UN experts on human rights condemned the violent disappearance of Idris Khattak, Pakistani human rights activist, calling it “unacceptable attack” on his legal work in respect of a number of human rights and minorities violations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a former Federal controlled tribal areas (Fata) in Pakistan.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, the nine UN human rights experts called for an impartial investigation into the abduction and detention in attack and said they are extremely concerned authorities have continued the practice of enforced disappearances, resulting in thousands of unsolved cases in the country.
Attack last seen on November 13 last year after security agents stopped his car near the junction of Swabi in the Northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. June 16, Pakistani authorities acknowledged for the first time that he was under detention by law enforcement agencies and held incommunicado since then.
“Enforced disappearance attack, which began more than seven months ago, is an unacceptable infringement of his lawful work of monitoring, documenting and acts against a number of human rights and minorities violations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and former federally administered tribal areas of Pakistan,” the independent experts said.
Experts Nils Melzer, the special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Luciano Hazan (Chairman-Rapporteur), Tae-Ung Baik (Vice-Chairman), the special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Bernard GUAM, Houria es-Slami, and Henrikas Mickevicius; Mary Lawlor; Dr agnès callamard, the special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Fernand de Varennes ER, special Rapporteur on minority issues.
“We are extremely concerned about the government continued its practice of enforced disappearances, leaving thousands of unresolved cases in the country. We call for an impartial investigation into the abduction and detention without communication with the outside world attack, and to prosecute the perpetrators,” – said the expert.
They condemned the widespread silencing human rights defenders through intimidation, secret detention, torture and enforced disappearances, whether with the direct participation of the Pakistani government or with its complicity or complacency.
“Even today, attack remains deprived of the most basic measures are the protection of the law and his enforced disappearance, subjected him and his family to severe and prolonged suffering, which can be tantamount to torture”, – said the experts.
“Given the arbitrary arrest and detention, attack and very serious violation of his integrity and procedural law, we urge the government of Pakistan to immediately release attack and provide him and his family adequate compensation and rehabilitation,” they added.
Pakistan has a long history of enforced disappearances, which would target human rights defenders and minority critical of the government and military, as well as of persons suspected or accused of involvement in opposition.
While successive governments have promised to criminalize enforced disappearance, were not taken concrete steps, and the practice continues with impunity.
The experts stressed that there are no grounds for refusal of the Pakistani government to end enforced disappearances and that any such violation should be investigated, prosecuted and punished.
“Truth and justice must prevail, as in the case of attack Idris and for countless other victims and their families in Pakistan. The support of the state, the fight against impunity can amount to a crime against humanity and must be stopped immediately,” they said.
The experts noted that Commission of Pakistan on enforced or involuntary disappearances considered the matter and urged the Commission to ensure accountability.
Experts will continue to cooperate with the Pakistani authorities to help them combat the “abhorrent practice” and to carefully monitor the situation.