Mourning the Missing Sons


Peshawar: Physically motionless and psychological defeated, a young and energetic person help him to give him her daily dose of medication, an elderly Mumtazo Bibi, aged 65 was laying on charpoy, while she reluctant to take her medicine, but the young son, Dawlat Khan alluringly told her that if you don’t take the medicine on time, how you be able to see your son, and she agreed.

A daily practice the dawn of this family begins and ends with one question of his mother, has you had any good news of my son? The elderly mother with sorrowful face covers her face after listing a routine answer, No.

“My mother was healthy and was doing excellent” Khan breaks the silence. Since my younger brother Hafiz Muhammad Tariq went missing, we could not see our once lively and jolly mother back as a normal human being; he expresses the long five-year grief of his family.

Dawlat Khan tears start rolling from his dark eyes, he is struggling hard to recover his missing brother and keep alive mother hope about Tariq’s return.

As per reports in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, hundreds of persons are missing or forced disappeared since the war against terror engulfed the region.

Missing person Hafiz Tariq family is living in narrow alleys of District Mardan’s Peoples Colony Par Hoti area. The area is notorious for militant sympathizers, and that’s why the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) keeps a vigilant eye on surroundings and in same area Hafiz Tariq was running own business of bricks and other construction materials.

The bad patch of this family has started when in last month of 2012 an unreported incident happened on Swabi road near the Tariq business site. Unknown persons opened fire on “law enforcement officials van” in broad day light, luckily no one was hurt in the attack, but few days later the Par Hoti Police Station officials picked Hafiz Tariq from his business location for interrogation.

According to the Interior Ministry’s National Crimes Management Cell entry form filled by Tariq’s younger brother Said Nabi, Hafiz Tariq was picked by Inspector Nasr-Ullah of Par Hoti Police Station on December 20, 2012 at 10 pm.

Tariq’s elder brother Dawlat Khan left study after his 10th grade and started his career as vendor in busy Par Hoti bazaar after his father sudden demise.“It was tough time for us as I was fighting for survival at that time” Dawlat Khan narrated his tale.

“I borrowed money for Dubai visa, and with mother prayers I had established a good transport company in Dubai which changed family’s fate”. He said

I was semi literate and have spending much of my earning on Hafiz Tariq and other brother’s education, but Tariq’s disappearance has forced me to quit my job.

“I left my good earning job and came back to Pakistan, due to Tariq’s incident and mother critical health condition” Khan explains. Before this traumatized incident one brother was a medical and the other was ACCA student at Islamabad. The younger brothers are no more students of their own choice as they missed semester due to financial crises laments Dawlat Khan. He says since then all of them pursue two things “mother medications” and “to recover brother”.

The stories of missing persons in Pakistan have become common. Hundreds of such cases are pending in courts which raise questions about the ability of the prevailing investigative and judicial system. “Not only justice delayed is denied but also buried here. The grief of missing beloved one makes the happy atmosphere mournful”, Dawlat Khan expresses in his breaking voice.

Beside pursuing a legal fight for his brother in courts Dawlat Khan has also contested local government elections and won the seat of Nazim. Few streets away from his home in Nazim office dozen of people have their applications of various problems to be solved.

In modest and clean office’s main hall Pakistani flag and photo of founder of the nation are hanging over Nazim Dawlat Khan seat.

“This green flag” he points towards Pakistani flag and trust of the people doesn’t show that my family is clean patriot”? Dawlat Khan questions.

Taimur Kamal a civil society activist criticizes the force disappearance, “Pakistan has its law and constitution therefore decisions should be made as per the rules” Taimur demands. Extra judicial treatment happens in jungle not in educated and civilized humane society, he concludes.

In the five terrible years, Tariq’s family has spent huge amounts of money for his beloved’s safe and speedy return but so far all went in vain. The family has District Police Officer (DPO) clearance certificate about the missing brother. The certificate says It is certified that there is nothing against Tariq S/O Hazrat Nabi R/O Peoples Colony Mardan in local Police Station regarding his involvement in militancy or other criminal activities, signed and stamped by DPO.

The family and local residents of the area tell a different story of Hafiz Tariq disappearance. “He was peaceful” Tariq’s childhood friend Nadeem Shah assures and was never ever involved in any anti state activity, because Tariq was in deeper love with this soil, he adds. “Tariq is innocent” for testimony the residents of the area even met law enforcement officials [when they visited the area to find ground realities] and also protested in front of Peshawar High Court (PHC).

“Psychologically our family is in trauma” Dawlat Khan reluctant to pour his hidden thoughts and anger out adds that they have spend their savings on missing brother’s case. Hafiz Tariq (the missing person) is now in a “knowledgeable” detention center, where his mother was allowed her to met him only few times.

According to statistical report of “Commission of inquiry on forced disappearance” more than 800 families are living in such terrible condition only in KP. Picking or disappearing citizens doesn’t provide any lawful base in 21st century, it needs an empathetic and speedy justice system.

A Peshawar based lawyer and provincial coordinator of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Irashad Ahmad, said that as per the article 10 and 10-A fair trial and liberty are the fundamental rights of every Pakistani and everyone should respect it. “Bring the culprit to justice and let the court decide who is what? “Irshad concludes.

According to the commission of inquiry on enforced report, there are 1532 missing persons in the country and 867 are only from KP. Although the civil society and human rights activists don’t agree with the said figures and they are of the view that the numbers exceeded hundreds only in few districts of Baluchistan.

Taimur Kamal, another social activist, from provincial capital disparaged the slow investigative and judicial system and added that “Delaying tactics of ministry of defense in missing person cases has also earned a questioned mark on courts’ credibility”.

People are in chaos and frustration due to picking of unknown persons Rukhshanda Naz Executive Director, Legal Aid and Awareness Services (LAAS). “Our judiciary is toothless to curb human rights violation by the armed forces in the name of security,” Naz criticizes role of judiciary in missing persons’ cases.

Rukhshanda Naz further adds, “we have dual legal system, the constitution guarantees human dignity and protection but on the other hand, legislation related to war against terror gives absolute power to security forces.”


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