Thousands of Pakistanis missing: Is anyone listening?


Published in Express Tribune Blogs

The families of missing persons have been unsuccessfully campaigning to have their loved ones return.

The families of missing persons have been unsuccessfully campaigning to have their loved ones return.

As I write this blog, I sit in my living room miles away from Pakistan. I miss my loved ones; my parents, my siblings and acquaintances a lot.

But thank God, despite being away from them, I am in constant touch with them and they know about my life and the freedom I have.

But as I write all this, I think of those unfortunate people whose loved ones are lost – or rather haver been snatched away. I thank God and feel blessed.

Since the time I wrote my last piece on missing persons, which was nearly three months ago,  I have seen that no progress has been made on the issue. Thegovernment has been incompetent in following the orders of the Supreme Court, whereas the SC has been indecisive in making the government follow its orders. The country, therefore, hangs in a strange system of democracy and justice. Between this two-sliced fudged sandwich of democracy and justice are the ingredients of missing persons. Who is cooking this savory-for-some and bitter-for-many sandwich?

Someone with the authority to rebuff the orders of the court and certainly has the authority to violate the constitution of Pakistan. Eleven people were allegedly picked up by intelligence agencies from the Adiala jail, despite their acquittal by a court in a terrorism case. Dawn reported that the federal government contacted all departments including secret agencies, but they declined their possession. This leads to a simple query: who is holding them? Who is lying?

A number of times, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has submitted its report on the issue of missing persons to the Supreme Court, but it has yielded no results. In the words of Amina Masood Janjua at a rally held in the support of missing persons on November 2,

“Certainly, I stand at the same place where I stood five years ago in search of my husband. It seems to me that we are still living in a dictatorial era. Democracy and independent courts are delivering us the same thing: injustice.”

In my opinion, the judiciary and the so-called democratic government can be compared to George Orwell’s Ministry of Love. It seems that love for the nationally-powerful Big Brother is holding those two departments from easing the pain of thousands.

Besides, in my considered opinion, I daresay that the amount of support by civil society for the cause of missing persons has increased substantially – though not adequately. From the south to the north of the country, Amina Masood Janjua has commanded good support from civil society. In spite of this fact, 11 abducted prisoners were relocated to secret locations in broad day light. If civil society were to stand against such injustice more passionately, we could address it more effectively.

In October 2009, the government amended the country’s anti-terrorism laws through a presidential ordinance to further curtail the legal rights of terrorism suspects. Under the ordinance, suspects can be placed in ‘preventive detention’ for a period of 90 days, without the benefit of judicial review or the right to bail. What does the government have to say about people held for 91 days-or seven years, for that matter?

Gone were the days when the same reinstated judges alarmed the establishment and a military dictator and thence earned a pretty penny. More hope, more sweating and more patience is demanded of the families of missing persons and in Pakistanis at large. How much time is too much time? Chief Justice of Pakistan, I ask you again: are you listening?

A Straight “No” To Army’s Intervention In Politics


Often I contemplate why we, as civilians, assume that we cannot govern the country? Haven’t we — the “bloody civilians” as the army thinks — recognized our worth in all these 63 years of Independence?

A few days back during a debate with a friend he said to me:

“Civilians like you are worth nothing in the political system of this country”

Now I don’t understand one thing: why underestimating yourself as a civilian? Will we always remain “bloody civilians” in the eyes of uniformed ones?

Army is an institution, not a contractual leadership icon. It is we, the civilians, who are going to make any difference. If not, we will always keep on hanging between the 10 years military rule and couple of years civilian rule — the epitome of Pakistan’s political history. And If the things will keep going on in such a way, we will yet remain confused forever which ideology to follow — military or civilian. Army “may” change things to good for a short period of time, but it won’t and it can’t change things the way we need it for a long-term progression.

PS: I, in any case, am not endorsing the “democracy”. I don’t believe in this “ism” or that “ism”, and which is a different debate. I only intend to say that the “bloody civilians” are worthy of ruling too. Besides, the army’s influence in the politics of Pakistan should be subdued.

Innocency Or Hypocrisy?



