Balochistan — the battlefield of foreign agencies
June 15, 2012
For years now the people of Balochistan have been facing lawlessness, fear and bloodshed, but the blast outside a seminary killing 16 people, including three innocent children, has once again painted the streets of Quetta with blood.
At least 16 people, including three children, were killed and 46 others injured in a bomb explosion near the gate of a seminary here on Thursday (June 7). The victims included three relatives of JUI-F Secretary General Senator Maulana Ghafoor Haideri, family sources said.
“The target of the attack was the seminary in Satellite Town where a certificate awarding ceremony was underway when the powerful explosion took place,” DIG (operation) Qazi Wahid said. Police said the bomb was mounted on a bicycle parked near the main gate of Jamia Islamia Miftahul Uloom. Eight people died on the spot and eight more died of injuries in hospital.
The injured were first taken to the Civil Hospital, but most of them were later shifted to the Combined Military Hospital. Sources said several of them were in critical condition. Most of the victims were students, their parents and others who were trying to enter the seminary to attend the ‘dastar bandi’ of the pupils who had completed their course. The students, teachers and other people inside the seminary remained unhurt. The explosive device was concealed in garlands loaded on the bicycles. “Security personnel deployed in the area and other people thought the garlands had been brought for the students,” the DIG said.
The flowers lay scattered in the area after the blast and the pieces of bicycle were found up to 300 meters away. “Ball bearings, nuts, bolts and nails were used in the explosive device,” an official of the bomb disposal squad, adding that around 6kg of explosives had been used in the improvised explosive device (IED), which was detonated with a timer. Emergency was declared in government hospitals and law enforcement personnel cordoned off the area. Some people resorted to firing from nearby buildings after the explosion, spreading panic and hampering rescue work. Several vehicles and buildings were damaged in the explosion that rocked a large area.
The victims were identified as six-year-old Faizan, eight-year-old Mohammad Yunus, 10-year-old Faiz, Nazakat, Pir Bakhsh, Haji Anayatullah, Qari Ataur Rehman, Rahatullah, Nazir Ahmed, Kalimullah, Qari Hussain Ahmed, Mohibullah, Abdul Karim, Bilal, Irfan and Abdul Karim.
Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Quetta Mir Zubair confirmed it was a remote-controlled blast. “There is a law and order problem in Quetta. However, the seminaries were not receiving any threats,” he said, adding that despite limited resources the police were performing their duties to ensure peace.
Governor Balochistan Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani condemned the blast and asked the authorities concerned to probe the incident and bring the culprits to book. The investigators are clueless about the explosions. “It would not be substantial to comment on this fatal incident,” a senior police officer said.
Condemning the blast, District Ameer of Jamiat Ulema Islam Senator Hafiz Hamdullah said millions of rupees were being utilized in the name of providing security to public but despite that the law enforcement agencies had failed to protect them. He said international secret agencies were disturbing peace in the province. He said the government had failed to protect the public. He further said that the president and prime minister’s authority existed only on paper and practically they had no authority. He said the GHQ and army had worsened the situation in Balochistan and Pakistan. Through a well-through-out conspiracy sectarianism is being spread in Balochistan and the explosion outside the seminary is part of this nefarious plan, he added.
Meanwhile, the issue of enforced disappearances in Balochistan is complicating day by day. Recovery of bodies has become a source of mental torture for the families while the government is busy forming committees. The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VFBMP) has announced the boycott of the hearing of a joint investigation team, which is probing the missing persons issue in Quetta.
VFBMP Chairman Nasrullah Baloch announced this at a hunger-strike camp outside the Quetta Press Club. He said the relatives of the missing persons had no trust in the judicial commission. “We don’t trust the investigation team and commission as it failed to give any result earlier. The relatives have pinned all their hope on the Supreme Court now,” he said, adding that the government had formed two committees earlier but they had not been able to submit report on the missing persons. He alleged that the head of the investigation team was a secret agency official.
Meanwhile, the head of the inquiry commission on ‘missing persons’ Justice (R) Javed Iqbal on Saturday said foreign intelligence agencies were deteriorating situation in Balochistan. Addressing a press conference in Quetta, Javed Iqbal said foreign intelligence agencies wanted to deteriorate the situation of Balochistan and to destabilize Pakistan. He said no state institution had a confirmed report on the number of missing persons, adding that a baseless propaganda was being done about the number of missing persons. He said the number of missing persons was 440 out of which 44 people had been recovered in the last three months by the commission. “For the past decade, authorities have been unable to compile complete the details of missing persons,” Iqbal said.
Justice Iqbal, however, said according to the commission the total number of missing persons stood at 460, including 18 from Islamabad, 117 from Punjab, 174 from Sindh 170 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 57 from Balochistan and 12 each from Azad Kashmir and Federally Administered Areas (FATA). He said 42 bodies of missing persons were found in Balochistan. He further said that the list also contained the names of those living abroad and also those who had been involved in terrorism-related cases.
Iqbal said the chief minister of Balochistan had sent a list of 945 ‘missing’ persons to the commission. Iqbal moreover said that complete details of even 45 persons on the list had not been made available.
“We had sent the list back to the ministry for correction but it never came back,” he added. He further claimed that there was concrete evidence about the involvement of foreign agencies in the country. Justice Javed Iqbal said that in the past week 12 missing persons had been recovered from Balochistan. He claimed that some of the missing persons were in Afghanistan but they could not be recovered because they were in the US-controlled territory. Iqbal said the federal government had taken the missing persons’ issue seriously but trust in the state’s institutions was imperative in order to resolve it.