Sep 19, 2011

Balochistan: HRCP Concerned Over Human Rights Situation

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has affirmed that based on new evidence the human rights situation in Balochistan is continuing to get worsen. They report increasing numbers of recovered bodies of disappeared persons and mounting fear among a populace living in a state of ‘lawlessness’.

Below is an article published by Daily Times:

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Balochistan chapter, on Saturday [18.09.11], expressed its serious concern over the increasing number of decomposed bodies of missing persons being recovered from different parts of Balochistan.

HRCP Quetta chapter Chairman Tahir Hussain Advocate and Zahoor Shahwani, while addressing a news conference, said that situation was going from bad to worse in the province, as security personnel themselves were not secure from attacks.

They said that most of the people did not come forward to record their statements out of fear. “The hoardings displayed in Hindu dominated areas of the province demanding security for members of the community reflect the state of lawlessness and prevailing sense of fear,” they told the reporters.

They said the number of mutilated dead bodies of missing persons was increasing with each passing day. “Around 188 decomposed dead bodies have so far been dumped in desolate places in different parts of Balochistan since June 4, 2010,” they said, adding, “Most of the victims were political opponents, students and cream of the society.” Quoting a report, they said that those lawyers who appeared before courts in connection with the cases of missing persons were also killed. HRCP council member Zahoor Shahwani said the Commission had set up a special cell for collecting evidence and documents about persons who were whisked away by the authorities. “Around 12 families submitted documents relating to the disappearances of their loved ones,” he said, adding, “Those who resurfaced later on or were freed are reluctant to record their statements in courts.” 

He said petitions were also filed in the Supreme Court, Balochistan High Court and other courts regarding enforced disappearances, and immediate steps were desperately needed to resolve the issue. It is pertinent to mention here that the interior minister claimed merely 44 people were missing in Balochistan, while, on the contrary, relatives of Baloch missing persons say they have complete data about 1,300 missing persons.

HRCP office bearers demanded the government to seek political solution to problems of Balochistan instead of using brute force. “Issues are political in nature, thus negotiations must be held with the stakeholders,” they asserted. According to the HRCP, 83 people, including teachers, political leaders and policemen, were killed in 50 incidents of target killings this year while 58 persons lost their lives and 74 were injured in 58 bomb blasts.

Around 26 incidents of kidnapping for ransom took place in Balochistan in which two persons were killed and five Hindus were released after paying ransom.

HRCP has expressed its serious concern over the recovery of bullet-riddled corpses of missing persons and said such kinds of actions were condemnable. HRCP has criticised the government for not taking any action or arresting any person responsible for abducting, killing and maiming people. 

According to the HRCP, even the personnel of law-enforcement agencies are not safe anymore from attacks by miscreants.

“Minority members confront kidnappings and forced marriages,” HRCP members said. 

They said that even people of the Hindu community had now stopped sending their children to schools due to lack of security. “Traders, doctors and even retailers are being kidnapped or threatened,” said Tahir Hussain.