IHC says enforced disappearance creates sense of fear

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Pakistan
Thursday, 12 July 2018

Islamabad High Court (IHC) in a detailed verdict has said that enforced disappearance of citizens “creates an environment of uncertainty” for dependents and other relatives.

The IHC defined enforced disappearance as expressed in the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, which defines enforced disappearance as the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the state of by persons or groups acting with the authorisation, support or acquiescence of the state, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate of whereabouts of the disappeared person.
The verdict stated: “The phenomena of enforced disappearance is not new and has been widespread in many countries across the world. During World War II on December 07, 1941 Adolf Hitler, the German Chancellor issued ‘Nacht und Nebel’ (The Night of the Fog decree).
“The rationale for this official decree was to create a deterrent effect by making prisoners vanish without leaving a trace and refusing to give information regarding their whereabouts or fate to their family members… Their anguish and suffering cannot be comprehended because their loved ones are removed from the protection of the law. By removing a person from protection of the law gives the captors the freedom and license to do what they feel like.”
The verdict went on to say that this “creates an environment of uncertainty” for dependents and other relatives.
“The perpetrators get a license to subject the victim to torture, which is otherwise strictly forbidden under the law, and in the case of death it enables them to cause the body to vanish without a trace. The fundamental rights of the victims guaranteed under the Constitution become irrelevant and virtually suspended,” the verdict stated.
“It creates anguish, insecurity and fear for the close relatives, exposing them to grave economic and social consequences, particularly if the abductee is the sole breadwinner. It has the effect of creating a sense of fear and insecurity in society and, therefore, depending on the facts and circumstances, it may also attract the provisions and offences defined under the Anti Terrorism Act, 1997.”

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