TEN YEARS IS TOO LONG A WAIT
FREEDOM TO MASOOD JANJUA NOW!
Statement of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances on the 10th Year of Mr. Masood Janjua's Enforced Disappearance
30 July 2014 - Of all the agonizing hardships that a person has to face, it is the excruciating pain of waiting without certainty, which is the worst. A woman's profound love endures a long wait. The relentless struggle in waiting with uncertainty amidst all odds for the return of a loved one is an important strength Amina Masood, Chairperson of Defence for Human Rights of Pakistan, has as she commemorates today her husband's 10th anniversary of disappearance.
Her will power and perseverance in the search for truth and justice for her disappeared husband have been undaunted amidst hostilities of the alleged perpetrators within a climate of impunity. The decade of struggle is worth our commendation. But, for how much longer shall Amina and her children wait? Isn't ten years too long a wait for the safe return of a loving husband and caring father to three children? Before his disappearance, Masood Janjua was a respected educator and businessman who had the passion for charity and living a simple life in adherence to the teachings of Islam.
The enforced disappearance of Masood, has for ten long years, deprived his children, Muhammad, Ali and Aishah of the paternal love and attention they well deserve from their father. The trauma of the now grown-up children of Masood and Amina is unfathomable. Yet, they manage to turn grief into courage and link arms with victims of enforced disappearances in Pakistan under the umbrella of Defence for Human Rights.
Ten years ago today, Mr. Masood Ahmad Janjua, 44, with a degree in Marine Engineering, was made to disappear on July 30 while travelling with an engineer friend, 25 year-old Faisal Faraz from Rawalpindi to Peshawar. For countless times, Amina had knocked at doors of those in power and the corridors of justice for the safe return of Masood. All she got were repeated denials of the authorities' involvement of her husband's disappearance.
Masood and his friend, Faisal are in the growing long list of persons classified as victims of enforced disappearances in Pakistan. In the government's War on Terror, hundreds of innocent persons got caught up in the web, many detained by security forces in secret prison facilities – tortured, without neither charge nor trial with the high risk of being summarily executed while in the custody of their captors. Masood and his friend have become victims of their very own government who ought to protect their fundamental rights and freedoms as guaranteed in the Constitution.
The heart of the anguish being suffered by Amina and her three children and all families of the disappeared lies in the authorities' systematic refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or to disclose any information about the disappeared. The secrecy surrounding the fate of the disappeared has the effect of intimidating and punishing families and the rest of society, leaving them in a state of uncertainty and mental distress. This all the more makes families of the disappeared themselves victims of this heinous crime.
On this occasion of the 10th year of Mr. Masood Janjua's enforced disappearance, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) strongly appeals to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to reveal the truth behind the disappearance of Masood, resolve the case without any further delay and account the victims of enforced disappearance and to put an end to impunity.
AFAD reminds Pakistan, a member of the United Nations since September 30, 1947, of its moral and legal obligations to adhere to the international human rights treaties it signed including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966 and came into force in 1976. Pakistan signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on April 17, 2008 and June 23, 2010, respectively. The respect and protection of a person's life, human dignity and equality before the law are the main pillars of human rights.
AFAD urges the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to:
1. Conduct an independent, serious investigation on the enforced disappearances of Mr. Masood Janjua, his friend Faisal and all other victims and bring to justice all those responsible;
2. Respect all forms of peaceful grievances taken by families of the disappeared in their search for truth and justice for their loved ones;
3. Sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances and recognize the competence of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances;
4. Adopt a domestic legislation criminalizing enforced disappearances;
5. Review and implement the recommendations of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances during its visit to Pakistan in 2012.
Genuine, long-lasting peace and reconciliation can never be attained until justice is delivered. There shall be no forgiveness until justice is served to those responsible for violating human rights and human dignity.
Signed and authenticated by:
MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO