Police powers to FC in Balochistan: A futile measure

The FC hasn't arrested a single terrorist since they got their additional police powers! What's the use then?

Zafar Baloch January 22, 2013
In Balochistan, the police are currently enjoying additional powers under the Police Act of the British colonial days to raid, arrest, detain and prosecute anyone found violating the laws of the land.

The police enjoy the power to search any suspected place where criminals are hiding illegal weapons, narcotics and other contraband goods. When violent incidents increased in the province, mainly through the targeted killing of Hazara Shias by terrorists in Quetta and its outskirts, the provincial government gave police powers to the Frontier Corps (FC) to raid, arrest, detain and question suspects involved in targeted killings and other heinous crimes.

Opposition parties, mainly Baloch nationalists, had condemned the additional police powers given to the Frontier Corps, as it was seen as a move which suppressed the sentiments of Baloch people struggling for their national rights. On the other hand, there were massive complaints against the Frontier Corps, including its involvement in enforced disappearances, kidnappings and torture.

The government claimed that it wanted to pacify the Hazara community by giving additional police powers to the FC as the police had failed to protect the lives of vulnerable Hazara people in all parts of Quetta, and had thus come under much criticism. The police powers to FC, however, were used against the Baloch nationalists by mounting massive ‘siege and search’ operations in Baloch settlements of Saryab Road which the political activists termed ‘the Gaza Strip of Balochistan’.

According to observers, the FC has not arrested a single terrorist involved in Shia killings since it got those powers months ago. There is no report that the FC has raided any terrorist hideout.

What, then, is the purpose behind the ‘additional powers’?
Zafar Baloch A Quetta based reporter working for The Express Tribune
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