Pakistan: Government issues false statements about
Ch. Narendra, May 6, 2008
Photo: A file photo -- Amina Masood Janjua, with two
of her children, protested in Rawalpindi over the disappearance
of her husband, Masood Ahmed Janjua. Rights groups
say intelligence agencies have detained hundreds.
Publication Date 6/5/2008 5:01:22 PM(IST)
The newly elected government of Pakistan has constituted
two committees for Balochistan province, one for
missing persons and the other for internally-displaced
persons. Of all of the country's provinces, Balochistan
suffered was the worst hit by the violence perpetrated
by the armed forces including the army and Air Force.
Since 2001 hundreds of people have been killed in
aerial bombardments which allegedly utilised American
made and supplied F16 fighter/bombers. At the same
time the land forces displaced thousands of people
in order to construct their cantonments and for the
land of Gwader Port project.
The political and nationalist forces are claiming
that at least 4000 persons are missing after arrests
and 200,000 persons have been displaced due to military
action. (Please see AHRC-STM-085-2008, AS-204-2006,
AS-199-2006 and several other urgent appeals and statements
on the conditions of Balochistan province at our website
According to the Senator Baber Awan of the ruling
Pakistan People's Party and secretary of its "reconciliatory
Committee on Balochistan", the government has
set up two committees to investigate cases of missing
persons and internally displaced people.
The Senator, on behalf of ruling party, has announced
the names of committee regarding internally displaced
persons due to military operation but has yet to announce
the names of committee members investigating missing
persons. His announcement of the setting up of the
committees came just two days after the visit of the
Prime Minister to Balochistan.
The Prime Minister, Mr. Yousaf Raza Gillani, during
his visit on May 2, 2007, announced that it has been
decided that no army action will be carried out in
the province until a strategy is formulated in consultation
with representatives of the provincial government to
deal with the issue of law and order in the province.
The prime minister also ordered the release and withdrawal
of cases against all political leaders of the province
including Mr. Sardar Akhtar Mengal, the former chief
minister of the Balochistan.
However, the nationalists and political groups are
claiming that the announcements by the newly elected
government is nothing more than a lip service as no
cases have yet been withdrawn, no one has yet been
released and the names of the members of the committee
on missing persons have not yet been announced. The
prime minister also announced plans to replace 6000
army personnel with the Frontier Constabulary (FC),
but army is there with its full strength.
The current situation is very much the reverse of
what the prime minister and other people from ruling
parties are announcing. The disappearances still continue
and in a recent event on April 28, just four days before
the visit of the prime minister to Quetta, the provincial
capital of Balochistan, military personnel attacked
and raided different houses and hostels of Khuzdar
Degree College at the city of Khuzdar and arrested
more than 200 persons. Among them ten persons are missing.
On April 29, army officials raided the house of comrade
Ghaffar, the district president of the Jamhoori Watan
Party, a nationalist group, since then his whereabouts
are unknown. The attack on the civilians was carried
out after the killing of two persons from military
A separatist organization, the Balochistan Liberation
Army, claimed responsibility for the killings but in
retaliation army attacked the whole city. The prime
minister announced the withdrawal of the armed forces
but the army has made no moves to leave the province.
On May 2, when the prime minister was visiting Balochistan
five persons were kidnapped by the law enforcement
agencies and their charred bodies were later found
in the center of market place of Dera Bugti city.
These persons, namely, Mr. Nazar Mohammad Bugti,
Rustam Bugti and Jeo Bugti (the names of other two
were not available), were arrested before witnesses,
by military personnel on charges of having links with
the Balochistan Liberation Army.
The number of disappearances after arrests during
the first four months of this year has reached 49 persons
in the country. Forced disappearances have continued
despite the change in government and even after the
announcements of the prime minister to halt military
operations in the province and release the political
leaders including the former chief minister.
The announcements from the newly elected governments,
at provincial and federal levels, are no more than
lip service to raise their popularity.
The government of Mr. Yousaf Gillani should come out
with clear announcements of practical steps about the
relief of Balochistan people who have suffered the
brunt of military operations since 2001.
The government should immediately announce the names
of those persons who remain incommunicado in military
torture camps and investigate the claims of those persons
who testified before the courts that they themselves
saw people in different army camps.
The Asian Human Rights Commission said that without
meaningful dialogue and constitution-based guarantees
to the people of Balochistan the issues of forced disappearances
and displacement will never be solved. The solution
through legal and constitutional methods is best, rather
than appeasing the tyrants and dodging the people through