Of late, I came across the views of many people who don’t like to see or hear even a single word against the dear me dear intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Pakistan Army, simultaneously they’re also endorsing the cause of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and are pretty much browned-off since the verdict has been announced.


In May 2004, the then Interior Minister of Pakistan acknowledged that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was abducted from Karachi by Pakistani security agencies — that automatically held former president General Musharraf accountable for her miseries by the way.


All I’m unable to understand is the tantrum of those people who are ‘never’ ready to hear a single word against ISI or Pakistan Army, despite the fact that their own responses are no less than the oxymoron — supporting Dr. Aafia on one side and on the other hand supporting those as well who’re actually responsible for Dr. Aafia’s miseries.


What should we call it: a hypocrisy or an innocency?


PS: I say, please, at least denounce the bad moves — be it coming from any one.

United We Rant


Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui


Today’s headlines as I’m expecting it’d be: President sympathizes for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and pledged to pursue the case in US High Courts. PM slams the decision and promised to talk to US Government. Nawaz Sharif denounced the court decision. Altaf Hussain, on his telephonic address, expresses his strong concern against the court decision on Dr. Aafia. Siddiqui. Pakistani people are infuriated on the court’s decision. United we rant!


I’ve been following the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui quite meticulously since the case was put on hearing in the court on 19th January, 2010. I’ve been seeing the action and reaction of the Ghairat Brigade since the time the newses of ‘Prisoner 650’ was published in Pakistani newspaper and jolted the Ghairat Brigade from its roots. Well, not all were jolted; some a la mode liberals, yes the liberals, didn’t feel like paying heed to the issue as for them it was just about an individual, which is inconspicuous when it comes to the nation of 170 million people already stuck in other problems — the big problems more important than Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, as they say. Some were found justifying her abduction by our beloved dear me dear intelligence agencies and army. A horde of them — who’re the supporter of enlightened moderation introduced by the zilch-venerated former president General Pervez Musharraf — are agilely found justifying such villainous foolish action.


When the prosecution started, it was testified that there were no fingerprints of Dr. Aafia on the M4 rifle, as accused by the government of US that she attempted to murder and FBI official while she was captivated in Afghanistan; there were no M-4 bullets, no bullet debris from the M-4 rifle and no bullet holes from the rifle in the room. She was the one who was shot by FBI officer thrice in the abdomen. And due to the urgent medic availability, she survived. She had 3 kids, all were just too young. Only one is recovered. The rest two are still not recovered from the FBI yet after 7 longs years. God knows where they kept her both kids, God knows if they’re even alive or they’ve killed them. Isn’t it cruel? If you belong to a race of man, it’s my understanding that you’ll be condemning such acts of atrocities and injustice by the US courts.


Even the lawyer of Dr. Aafia put forward ahead of the judge during the closing arguments that believing on the accusations of government and FBI agent would simply mean that you’re also denying the simple laws of science.


This constitutes that a poltergeist removed the fingerprints of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui from M4 rifle (which was held by FBI guy as per him), a poltergeist renovated the walls of the room where she was kept, and that poltergeist also removed the debris of the bullet. This is so amazing, no?


This is just not enough. During the hearing, at one occasion Dr. Aafia started to get hyper and wept. Judge Berman removed her from the court room. At another occasion, Judge Berman called a US serviceman to give a testimony. The serviceman started giving the testimony: “Three of my men were killed, along with one Afghan”. The soldier began crying, and judge Berman reached over and handed him a tissue. Where exactly can you smell the discrimination? The trial wasn’t fair as the events went. Judge had sympathies with the US serviceman, but not with the Pakistani national. Do you still receive the situation of injustice willingly or you have an urge to deny it?


Had she been acquitted today, I’m ready to wager that all the leaders of ethnic and national political parties of our country would have been congratulating her, simultaneously asserting that their efforts to retrieve Dr. Aafia have become successful. From the other point of view, we all know that how much our political parties have employed efforts to retrieve her. Every major political party has been busy in power ploys — holding out massive rallies on youm-e-tasees, lawyers movement, playing Sindh card to protect their government; briefly, ranting with a big-league along with awaam — ranting unitedly. But none of the political party ever tried to bring its loyalists on road for a demonstration against the illegal detention and prosecution of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in US courts. She should have been prosecuted in Pakistani court in accordance with the constitution of Pakistan. But who cares. United we rant — at all the events and instances that favors us to bring us to power. I’m sick of all such opportunist political parties.


