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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz Wednesday urged Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to listen to the demands of the relatives of the missing persons and address the issue.

Maryam Nawaz, along with party leaders, visited the protesting relatives of the missing persons from Balochistan here at D-Chowk to express solidarity with them.

Talking to media persons on the occasion, she reminded Prime Minister Khan’s stance on the issue of missing persons and urged him to reach out to the relatives of the missing persons and address their issue.

“Although, you are a “selected” and [you] have been placed in the corridors of power. For God’s sake, it’s your duty to listen to these people, not only them, but the 220 million people of the country…you’re answerable to Almighty and not to the agencies,” she said in reference to Prime Minister Khan.

She also asked the prime minister to visit the protesting families of the missing persons at the D-Chowk at least to express solidarity with them.

“Prime Minister House is not that far from here [D-Chowk], it’s hardly five minutes away. These girls told me that they have been sitting out here for a week…If you [PM] cannot do anything for them, at least inform the families of missing persons if their relatives are alive or dead.”

“I would also like to say this to Army Chief and to DG ISI as well that they are citizens of your country, they are your daughters, your mothers. Come and talk to them. Resolve their issues that can be solved. Produce in courts those who are alive and those who are not [alive] at least tell them that they are not alive,” she added.

Responding to a question about the role of “commission on the missing persons”, headed by former Justice Javed Iqbal, the PML-N vice president said that such commissions were just an “eyewash” and they were “useless”.

She added that even if anyone among the missing persons had committed a crime, their families should be told and they should be produced in the courts.

She further said that even if someone was suspected of a crime there was a procedure to deal with them.

“It’s not right to abduct them in the middle of the night and not tell their families of their whereabouts for 10 years,” she said, while referring to a family at the protest camp whose loved one is missing for over a decade.

To another query as to why the PML-N government did not address the issue of the missing persons during its tenure, Maryam Nawaz said that at the moment she could only express solidarity with them.

“I can assure them [as] they are from Balochistan, but they are not alone.”

She said the State was responsible for the protection of its citizens.

She also condemned the statements by some ministers with regard to the protest of the families of the missing persons.

“A minister, whose name I would not like to mention, has given a reference of Punjab to these protesting families from Balochistan. The oppressed do not have a province. Sindhi, Punjabi, even if someone is from KPK or Balochistan, an oppressed person is oppressed. For God’s sake, don’t sprinkle salt on their wounds,” she said, urging the prime minister to ask his ministers to refrain from “worsening” the grief of the protesting families through their statements.

Maryam Nawaz’s was apparently commenting on Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry’s remarks in a tweet.

“These mothers can stage protest in Punjab without being shot by anyone after seeing their identity cards. But what about the grief of the mothers of Punjab whose sons are taken out of buses and gone down in Balochistan only because they are Punjabis? Let it be said that oppression is oppression and the colour of Punjabis’ blood is also red,” the minister stated in a tweet.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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