At the invitation of the Government of Pakistan, the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances visited the country from 10 to 20 September 2012. The Working Group was represented by two of its members: the Chair person - Rapporteur, Olivier de Frouville and Osman El - Hajjé.
The Working Group wishes to than k the Government of Pakistan for its invitation to visit the country and encourages it to invite other special procedures mandate holders in the near future to visit Pakistan.
The Working Group welcomes the fact that the issue of enforced disappearances is now publicly discussed in Pakistan. There is an acknowledgement that enforced disappearances have occurred and still occur in the country. Most of the allegations received by the Working Group related to cases of enforced disappearance imputable to law enforcement agencies in conjunction with intelligence agencies.
The Working Group welcomes the establishment of two specific commissions of inquiry to deal with the issue of enforced disappearances, as well as the role played by the judiciary to shed light on the phenomenon of enforced disappearances in Pakistan and to trace those who have disappeared. At the same time, it notes that the current Commission of Inquiry operates with limited powers and that the orders delivered by the courts and the Commission are often not complied with. The Working Group was unable to obtain information on any conviction of State agents in relation to acts of enforced disappearance, and perceive d a general sense of impunity surrounding these acts. In this respect, the absence of an autonomous crime of enforced disappearance is an element of concern that should be remedied.
The Working Group also emphasize s the need to ensure the oversight and accountability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the need for specific measures to assist relatives of disappeared persons, in particular women, in coping with the consequences of a disappearance, as well as the need to address the issue of reparation for victims of enforced disappearance.