Thursday, 6 January 2011

Abuses in Balochistan, Daily Times Editorial

Abuses in Balochistan, Daily Times Editorial\01\07\story_7-1-2011_pg3_1

The sorry saga of Balochistan’s struggle for rights continues. Two more bullet-riddled bodies of Baloch Students Organisation-Azad (BSO-A) have been found in Pasni Road in Turbat on Wednesday. One of them Qambar Chakar, 25, was deputy organiser of BSO-A in Shal zone and had been picked up from near his residence in Turbat on November 27, 2010. The other one, Ilyas Baloch, 24, was a student of Balochistan University and had been picked up by unidentified persons 16 days ago near Ormara, while he was on his way to Gwadar. Each of them had received three bullets and their bodies bore signs of torture. These young men might have simply disappeared never to be found again, but there has been a visible shift in tactics on the part of the security agencies during the past few months. Earlier, Baloch activists, mostly moderate nationalists or student activists, simply disappeared from the scene, without a trace. Now they reappear – dead and their bodies disfigured. Perhaps the thinking behind this policy is that it would frighten the Baloch into submission. Or because the pressure is mounting on the security agencies to produce the missing persons, which they are now doing in this form to silence the protesting relatives. There cannot be a bigger miscalculation. Instead of cowering the Baloch, this brutality is spreading their cause and strengthening their resolve even more. On the other hand, the international community is gradually waking up to the reality of Pakistani security forces’ excesses in Balochistan. Human rights agencies have consistently reported that thousands of Baloch activists have been rounded up during the last decade. Just recently The New York Times revealed that a US State Department report has shown concern over enforced disappearances in Balochistan as well as extra-judicial killings in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Reportedly, the US refused to impart training to half a dozen army units charged with killing suspects. According to this news report, the US had privately confronted Pakistan with evidence of human rights abuses by its security forces.

If this pattern of abuse continues, Pakistan should prepare for a tragedy like East Pakistan. *

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