Sifting fact from fiction: Home secretary says missing persons data is hugely inflated

Published: July 28, 2015
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Senate rights body briefed on Balochistan situation. STOCK IMAGE

Senate rights body briefed on Balochistan situation. STOCK IMAGE

QUETTA: Some 853 bodies have been found dumped from different parts of Balochistan, while 156 people have been listed as missing since 2010, Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said on Monday.

The home secretary was giving a briefing to the Senate’s Standing Committee on Human Rights in Quetta.

“Around 853 bodies were found from 2010 to 2015, while merely 156 people were listed as missing,” he said.

Durrani said the figures were in sharp contrast to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) claims that there are 8,000 missing persons. According to him, officials of the commission have only provided a list of 102 victims of enforced disappearances.

The standing committee comprises senators Farhatullah Babar, Dr Jahanzeb Jamaldini, Samina Abida, Nisar Mohammed, Mufti Abdul Sattar and Mohsin Leghari. Chief Secretary Saifullah Chattha, IG Police Mohammed Amlesh, DIG Frontier Corps Brigadier Tahir Mehmood and Quetta police chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema also briefed the committee about the law and order situation in Balochistan.

Durrani claimed that the government is struggling with law and order solely in three districts—Gwadar, Turbat and Panjgur. Elsewhere in Balochistan, peace has taken a firm root. Still, there has been a sharp decline in highway robberies and kidnappings in the province.

Sectarian violence remains a scourge. According to the home department, as many as 93 incidents of sectarian violence have occurred in Balochistan since 2011 till date in which 563 people of the Hazara community have been killed and 648 wounded.

Chief Secretary Chattha informed the committee that the killing of 22 Pashtuns in Mastung district was a nefarious plot to sow ethnic hate between two brotherly communities in Balochistan. The families of the victims had informed the committee that they were not given the million rupees compensation announced by the chief minister.

DIG Frontier Corps Brigadier Tahir Mehmood said the paramilitary force is targeting anti-state elements. “The FC is a well-organised force working within its legitimate mandate,” he said.

The committee urged the provincial authorities to pay the announced compensatory money to the grieving families of the Mastung massacre and ensure that their children were enrolled in schools.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2015. 

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