The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) Chairman Nasrullah Baloch on Wednesday condemned Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal’s statement on missing persons, slamming it as biased and in support of the intelligence agencies.
Addressing a press conference here at a hunger strike camp set up by relatives of missing persons outside the Quetta Press Club, Baloch said Justice Iqbal, who is heading the third judicial commission on missing persons, had twisted the facts during his meeting with the UN working group on enforced disappearances by stating the number of missing persons to be 26.
Contradicting the figure, Baloch said that 194 cases of enforced disappeared Baloch youth were under Justice Iqbal’s bench when he was hearing cases of missing persons, adding that the retired justice was speaking the language of Pakistani intelligence agencies who, he said, were involved in the disappearances and deaths of Baloch youth.
Baloch said various tactics were being deployed to prevent the UN working group from visiting Balochistan, saying a recent statement by Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) in which they threatened a long march against the UN working group, was a testament to his argument.
“We have never witnessed any protests from the DPC platform in favour of Baloch missing persons. Are they not Muslims?” Baloch asked rhetorically.
He appreciated the step by the UN to investigate the cases of Baloch missing persons and expressed optimism over the working group’s future investigations.
“We have been given two hours which is insufficient to place all the facts before the UN mission. There are a number of victims’ families who cannot make it to Quetta. I, therefore, request the commission to reach out to the victims’ families in far flung areas,” Baloch added.
Meanwhile, Balochistan National Party (BNP) acting president Dr Jehanzaib Jamaldini on Wednesday said that he was disappointed to find out about the chief justice’s refusal to meet the UN working group.
Jamaldini regretted Justice Iqbal’s statement, saying it had rubbed salt on the wounds of the Baloch people and was an attempt to mislead the UN working group.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2012.