NA human rights committee condemns killing of Chechens
By Mumtaz Alvi
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights Wednesday strongly condemned the Kharotabad massacre of five foreigners, found glaring contradictions in the police officer’s probe report and summoned the officer to explain his position on his findings regarding the incident. It also summoned the ex-CCPO and present CCPO and called for their arrest if they did not turn up at the next meeting.
The committee expressed its anguish over the naked aggression of the Frontier Constabulary and police on the unarmed Chechens, including a pregnant woman and formed a fact-finding panel, consisting of the PM’s Adviser on Human Rights Mustafa Khokhar, Farahnaz Isphahani, Raheela Baloch, Kishwar Zehra, and other MNAs who will visit Quetta and furnish an independent report on the tragic incident. The IG Frontier Constabulary has also been summoned in the next meeting.
Riaz Hussain Fatyana chaired the deliberations, held at the Parliament House. The act of law-enforcement agencies was dubbed criminal and the panel regretted that the police, instead of performing its legal duty, had taken away the gold necklace recovered from one of the victim’s bodies. The incident took place on May 17 at a check post in a Quetta locality called Kharotabad.
The committee castigated the capital city police officer (CCPO) and ex-CCPO for not attending the meeting despite notices issued to them well in time and asked that both officials be summoned at the next meeting fixed for June 29. If they failed to turn up, the committee would recommend their arrest and production before it.
“Defying us is like defying the parliament and we shall not tolerate this next time,” Fatyana told The News after the meeting. He said the tragedy had caused embarrassment to Pakistan at the international level while people at home felt increasingly insecure, fearing the gruesome act could be repeated any time.
The NA panel pointed out that the committee had found too many contradictions in the probe report. At one point, it is mentioned that the foreigners were taken into custody; how then did they manage to run away, asked the committee. The report talked about suicide jackets; that the foreigners used a bomb and died in a blast whereas the report itself contradicted all these claims. Police surgeon Baqir Shah, in his postmortem findings, also noted that the victims died of bullet wounds and there was no sign of any other cause of death.
Fatyana said video clips also clearly showed how at ease and casual security personnel were in committing the barbaric action against the unarmed persons. He noted that the committee felt that a very negative message had been sent across the world that people, even foreigners, were not safe in Pakistan where security offices had been given the licence to kill and go scot-free.
The committee recommended that a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs be present during the next meeting to weigh the option of moving the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The committee, he made it clear, would make sure justice was done and the culprits were punished accordingly. The Ministry of Human Rights was asked to pursue the matter and ensure the submission of the fact-finding committee’s report before June 29.
About the Abbottabad firing case of April 12, 2010, the committee asked an official of the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that clear-cut directions were given by the Ministry of Human Rights on May 12, 2011, and three FIRs were registered, but no action has been taken yet.
The Additional Secretary, (Police) KP clarified that the federal government had not yet been consulted in this connection. The committee agitated against this and gave a seven-day deadline to Muhammad Ramazan, Additional Secretary (Police), Home Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for completion of the proceedings.
“If directions are not implemented by June 20, 2011, action shall be initiated against the Chief Secretary and IGP, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa through the federal secretary, Establishment. They should be called in the next meeting,” the committee recommended.
The committee reiterated that the matter must be dealt with an iron hand and officers concerned would face consequences.
Farahnaz Isphahani, Samina Mushtaq Pugganwala, Raheela Baloch, Fauzia HabibDr Mehreen Razzaque Bhutto, Dr Araish Kumar, Kishwar Zehra, Jawad Hussain, Syed Mumtaz Alam Gillani, and others attended the meeting.
The committee also expressed concern about the incident of Islamabad Police stopping a parliamentarians’ vehicle for one hour when they were on their way to attend the joint session of Parliament.
Source: The News