Balochistan situation getting out of control
March 04, 2011
The security situation in Balochistan has been deteriorating since five years mainly due to unemployment, poverty, destitution, bad governance and inaction of the provincial and federal governments to arrest the rot. Having lost hope, the public frustration has been stoked by political dissenters.
The Supreme Court observed that there was complete break- down in the largest province of the country, as even the convoys of Balochistan Governor, Chief Secretary and IGP were fired upon, while the lives of ordinary citizens were not safe.
‘The provincial government under the Constitution is bound to maintain law and order and at the same time the Federal government cannot stay back from its responsibilities particularly in prevailing situation of Balochistan’, it added.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani was hearing a Constitutional petition of President Balochistan High Court Bar Association (BHCBA) against the Federation and the law-enforcement agencies. The Federal government was aware of the situation in Balochistan but has not taken concrete steps, the bench observed.
President BHCBA Hadi Shakeel Ahmed has made Inspector General Police (IGP), Balochistan, IGs Frontier Corps Balochistan and Levies, heads of three top intelligence agencies, Federal government through Ministry of Interior and provincial government through Chief Secretary and Home Secretary as respondents.
The court noted with grave concern that the Federal government has so far not even filed report over the worsening law and order situation in the province. Attorney General Maulvi Anwar-ul-Haq has been directed to take up the matter directly with the Prime Minister and put up his reaction on the record.
The Federal and the provincial governments have been directed to protect the life and properties of citizens in Balochistan.
‘Notices were again issued to Federation through Secretary Ministry of Interior, IGs FC and Levies and DG Military Intelligence as they failed to submit their replies’.
The court ordered them to file their replies within three days.
On the other hand Government must immediately provide accountability for the "alarming number of killings and abductions in Balochistan attributed to government forces" in recent months, Amnesty International has demanded.
In the last four months, at least 90 Baloch activists, teachers, journalists and lawyers have disappeared or been murdered, many in 'kill and dump' operations, according to the information compiled by AI. Their bullet-ridden bodies, most bearing torture marks, have been recovered across Balochistan.
"Since October, every month has seen an increase in the cases of alleged disappearances and unlawful killings," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Director.
"These atrocities are carried out with flagrant impunity. Credible investigations into these incidents - resulting in prosecutions - are absolutely necessary to establish some trust between the Baloch people and the Pakistan government," Zarifi added.
The victims' relatives and Baloch groups blame the 'kill and dump' incidents on Pakistani security forces, particularly the Frontier Corps and intelligence agencies.
"Human rights abuses attributed to the security agencies have created a climate of fear for the families of the disappeared. They are terrified to speak out in fear that security agents will kill their loved ones or abduct other family members in reprisal," Zarifi said.
Amnesty International called on the Pakistan government to investigate all alleged human rights abuses, including all "disappearances" recorded by the judicial Commission of Inquiry for Missing Persons, to bring all perpetrators of abuses to justice, whether they belong to security forces or non-state armed groups, and ensure that all individuals brought to justice receive a fair trial and are not subjected to torture or any abuse in detention.
It also urged Baloch armed groups to avoid attacks that target or endanger civilians, in the face of escalating attacks on government workers and non-Baloch residents of the province.
"Baloch armed groups must also avoid endangering civilians," said Zarifi, adding, "The apparent targeting of civilians, teachers and government officials by Baloch groups, has forced many of them to flee the province, which only worsens conditions for the already poorly-served Baloch people."
In another shocking incident, two senior judges of Balochistan mysteriously went missing along with a bodyguard and a driver from the Usta Muhammad area of Jaffarabad district.
It is pertinent to mention that Sessions Judge Sibbi Jan Muhammad Gohar and Senior Civil Judge Muhammad Ali Kakar had gone to Usta Muhammad to attend a marriage ceremony.
They went missing last night near the Bayer area of Usta Muhammad on their way back to Sibbi after attending the wedding. While confirming the abduction of judges, Naseerabad Assistant Commissioner Fateh Muhammad Kajak said that both judges, after taking tea with a friend in Dera Murad Jamali, left for Usta Muhammad and after sometime their contact with their family members was disconnected.
“The vehicle of Jan Muhammad Gohar has been recovered from Goth Abdul Samad near Dera Murad Jamali. However, their whereabouts are not known,” he said, adding that all-out efforts were being made for the safe recovery of judges.
Talking to media, Secretary Home and Tribal Affairs Akbar Hussain Durrani said that district administrations of Naseerabad and Jaffarabad and law enforcement agencies had been put on high alert and a search operation launched for the safe recovery of the judges.
“Government and law enforcement agencies have narrowed down space for anti-social elements and now in order to create harassment, they are taking such steps,” he said, adding that previously Deputy Commissioner Jhal Magsi was abducted and later abductors released him because of government efforts. “Judges were traveling without proper security,” he said, adding that the government is using all available resources for their safe recovery.
No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction of judges till filing this report late Sunday night.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, while taking serious notice of the abduction of two judges from Naseerabad district, ordered the authorities concerned to take steps for their immediate recovery. The chief minister also ordered the officials to submit a detailed report of the incident to him as soon as possible.
“The chief minister has directed the Balochistan home secretary, IGP and Naseerabad commissioner to immediately take measures for recovery of the judges, who went missing from Naseerabad district on Sunday,” an official handout said.
Raisani directed to constitute joint teams, comprising officials and personnel of law enforcement agencies, police and Levies Force, to trace out the whereabouts of the abductors of the judges in order to recover them. He directed the authorities to inform him about every development in this connection.
Political experts believe that the sheer performance of democratic government has been lackluster while lawyer’s movement in war torn Balochistan could turn the tides as lawlessness is taking heavy toll and incumbents must take down to earth steps if they want revolutionary changes otherwise dire consequences looks on the cards.