Only 7% Of Production Orders Issued By Enforced Disappearances Commission Implemented

Supreme Court told that commission pays Rs3 million in salaries per month to three retired judges, one retired cop with a disposal rate of 77.21% for 10,078 cases

Only 7% Of Production Orders Issued By Enforced Disappearances Commission Implemented

Only 7% of the production orders for missing persons issued by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances have been implemented even as the commission consumes Rs3 million a month in salaries alone.

The commission also disclosed that it has a disposal rate of 77.21% for the 10,078 cases of missing persons.

This was disclosed as the commission submitted details of the cases it has handled and disposed of to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, far apart from the cost incurred by the state on the commission in terms of salaries.

The data was provided on the directions of the top court as heard a petition the other day on the alleged enforced disappearances of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders and workers apart from others who have been classified as 'missing persons'.

The documents submitted stated that the commission, set up in March 2011, would act under the Commissions of Inquiry Act of 1956 and would have the powers enshrined in the act, including to issue production orders "of a person in respect of whom, it is suspected by the commission to be held in illegal detention of some law enforcement/intelligence agency showed that the commission."

The commission said that it had issued 744 production orders, at a rate of 7.38% for missing persons cases. Of these, only 52 orders were implemented in which the person under question was produced. It said the remaining 692 production orders have yet to be executed, putting the implementation percentage at 7%.

It further said that most production orders yet to be implemented were issued for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, constituting around 503 production orders, or 72.68%.

It curiously explained these unimplemented production orders due to the "decade-long insurgency and war-like situation in the province, coupled with deaths of unknown persons in drone attacks and migration to other countries without informing their families."

The commission told the court that it has 10,078 cases of missing persons, of which 7,781 cases have been disposed of thus far, and cases of 2,297 missing people are still unresolved. The documents did not offer a clear definition for the disposal of cases.

A province-wise break-up showed that most missing persons have been registered in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 3,485 cases. It also had the lowest percentage of case disposal at 61.66%, or 2,149 cases disposed of.

Balochistan followed it with 2,752 cases. The disposal rate for cases in this province was 82.99%, with 2,284 cases disposed of.

Sindh followed with 1,787 cases, of which 90.87% of cases, or 1,624 cases, have been disposed of. 

In Punjab, of the 1,625 cases registered, 84% of cases, or 1,365 cases, have been disposed of.

Worryingly, 361 missing persons cases have been registered in the federal capital territory. Of these, 84.76% or 306 have been disposed of. This, however, still leaves 55 active cases of missing people.

In Azad Jammu and Kashmir, there were 68 cases of missing persons reported, of which 53 cases have been disposed of, or around 77.94%. 

The documents showed that there are four members of the commission, including a chairman who is a retired judge of the Supreme Court, two members who are retired judges of the high courts of Sindh and Balochistan and a former inspector general of police.

Commission members, who comprise retired government officials, are paid the same salary as they were drawing at their last post prior to retirement.

Commission's Chairman Justice (retired) Javed Iqbal, who also headed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for five years, is paid Rs674,000 per month. The documents said the commission did not pay Justice Iqbal for the five years he served concurrently as the NAB chairman, saving the exchequer Rs50 million.

Commission member Justice (retired) Zia Pervaiz of the Sindh High Court is paid Rs829,000 (the salary he was drawing upon retirement) and prior to appointment in July 2021. 

Commission member Justice (retired) Amanullah Khan of Balochistan High Court is paid Rs1.139 million per month following his appointment to the commission in December 2023.

Former IGP Muhammad Sharif Virk is paid Rs263,326. 

Virk and Justice (retired) Iqbal were appointed in 2011.

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain