European Organization for Pakistani Minorities (EOPM) is organising a three-day photo exhibition at the Broken Chair in Geneva to draw attention to the plight of missing persons in Pakistan. The exhibition displays details of journalists, civil rights activists, bloggers and local political leaders from Baluchistan, Sindh, Pakistan administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan who have been forcefully disappeared or illegally detained by the Pakistani security agencies. The exhibition highlights the ongoing atrocities faced by these groups and seeks the intervention of the UN and the international community to build pressure on Pakistan to stop this blatant violation of human rights.

According to the organisers, the cases of enforced disappearances ran into thousands and many more were facing the threat of disappearance, torture and even death. In fact, as per human rights groups, enforced disappearance had become a norm in Pakistan and anyone who dared challenge or raise their voice against the atrocities and violation of human rights perpetrated by the State or its proxies, was faced with this threat.

While in some individual cases of enforced disappearance, the UN has sought the Pakistani government’s response, the endemic nature of the problem required a more consistent policy to check its occurrence. There was a need for the new government in Pakistan to recognise and accept that the problem existed and thereafter publicly condemn enforced disappearances, and call for an end to this cruel and inhumane practice.

Pakistan has thus far failed to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance – a glaring omission that casts an unflattering light on the country’s claims to be committed to the highest human rights standards.

Credits: Times of Geneva