Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court Dost Muhammad Khan has sounded a stern warning  to the military leadership that if the issue of forced disappearances was not resolved, the court may review the future of army deployment in the Federally Administrated Areas (Fata) as well as Provincial Administrated Areas (Pata). The court has sought a comprehensive list of missing persons from the KPK government and security agencies.

The issue of missing persons has become chronic with no visible solution in sight. The people in Balochistan have been facing a worst scenario where such disappearances have become a way of life. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Iftikhar Chaudhry held a series of hearings in Quetta in a serious effort to bring the situation under control, especially since the issue attracted international human rights organizations and has damaged Pakistan’s reputation internationally. In a court verdict, he held Frontier Constabulary and intelligence agencies responsible for illegally picking up people from their residences. Many of them were tortured to death and their mutilated bodies recovered. The CJ’s initiative had certainly reduced the number of such incidents. The provincial governments in KPK and Balochistan are acting like silent spectators; they can no longer exercise their writ to take action against the culprits. The army should come clean and bring to the knowledge of the concerned courts the number of people they have picked up and on what charges.