Chairman of the Senate, Raza Rabbani has asked countries such as the US and UK to refrain from commenting on Pakistan’s internal issues, after the two expressed concern at the lack of progress on unearthing the whereabouts of missing activists. Pakistan’s state machinery is perfectly capable of finding the missing activists – it is only a matter of spurring it into action, but asserting the sovereignty and capability of the Pakistani state should not deter Mr Rabbani from himself demanding the safe return of the missing people.

It is standard practice for states to weigh in on matters that do not always concern them, as is the case here. The fact that this takes place regularly is no justification for countries to meddle in the affairs of other sovereign states – especially a case of such a sensitive nature, where any misstep risks the lives of the missing persons. In this case, international pressure may even be counterproductive, leading to perceptions that the state is acting at the behest of an external power, rather than its own, if it tries to locate the missing activists.

At the end of the day, international uproar over Pakistan’s problems has only created a negative atmosphere at home. International outcry over enforced disappearances in Balochistan has hardly led to a solution. Countries like the US and UK only issue these statements to maintain the facade of their close association to issues of human rights, while in reality they are complicit in thousands of human rights’ violated everyday in Syria, Palestine and Iraq.

The internal outcry resulting from the disappearance of social media activists has already made headlines in Pakistan and has resulted in the Interior Ministry looking into the issue. Citizens of Pakistan and its lawmakers should continue to ask their government to ensure the safe recovery of the missing activists, and the Chairman of the Senate is right in asking other countries to keep themselves out of it, but surely that does not mean that he (or any parliamentarian for that matter) has to refrain from criticising the lack of progress made so far.

Berating a country already mired in terror and violence is high-handed and unhelpful. It has become something of a habit for many developed countries to issue redundant statements that advise Pakistan to solve its problems, as if the state isn’t already aware of them. Countries such as the US and UK should remember that if the shoe were on the other foot, these countries would never tolerate criticism from Pakistan.