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Musharraf government accused of handing over 4,000 Pakistanis to foreign countries

NAB chairman Javed Iqbal said that 70 per cent of the missing individuals were involved in ‘militancy’

Gulf News

Islamabad: The government of former president General Pervez Musharraf has been accused of handing over as many as 4,000 Pakistanis to foreign countries, mainly to the US, local media reported.

The disclosure was made by the head of the commission on missing persons on Monday in a briefing to the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman and National Commission for Enforced Disappearances President Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal said that former interior minister Aftab Ahmad Sherpao was part of the “secret handover”. The chairman, however, did not provide any details or names.

“Most of the extradited persons [were] sent to the US in exchange for dollars,” Iqbal was quoted as saying by Pakistani media today. He added that there was no provision in the country’s law for such extraditions. He asked, “As per the law and the Constitution, how could someone secretly hand over the Pakistani nationals to any other country?”

In the briefing, Iqbal said that 70 per cent of the missing individuals were involved in ‘militancy’ and that the recovered individuals “were too scared to open up about their experiences”.

Iqbal claimed that the statistics on missing persons in Balochistan were often exaggerated. “There have been several militant groups present in the province and many ‘missing persons’ have gone along with them,” he said. The former CM Balochistan Aslam Raisani and Nasrullah Baloch had been tasked to provide the list but to no avail, the NAB chief said.

On the decades-old case of missing Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) workers, the commission chief said, “MQM showed no interest in recovery of their missing workers. MQM had its government but did not take the case of missing persons in Sindh seriously. The MQM workers who went missing two decades ago have not been recovered yet,” he was quoted as saying by local media.

The NAB chairman also said that he was in favour of placing a ban on foreign NGOs working within Pakistan. “These NGOs are working for foreign elements and they do get their funding from abroad” he said, adding that if it were up to him, he would have banned all foreign NGO’s but “political reconciliation always gets in the way.”

Meanwhile, he also said that foreign agencies illegally apprehend people and put the blame on Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI).

Briefing the committee about the performance of the commission, Iqbal said that the commission has received 4,929 cases of ‘enforced disappearances’. The commission resolved a total of 3,219 cases from March 2011 to February 2018.

Currently, he added, the commission was investigating 1,710 cases, while an additional 368 cases were received from the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances during the past few years, majority of which had been resolved.