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Missing Jamia Hafsa students

July 30: WE will locate all the missing Jamia Hafsa students, said Prime Minister Shaukat on Saturday while talking to the parents and relatives of missing students. Fifty eight people have contacted the Ministry of the Interior for the recovery of their loved ones who vanished during the crackdown on the Lal Masjid. Tensely waiting for news of their loved ones ever since the operation, the apprehensions of these relatives were further piqued when severed, mutilated body parts were found recently in the rubble of the fallen mosque.

The Interior Secretary informed reporters that the registrationg of those who had left the compound of the mosque before hostilities began on the 3rd of July had not been done. Around 1200 students left the mosque since after the said date, all of whom were registered and all but 46 of whom were released. The number of missing people will be minimised further when the DNA test reports of the 62 unidentified people buried in Islamabad come through, bringing closure, if not solace, to many of the families of those missing persons.

There has been a bloodbath across the country ever since the Lal Masjid operation took place. The spate of terrorist attacks shows no signs of abating. The sheer entropy that comes with fighting an enemy as elusive and invisible as the terrorists is one that is known to all. However, one of the many proactive measures the government can take in ensuring that the trend fizzles out is handling the aftermath of the operation effectively. And that includes locating all the missing students. By no means, of course, does this signify that that should be the only or even primary motive for locating them. It is the duty of the state to provide security to its citizens. Beleaguered as our democratic credentials might be, we are, nonetheless, living in a democracy. The whole business of missing persons, which goes way before the Lal Masjid incident, is not becoming of a genuine democracy. The nation
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