Rejecting allegations about Frontier Corps (FC) involvement in the killing and dumping of missing persons’ bodies, FC Inspector-General Major General Ubaidullah Khattak simultaneously voiced concern over the issue.
“I believe 99 per cent of the people whose bullet-riddled bodies were found dumped in different places of Balochistan were criminals and had been killed by their own organisation,” Khattak said during a news briefing at FC headquarters in Quetta. “Covert organisations first use these people for subversive activities and later kill them.”
‘FC presence necessary for security’
Defending the presence of paramilitary troops in Balochistan, he said the FC was in the province to maintain law and order following the directives of the Balochistan government, adding, “The FC will withdraw from the area once tribal elders and civil society ensure that there will be no crime. We were called in by the provincial government and recently they demanded that the FC also be deployed in the Harnai and Sharag area,” he told reporters.
According to information shared by the FC, as many as 3,000 people including 1,136 security personnel and 886 civilians were killed while 1,335 people sustained injures in 1,335 incidents of violence in Balochistan over the past two years.
According to Khattak, violence in Balochistan has seen a decline. In 2011 a total of 1,328 incidents of violence were reported as against 1,425 incidents in 2010. The FC inspector-general also expressed concern over the increasing incident of kidnapping for ransom, adding that it had become a lucrative business in Balochistan where ‘influential people’ were behind such cases.
Responding to another query, he said Shamsi Airbase had been in control of the Pakistan Army since December 11. “A board has been set up to compile a report on the airbase and it is possible that FC will be given responsibility for providing security in the coming days,” he added.
Responding to a question, he said that the FC had adopted a new policy to recruit the people of Balochistan into the paramilitary in order to increase their representation in the force. He said 1,000 vacant jobs will be filled with Baloch people over the next few months. The present representation of Balochistan in the force is 10.4 per cent, he added.
Stranded Nato tankers
Emphasising the role of the provincial government, Khattak said that Nato oil tankers and containers were being sent back to Karachi following the directives of the Balochistan administration.
“As many as 41 NATO oil tankers are parked in different parts of Balochistan while 91 NATO oil tankers have been sent back to Karachi so far,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2011.