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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora