LAHORE: Talibanisation is growing in several areas of Balochistan and security forces might be patronising militants, turning Quetta into a haven for militants, according to the fact finding mission of the Human Right Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Balochistan.
The HRCP mission had visited the province from May 15 to 19 to assess the impact of the recent measures taken by the government for Balochistan and to take suggestions from stakeholders to come up with a way to end the lingering crisis in the province, culminating in the report released on Thursday.
The report observed that religious fanaticism was not being exported to the province from outside, rather it was being bred within Balochistan. A burgeoning network of madrassas was contributing to the aggravation of inter-sect tensions. It stated that militants have managed to establish training camps in the troubled province.
According to the findings, there are multiple layers of violence and tensions prevailing in Balochistan. The crime wave engulfing urban parts of the province, its main highways is either a mark of collusion or utter incompetence of the authorities. The government, law enforcement and security agencies have completely failed to deal with militants, insurgents, and other criminal elements. NGO workers fear abduction, and development agencies have abandoned the troubled area.
The chief minister, the report noted spent most of his time out of the province, and the provincial government has not only failed but also conducts its meetings outside the province.
The report further says that kidnapping for ransom has become a profitable enterprise in the province and perpetrators have never been arrested or tried. The provincial home minister once claimed that cabinet members were involved in criminal activities but no action has ever been taken. Target killings and victimisation on the basis of religion and ethnicity has grown. Hazaras are still being persecuted ruthlessly. Numerous people believe that if perpetrators would have been brought to book, killings wouldn’t have augmented with time.
Members of the mission were shocked at the glut and easy availability of sophisticated firearms in the war torn Balochistan. It questions on how huge quantities of weapons were passing through a series of check-posts when common citizens were stopped even if detected of carrying a knife. The mission noted that the government could have stopped the free flow of arms if sincere efforts would have been taken previously.
The report concluded that the government’s strategy to counter these forces had failed. However, the reported offered a general opinion that if there is genuine will and commitment from the authorities to find solution to issues faced, the numerous challenges could be addressed.
Commenting on how the mission collected facts and arrived at the conclusions that it stated, they explained having met members of the executive, representatives of political parties, civil society, organisations, relatives of missing persons, members of the religious and ethnic minority communities, businessmen, lawyers, journalists, teachers, students, and senior government officials.
On the efforts made by the government to redress the situation, the report noted that the situation had failed to improve since HRCP’s last fact-finding mission in 2011. The province, it noted, is in a mess with enforced disappearances, cases of dumped bodies and impunity to the perpetrators.
It also noted that the Frontier Corps and intelligence agencies are generally believed to be involved in enforced disappearances of people. In some cases, their involvement has been proved beyond reasonable doubt. The police too are not trusted. Instead, the people put more faith in the Levies force since they comprises of locals.
There is a widespread feeling that media has abandoned Balochistan; it didn’t give it the coverage it deserved. Media failed to report the shutter down strikes witnessed in the area. The truth is that journalists feel threatened from the security forces, militants and insurgents, the report revealed.