Pakistani Government should immediately reject the verdict squarely which is given by US kangaroo courts. Pakistani government should immediately demand Dr. Aafia back from US. She’s a Pakistani citizen and should be prosecuted in Pakistani courts — if she’s guilty. We, Pakistanis, don’t accept the verdict by US courts; besides, it’s against our constitution that pledges to provide security to Pakistan citizen.


This is such a disgraceful event for our nation. I’ve void of words to write more on this unjust. Somehow or other, I’ve managed to understand that we’re, at the most, hellishly proud united Pakistanis — united when we all rant at such events but do nothing fundamentally!

Tribute to Amina Masood Janjua


Missing Person & Awaited Justice

Missing Persons & Awaited Justice


Whenever her name comes in my mind, whenever I thought of Missing Persons, tears streamed down my eyes. Amina Masood Janjua — wife of one missing person Masood Ahmed Janjua and Chairperson Defence of Human Rights Pakistan — is struggling for the missing persons in Pakistan. She has endlessly and doggedly strived hard for the Missing Persons of Pakistan who were nabbed by Pakistani Intelligence Agencies in collaboration of United States of America — our best ally.


The case of Missing Persons was petitioned in Supreme Court of Pakistan in veteran president General Musharraf’s era and justice was highly foreseen, but during that time Musharraf took the phenomenally outstanding performance of SC as his insult — as the decisions of SC were going against the idiotic moves of Musharraf’s government — so he imposed emergency in Pakistan and purged the Chief Justice of Pakistan and put him under house arrest. The hope of getting justice was vanished.


Now since the time Judiciary has been restored back and Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is reinstated, the case on Missing Persons wasn’t heard in SC for long, or rather SC didn’t take any serious notice, until last month a protest outside the Supreme Court led by Amina Masood Janjua against inaction on the issue of Missing Persons drew the ire of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry who then ordered the interior secretary to submit a report about the missing persons.


Amina Masood Janjua’s entrance in the red zone, and camping in front of the Supreme Court, made Chief Justice of Pakistan take the notice of the protest; hence, the longstanding case of Missing Persons was reopened again.


Interior Ministry says that it’s doing hectic efforts to trace the Missing Persons and 241 people had been traced while 175 are still untraced. Where are the untraced ones isn’t an inconspicuous and covert thing. Veteran president General Pervez Musharraf sold them to CIA. In the words of one of my American friend Prudence: YES! I have heard of the innocent Pakistani people nabbed by the CIA. It is my understanding that your President Musharraf took advantage of the widespread paranoia after 9/11 and got rid of most of his political “enemies” by literally selling them for around $20,000 each to the CIA for rendition purposes.


People from the US — the state government that’s committing heinous crimes — are ready to accept the fundamental reality and truth, but ineptly many of the Pakistani people — the victim nation of such atrocities — are even now not having sufficient strength to realize and acknowledge some of the evilness of the so-called best leaders.


On 23rd November 2009, all the cases of the “Missing Loved Ones” were fixed for hearing in CJP’s Court room number 1.


On the eve of recent Eid-ul-Azha 2009, 5 Missing Persons have returned back home safely after Supreme Court’s interference.


It’s yet sad that none of the prominent political party beefed up the cause of Amina Masood Janjua — which is after all a cause of our country Pakistan. The self-righteous and double-tongued political leaders and their respective parties are always up for power, but often not for powerless people to emancipate them.


The edgy yet high-mettled activist Amina Masood Janjua’s efforts will never run out InshaAllah. May Allah help her and all of us in this cause. Ameen.


It’s again a high time for us to at least understand and decry the bad side of our shameful leaders and advocate the cause of Amina — a cause to help her get the justice to the Missing Persons and their families — and a cause to render Pakistan the services it has always sought for. I ask judiciary an additional time, are you listening?