HRCP concerned over ‘worsening’ situation in Balochistan
KARACHI: As the Balochistan situation continues to worsen, the tribal chieftains have become irrelevant there and the youth who have taken over resent the treatment they have been getting from the government for the past many years, said the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan chief here on Saturday.
Speaking at a press conference held in connection with the International Human Rights Day, observed around the globe on Dec 10, at the Karachi Press Club, HRCP chief Zohra Yusuf said that keeping in view the severity of the situation in Balochistan, the HRCP had dedicated this year’s day for that victimised province and its people. She said the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti, when retired Gen Pervez Musharraf was at the helm, was a turning point.
She said whether it was a martial law or a civilian government in the country, the military had been ruling Balochistan for long and even now military and paramilitary forces controlled the province. She said she did not know why the politicians there had been in the government when time and again the civilian rulers had been saying that they had no power.
She deplored that though 107 new cases of enforced disappearance had been recorded by the HRCP, over 225 bodies of such “disappeared” people had been found and over 80 people belonging to a Muslim minority sect had been killed in cold blood, the government had remained unmoved despite that in certain incidents “the killers” had even claimed responsibility. She said the nationalists groups put the number of people who had gone missing as high as 10,000.
She expressed concern over the targeted killing of teachers, intellectuals, and non-Baloch “settlers” and urged the political elements in the province to condemn these killings and play their role in ending such callous acts of violence.
Answering a question regarding a foreign hand behind the worsening situation in Balochistan, she said the government had been referring to it time and again but had produced no evidence supporting its claim. She said the HRCP had so far seen no evidence suggesting a foreign hand being behind the Balochistan situation.
She said the HRCP had sent its four missions to Balochistan since 2003 to evaluate the situation and had also given its recommendations to the government to improve the situation, but they had fallen on deaf ears. HRCP councilors Ghazi Salahuddin, Uzma Noorani and Amarnath Motumal also spoke.
One-minute silence was observed for human rights activist Zarteef Khan Afridi who was killed a few days back in Khyber Agency. He was one of the six HRCP coordinators in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. After getting threats, five of them had left their places, but Mr Afridi had stayed on.
A large number of people also joined human rights activists in a candlelit vigil held at the KPC after the press conference.