Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said that “we”, without specifying who, share the pain of the families of every ‘missing person’ and are “with them in the process of tracing them”.
In a post shared on his personal Twitter account, the DG ISPR wrote: “Our hearts beat with [the] families of every missing person. We share their pain and we are with them in the process of tracing them.”
He added: “Thousands of soldiers have laid [down their] lives for [the] security of fellow Pakistanis. Can’t harm anyone. Let none exploit the issue on whatever context [sic]. With you.”
On Wednesday, 36 relatives of missing persons from the Shia community had been arrested by police from outside President Arif Alvi’s residence in Karachi’s Mohammed Ali Society following the lodging of a first information report (FIR) against the organisers of the sit-in on behalf of the state.
The relatives had been protesting for the recovery of their missing loved ones since April 28 outside the president’s house, located on Fatima Jinnah Road in the limits of Bahadurabad police station.
Addressing a wide-ranging press conference at General Headquarters on April 29, the ISPR chief had also individually responded to the demands made by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) at its rallies and meetings and said that their third demand was the issue of missing persons.
“[The issue of] missing persons was their third demand [and] they created a list of those missing persons. The list has shortened to 2,500 cases today and the [missing persons] commission is working day and night to resolve those cases,” he had said.
Responding to another question about missing persons, the military spokesman had reminisced about the security situation through which the country had passed and said: “We don’t want anyone to be missing, but war is ruthless. Everything is fair in love and war”.
In January, the Pakistan Army had declared that military courts have no link with the issue of missing persons and the decision to extend the courts’ tenure rests solely with parliament.
“This is an additional task for us. The army recommends [it] but it is not our solo demand. It has to be [done with] political consensus,” Maj Gen Ghafoor had said of the extension of military courts.
On Jan 28, the government took a landmark decision under which those involved in kidnapping citizens will be tried under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The decision was made by Prime Minister Imran Khan in a meeting on human rights at the PM Office.