Balochistan: Blinkered slide into chaos

“A very dangerous trend has emerged that those who disappeared were now found dead on roadsides. The bodies have torture marks,” said Zohra Yusuf, HRCP chairwoman. – AFP (File Photo)

HRCP launched the report titled ‘Balochistan; Blinkered Slide into Chaos’ in a press conference held at a local hotel in Islamabad. The Commission’s Chairperson Zohra Yusuf, its Secretary General I A Rehman, former chairperson Asma Jehangir, Council member Hina Jilani were present on the occasion.

The mission observed that there were credible allegations of the involvement of state security forces, particularly the Frontier Constabulary (FC), in the cases of enforced disappearances. “There was material on record to substantiate claims of the families that the victims were disappeared by the FC or had been killed while in custody,” says the fact-finding mission.

The report is based on information gathered by the HRCP fact-finding mission that visited Quetta, Khuzdar and Turbat (Makran) from May 4 to 7, 2011. The HRCP delegates interviewed people from different walks of life to get first-hand information on the human rights situation in the province.

The report mentions that the mission came across credible evidence of the involvement of state agencies, especially the Frontier Corps (FC), in the killing and enforced disappearance of citizens. FIRs registered against personnel of security agencies remain uninvestigated without exception and the courts have failed to ensure compliance with their orders. The report also says that enforced disappearances continue to be reported from all parts of the province.

Describing a new and worrying trend, HRCP Chairperson Zohra Yousuf said that previously the majority of missing persons used to return home but now only mutilated bodies of victims of enforced disappearance turn up on roadsides and desolate places. The report mentions the record of 140 such cases from July 2010 to May 2011. A large number of bodies are of university students.

A few among the Baloch nationalist elements tacitly condone these killings and others do not condemn them openly, the HRCP report said.

“The extremists treated members of religious minorities as fair game. The state, which is expected to hold itself to a higher standard, does not seem to be perturbed by actions of its agents, something that is apparent from a lack of investigation into allegations of serious human rights violations,” it added.

HRCP said, there are strong evidence of involvement of the security forces in enforced disappearances and killings. “FIRs registered against personnel of security agencies remain uninvestigated without exception. The police have not even managed to get an audience with the personnel of security forces accused of abducting the citizens, much less investigate them, and the courts have failed to ensure compliance with their orders,” the report further said.

The HRCP revealed that enforced disappearances continued to be reported from all parts of the province.

“Little headway has been made in ensuring the release of a large number of missing persons from unacknowledged custody of security agencies. The Commission set up to investigate the cases of enforced disappearance has been largely ineffective, leading to people’s frustration,” it said.

HRCP in its recommendation for improving situations stresses establishing rule of law and civilian control over law enforcing agencies. It also demanded good governance and role of lower courts in enforcing human rights.—Online



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