself was involved in the mysterious disappearances.

The senator was addressing a civil society protest in front of National Press Club against an attempt to abduct an Islamabad-based journalist. Babar said that investigations into Musharraf’s confessions could help understand the mysterious disappearances.

He said that the fact that all institutions including the Parliament, Supreme Court and central and provincial governments had failed to fix responsibility for the enforced disappearances was a proof that those involved in the crime were more powerful than the state and were also invisible.

He said that those challenging state’s security narrative risked disappearance without a trace while those purveying hate speech were roaming free. “Raza of Lahore was advocating peace in the region and peace with India. Raza mysteriously disappeared,” he added.

Babar said that Action in Aid of Civil Power regulation was promulgated in 2011 and given back-dated effect from 2008 to enable the agencies to present before the court those held in custody without trial without fear of prosecution. Those in custody were supposed to be kept in internment centres and tried for crimes in open courts, he said. 

However, he said, these internment centres had turned into Abu Ghuraib-like prisons and there was no information whether how many were held there for how long, whether tried or not and how many died during captivity, he said, demanding a thorough performance evaluation of these centres.

He called for criminalising enforced disappearances, signing international convention on enforced disappearances, implementing recommendations of the UN Working Group that visited Pakistan in 2012 and adopting legislation for state agencies proposed by the Senate.