Jul 29, 2009

Balochistan: Senators Concerned Over Target Killings

Active ImageUS Senate strongly condemned recent target killings in Balochistan. The Senate also expressed concern over incidents of arrest following political activism in the province.
Below is an article published by International The News:

The members of the Senate on Tuesday strongly condemned target killings in Balochistan and also expressed concern over the arrest of scores of political activists in the province.

The issue of law and order in Balochistan was raised on points of order by senators Dr Abdul Malik, Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Gulshan Syed and Surraiya Amiruddin and Minister for Postal Services Mir Israrullah Zehri.

Baloch nationalist leader Mir Hasil Bizenjo asked the government to be careful while handling the Balochistan issue. “There should be some difference between the language being used by Minister for Interior Rehman Malik and the language used by Pervez Musharraf against Baloch leaders,” he said.

Bizenjo took strong exception to the words of Rehman Malik who had warned some Baloch leaders to lay down arms before entering into a dialogue. “Baloch leaders cannot compromise on their rights and if ministers continue to use such language, they should expect no cooperation from them,” he maintained.

He apprised the House that hundreds of workers of different political parties, including 50-60 workers of his own party, had been arrested in the recent past. Speaking on target killings, he observed that such incidents were taking place only because of the failure of intelligence agencies.

Federal Minister Israrullah Zehri also expressed concern over the law and order situation, saying that action should be taken against terrorists and innocent people should not be arrested. He said that a culprit who was arrested on charges of target killing was got released by members of an organisation. Senators Gulshan Saeed and Surraiya Amiruddin said that people from a particular province were being targeted in the killings.

Senator Afrasiyab Khattak observed that the presence of the Frontier Constabulary in Balochistan could create ethnic unrest in the province. The senators said that the people of the Punjab and their leaders had always struggled and talked about rights of the people of Balochistan then why were they being subjected to target killings in Balochistan.

Tahir Mashhadi, who was chairing proceedings of the House, said that if there were lawbreakers in the province, they should be brought to book but innocent people should not be arrested. He directed the Ministry of Interior to take notice of the situation.

Standing on a point of order, Maulana Gul Naseeb of the JUI-F demanded release of provincial leader of his party Maulana Abdul Mateen who, along with 24 others, was arrested from Lakki Marwat. He said that he had attended a function with Maulana Abdul Mateen at a seminary in Lakki Marwat and the next day the JUI-F leader was arrested.

Senator Dr Safdar Abbasi, while paying tributes to the services of ex-senator Dr Javed Leghari of the PPP, felt something fishy in his resignation. “I do not want to go into details of speculations behind the resignation of Javed Leghari and his replacement but he was a seasoned parliamentarian,” he said. He recalled that slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto had herself brought Javed Leghari to the Senate but now he had to resign from the Upper House.