News / Asia

US Concerned Over Disappearances in Pakistan

Pakistani Shansum Nasa holds a photo of her son, Atiq ur Rehman, who disappeared in 2004, during a demonstration outside the International Committee of the Red Cross in Islamabad, Pakistan, Jul 23, 2008 (file photo)
Pakistani Shansum Nasa holds a photo of her son, Atiq ur Rehman, who disappeared in 2004, during a demonstration outside the International Committee of the Red Cross in Islamabad, Pakistan, Jul 23, 2008 (file photo)

The US State Department has expressed concern about reports that thousands of political separatists have disappeared in Pakistan over the past 10 years. The New York Times says the concern has been expressed in a report the department has sent to the U.S. Congress, and it details findings from human rights groups in Pakistan.

The representative of Human Rights Watch in Pakistan, Ali Dayan Hasan, said the latest alarm in the U.S. over reports of the disappearance of captured Taliban insurgents and some of the political separatists is a very positive development. The U.S., he said, should urge Pakistan's military to stop such practices.

The State Department said it has sent a report on the disappearances to the U.S. Congress. The report urges Pakistan to address this and other human rights abuses, saying the progress so far has been very limited.

Dayan said that soon after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, the Bush administration urged Pakistan to capture militants linked to the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida. Since then, he said, several human rights groups have alleged abuses in Pakistan, although Pakistan denies the charge.

"What did happen was that because the Bush administration was effectively complicit in these disappearances, the Pakistani military used that as an excuse to engage in the practice in a very broad kind of manner," said Dayan.

Dayan also said the reason for this new alarm in Washington is the Obama administration's new policies. "I am very certain that the Obama administration has a very low tolerance for this kind illegal activity and we are very pleased that they are taking this position on this very serious issue."

Human rights activists say precise numbers of disappearances are difficult to pin down because family members fear that reporting missing relatives could endanger the relatives or themselves.

In Washington, the State Department said they are talking to Pakistani officials and continue to monitor the situation closely.

In Islamabad a government official refused to comment on the newspaper report, and it has been the government's stated policy that it does not react to media reports.

The New York Times quotes the Pakistani ambassador in Washington as saying the Pakistani government and courts are investigating cases of disappearances.

Dayan says the Pakistani government will have to act now because otherwise it will feel the consequences.

"Because it is unacceptable to the international community and to the world in general and to Pakistanis for that matter," said Dayan. "We are in conversation with the Pakistani government on these and other issues both privately and in the public arena."

Dayan said his Human Rights Watch group has been urging all sides to avoid such human rights abuses. "We document abuses by the Taliban, by al-Qaida proxies, by the United States and by countries such as Pakistan. We urge all actors to adhere to international standards in the transaction of their conflicts."

Dayan said he hopes the latest alarm in Washington over this issue will help his human rights group to attract an international focus on the situation and any pressure on Pakistan from the U.S. Congress will definitely help in that.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid