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15 recommendations in missing persons' case

09 January, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) on Tuesday approved 15 recommendations pertaining to the missing persons' cases, while suggesting that the role of intelligence agencies should be monitored by parliament.

The committee has been working on missing persons' issue for the last many months. The bi-cameral committee of parliament gave final shape to these recommendations in its meeting in the Parliament House, which was chaired by Senator Mian Raza Rabbani. On missing persons, the committee had to strike a balance between ensuring the security concerns of intelligence agencies and human rights issue, which has been raised several times by human rights organisations because of forced disappearances, sources privy to the meetings said.

Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Rabbani said 15 recommendations were finalised by the committee and they would now be presented in the Senate and the National Assembly. He urged that government to implement the committee's recommendations in order to recover the missing persons. According to the recommendations of the committee, a person's arrest by any agency or department must be in accordance with Article 10 of the constitution, while activities of intelligence agencies must be regulated.

The recommendations suggested that the chief justices of the Supreme Court and high courts form special benches to hear the cases of missing persons. Strict action has been proposed in accordance with the constitution and law against officers who detain people illegally. The committee proposed that the government should enter the names of those arrested in a computerised register within 24 hours of their detention. The arrested individuals should be informed about the sections used against them within 24 hours of the arrest.

The list also includes recommendation that all training institutes of the army, intelligence agencies and police should be administered in accordance with the law. It was suggested that the government announce immediate prison reforms and also take measures to provide knowledge of fundamental rights to its police trainees. The committee recommended that no action be taken against officials who present the missing persons in court within the stipulated time. It called for establishing a national human rights commission to deal with such matters as well as implementing the jail reforms suggested by the Senate's Functional Committee.

The government was urged to undertake reforms in the training of police personnel. It was suggested that special workshops be held to educate the police force on human rights. A strict compliance to the principles of rule of law should be pursued which will automatically ensure transparency, accountability and functioning within parameters of law and various state functionaries. In case of any exception, recourse to an effective judicial system should be available.

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