Human Rights Commission of Pakistan: Fact-finding mission finds Balochistan worse off

Published: August 31, 2012

Report says Talibanisation fanning across province, and becoming increasingly home-grown. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

For the country’s largest and most-volatile province, there is little respite.

A recent fact-finding mission of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Balochistan reveals that Talibanisation is growing in several areas of the province and, as Quetta becomes a haven for militants, there is palpable fear that security forces are patronising the militancy.

The observations were noted by the mission in a report launched on Thursday.

The HRCP mission visited the province from May 15 to 19 to assess the impact of recent measures taken by the government with respect to the province, and to hear suggestions from stakeholders on a way out of the lingering crisis.

Findings

Talibanisation is growing in several areas and, unlike in the past, religious fanaticism is not merely being exported to the province from elsewhere – it is now being bred in Balochistan, the report notes.

A growing network of madrassas has contributed to aggravation of sectarian tensions and militant training camps are reported in the province, findings suggest.

While the government’s strategy vis-à-vis quelling the unrest in the province has largely failed, the report says there is a general opinion that if there is a genuine will and commitment to find solutions, the numerous challenges could be addressed.

The mission met members of the executive, representatives of political parties, civil society organisations, relatives of missing persons, religious and ethnic minority communities, businessmen, lawyers, journalists, teachers, students and senior government officials.

No improvement

According to the report, the situation in Balochistan, in many fundamental respects, has not changed since HRCP’s last fact-finding mission to the province in 2011. Enforced disappearances continue in the province as does the dumping of bodies and impunity for perpetrators.

Frontier Corps and intelligence agencies are generally believed to be involved in enforced disappearance; in some cases their involvement had been proved beyond doubt, the report says.

Multiple layers of violence

According to the report, there are multiple layers of violence and tension in Balochistan.

The crime wave that has engulfed urban Balochistan and the main highways is either a mark of collusion or utter incompetence of the authorities, the report notes.

It further says that kidnappings for ransom have become a profitable enterprise in the province and no perpetrator has been arrested or tried.

The provincial home minister had spoken of fellow Cabinet members’ involvement in this crime but no action was taken.

Target killings and crime on the basis of religious and ethnic identity has grown, the report says, adding that the continued persecution of the Hazaras is as ruthless as it is unprecedented.

Governance vacuum

The state abdicating its basic responsibility and NGOs retreating for fear of abduction of their staff has further aggravated the crises, the report says.

The government and development agencies have abandoned the troubled areas and the provincial government is nowhere to be seen in the crises. The chief minister is mostly away from the province and the provincial government holds meetings regarding Balochistan outside the province, findings reveal.

The report also mentions that there is a widespread feeling that the national media has abandoned Balochistan and has not given the province adequate coverage. Even when whole cities were shut down during a strike, the media did not report that. Journalists in the field feel threatened from the security forces, militants and insurgents, the report adds.

Armed to the teeth

Members of the mission were shocked at the glut of sophisticated firearms in Balochistan and the easy access to them, according to the report.

It defies belief that huge quantities of weapons could pass through a series of check-posts when the common citizen was stopped even for carrying a knife, the report says.

Had there been sincere efforts to curtail the flow of weapons, they would certainly have made a difference, the mission noted.

On a related note, findings reveal that the people generally express faith in the Levies force, because it is a local force, while the police is not well-regarded.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (7)

  • A J Khan
    Aug 31, 2012 - 2:10PM

    This report is biased towards Baloch Militants. The language is the same which is being used by BLA, BRA, BNF, BLUF, BNM, BNP (Mengal) and BRA etc.
    1. Who is responsible for ethnic cleansing. A visit to Khuzdar, Kalat, Mastung, Kohlu, Barkhan, Turbat, Panjgur and few other small towns and cities will reveal that all non Balochs have been evicted by force and their properties confiscated.
    2. Who Kills after seeing the NICs. Incidents have happened that passengers were searched and killed for ethnicities near Bolan, Sui and mastung.
    3. Who fires of on Public places, Trains and busses. Such cases have happened and claimed by BLA and BRA etc.
    4. Who killed the teachers and Doctors. Case of female lecturer of Balochistan university and Dr Chishty Mujahid is one case in point.
    **5. Who releases the terrorists on Flimsy Grounds Our Judiciary.
    6. Who provide legal protection to Terrorists. Our devils advocates.
    7. Who provide funds for \\madrassas. Our democratically elected Government. Please see it in the social sector of PSDP.
    8. Who are creating grounds for International intervention. They are quoting Supreme Court as an authority who considers state excesses and remain silent on terrorist’s excesses.

    Recommend

  • amjad khattak
    Aug 31, 2012 - 6:33PM

    its a fight between baloch and punjabi establishment and we are being victims of it. Recommend

  • Tufan Agha
    Aug 31, 2012 - 6:51PM

    @A J Khan:
    I AGREE.
    I can continue with the list and we all who live in Balochistan know how violence is cashed by these violent and militant outfits. Each Militant organization is itself a part of Political Party resultantly their violence is wrapped in a disguise. These political parties provide legal cover to their terrorists and also keep media and Judiciary in good humor.
    Any way as the game is prolonged, so everyone knows who is behind what. If a person is kidnapped or a car is lifted, people know where to go and where to buy back the freedom of your near and dears one or get your car. Even Police will guide you and assist you in dealing with the car lifter and a kidnapper.
    The social fabric of the society has been ripped and democracy, judicial activism and media have been badly mauled by the greed and fear combined.

    Recommend

  • Hasnain
    Sep 1, 2012 - 10:32AM

    @amjad khattak:
    Punjabi establishment? grow up man. Even after what has been happening to Punjab for last six years, do you think that a “Punjabi establishment” exists? You’re better than that, in fact, much better than that.

    Recommend

  • dpd
    Sep 2, 2012 - 8:25PM

    What is happening in the land of the PURE?
    This land was created as a result for MUSLIMS to live together.
    Forget your differences. Sit down and talk. Be a MUSLIM first then a Balochi or Punjabi.
    Islam is for ALL MUSLIMS … sunni, shia, deobandi, barelvi etc etc. No one is above Allah.

    Recommend

  • Sep 3, 2012 - 4:49PM

    Various countries possess various questions of the contravention of Legal Human rights and various needs of the different legal documents along with various procedures which will help in correcting the problems and its violations thereof

    Recommend

  • Sep 19, 2012 - 12:55PM

    Why did the elected Sardars disempower police and hand over power to the Frontier Corps and the Army as soon as they assumed office in 2008? Ironically this was an ‘undemocratic act’ by elected representatives to undo a ‘democratic action’ of a dictator, Musharaf, who had empowered police to enforce law in the whole of Baluchistan. By reversing that decision the Sardars have restricted police to only 5% of Baluchistan. Are the Sardars in cahoots with the Punjabi Establishment?Recommend

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