Fact-check: 'Pakistan has the lowest count': Sarfaraz Bugti makes-up claim about enforced disappearances

Former interim interior minister Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti repeatedly made false claim about victims of enforced disappearances

Politician Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti repeatedly made a false claim about victims of enforced disappearances, while he was serving as the caretaker interior minister.

Bugti alleged that Pakistan had the lowest number of missing persons in South Asia, attributing his claim to a report by the United Nations’ Working Group on Enforced Disappearances.

The claim is false.


On December 1, in a broadcast interview to Dawn News, Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, who at that time was the interim minister for interior, was asked about cases of alleged enforced disappearances in Pakistan.

“The count of the missing persons is very dicey,” Bugti claimed, “The government has constituted a commission of inquiry on enforced disappearances, which has resolved 86-87% cases. This is a big thing.”

He then added that the issue of missing persons was a “regional issue”.

“This missing persons issue is not a Pakistan issue, it is a regional issue. And in the region if you compare all the countries then Pakistan has the lowest count [of cases of enforced disappearances]. I am not just saying this, the United Nations has a published document on it.”


The United Nations’ Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) has not published any such report which states that Pakistan has the lowest victims of enforced disappearances in the South Asia region.

Pol Planas Callico, from the WGEID secretariat in Switzerland, referred Geo Fact Check to the Group’s annual reports on enforced or involuntary disappearances from nearly 100 countries, as well as its post-session reports, published three times a year, to determine the caseload.

Callico explained that since the post-sessional report of the meeting held in September 2023 is still being edited, the annual 2023 report, published in August, can be consulted for the latest data of cases examined by the Group.

As per the annual report, the WGEID transmitted the highest number of cases of enforced disappearances (12,855) to the Sri Lankan government between 1980 and August 2023, from among countries in South Asia.

The second highest tally was to Pakistan (1,636).

Below is the count, compiled by Geo Fact Check, of South Asian countries as mentioned in the annual report:

Sr No
Outstanding cases
Total cases of enforced disappearances transmitted to States between 1980 and 2023
8Sri Lanka6,29412,855

The report further states that the Working Group continues to be concerned at the “recurrent and numerous” allegations of enforced disappearances in Pakistan, “attested to by the high number of cases transmitted during the reporting period.”

It also states that it has sent the government of Pakistan several requests to visit the country after its last visit in 2012, but has not received a reply to date.

It is important to mention that the 2023 annual report documents the cases submitted to the Working Group by families and their representatives, which were later transmitted to the countries. It does not refer to existing cases of alleged enforced disappearances in the countries.

Geo Fact Check then also contacted Sarfaraz Bugti to share the UN report he was referring to in the interview. Bugti did not respond to Geo Fact Check, despite being sent several reminders.

With additional reporting by Muhammad Binyameen Iqbal.

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