Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pakistan paramilitary force (FC) accountable for killings & dumping Balochs in Balochistan

The Supreme Court (SC) has given another warning to the Frontier Corps (FC) for the recovery of missing persons while hearing the case on the law and order situation in Balochistan. This time round the warning is laced with the threat to arrest and initiate criminal proceedings against all those FC personnel nominated in FIRs as the abductors of missing persons. The FC has been denying having any involvement in the abductions or the disappearance of people in Balochistan. After accumulating enough evidence, the SC had sought a Joint Report from the law enforcement agencies over the prevailing law and order situation in the province. The report submitted to the court was rejected on the ground that it did not carry the signatures of the IG police, IG FC, Defence or Interior secretaries. The Advocate General (AG) Balochistan has quite candidly explained the reason for the report bearing only the signature of the Chief Secretary: “Nobody is ready to take responsibility for the crisis in Balochistan; nobody wants to own it.” The report even failed to tell why the government had been unsuccessful in controlling law and order in Balochistan and made little comment on the issue of missing persons. Given more time, the AG will now submit the amended report on July 31, beyond which the court is liable to issue a verdict that fits the current situation.  This is perhaps where the solution to the Balochistan problem lies. Unless the FC is held accountable, there seems little chance that they would show any restraint in killing and dumping people. Whenever the SC holds hearings on Balochistan at the Quetta Registry, dead bodies start turning up, sending the signal of an ‘unrestrained force’ that is adamant in going about its ‘business’ without any fear or qualms. Even if the AG produces a report duly signed by all the concerned authorities, how would it guarantee peace in the province? There must be many such reports exposing the criminalities of the law enforcers, which by now is a known fact. Unless the mechanism of accountability is established and those responsible for the massacre in the province are taken to task, no report is going to bring even a semblance of change in the situation of Balochistan. Prosecuting the FC personnel nominated in the FIRs could prove the catalyst for change in strife-torn Balochistan. When there is enough evidence about the FC’s involvement in abducting people, why should the law not be allowed to take its course, especially when sufficient time has been given by the SC for the recovery of the missing persons?
A few weeks back, when the FC denied its involvement in the kill and dump activity, the entire Balochistan went on strike to protest the claim. This shows the level of mistrust and enmity among the people of Balochistan against the FC. The solution obviously lies in withdrawing the FC from the province, but until this bold step is finally taken, the court-led opprobrium against the FC will continue. The SC has appreciated Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for setting up a committee to seek a solution to the law and order situation in Balochistan and has hoped it will be instrumental in bringing the desired results. This points to the way forward by means of finding a political solution to the Balochistan problem. Though the FC remains a thorn in their side, the alienation of the Baloch leaders is an equally big stumbling block to achieving any peace in the province. To prevent this committee from becoming another sham, a collaborative action among the institutions, especially with the SC’s support, could help the restoration of Balochistan to a peaceful province able then to tackle the plethora of Baloch grievances *\07\28\story_28-7-2012_pg3_1

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