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Balochistan and unsolved riddle of missing persons

Afzal Baloch

It is astounding that the government is absolutely unmoved on the issue of missing persons. One can only sympathies with the traumatized relatives and venerate the efforts of the Supreme Court for reminding the central and provincial governments of their responsibilities. The three member Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif and Justice Tariq Pervez could only bring solace 65 families for being listened by the apex court of Pakistan. Law enforcing agencies could not produce even a single missing person in spite of stern warnings by the Chief Justice. While political leadership remained totally absent from the scene.
Neither Balochistan Home Minister Zafarullah Zehri nor Chief Minister of Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani could appear before the court probably for their involvement in the great game being played in Islamabad. Apathy at the part of provincial government frustrated the Chief Justice. The court was visibly disturbed when FC, ISI, MI and IB and even police officials informed that they were unaware of the whereabouts of the missing persons. On the contrary, most of the relatives nominated Frontier Corps and security agencies in their cases for involvement in practices of forced disappearances.
It was simply an embarrassing situation giving an avowal of callousness of law enforcing agencies while the perpetrators of the crime carried the day. About 65 families believe that they have been wronged by intelligence agencies and Frontier Corps while no body is pointing fingers toward IB, CID, Police and Lavies, the organizations responsible for maintaining law and order in the province. Essentially these organizations have the mandate to dig out missing persons but probably civil government is more inclined to use these establishments for protection of VIPs and for protocol duties.
While discussing missing persons everyone including media conveniently forgets non state actors operating in the province. It is a known fact that Balochistan Liberation Army, Baloch Liberation Front, Baloch Republican Army, Jundullah etc. are the reprobate organizations which are extensively armed and funded by foreign powers to achieve their own objectives.
Every one is aware that Baloch Republican Party chief Brahamdagh Bugti was operating terrorist training camps in Afghanistan before escaping to Switzerland. His connections with RAW and CIA are well established. Similarly, in February 2010 Abdulmalek Rigi a Jundullah leader captured by Iran confessed that the US had promised to provide “Jundullah” with military equipment and a base in Afghanistan, near the Iranian border for its fight against Iran.
It is reliably learnt that Mossad is also active in the province. Presumably, all there agencies and countries are working to destabilize Pakistan. The most efficient way to achieve their objective would be to smudge the image of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and its security forces. That is exactly what is being done at large in the country.
Under such circumstances blindly blaming security agencies of the country would be ludicrous. An individual may go missing for being abducted for ransom, as a result of an accident, consequent to a terrorist attack, or for joining terrorist organization etc. This list also includes abductions by foreign funded terrorist organizations for their own purposes. Cruelty of the perpetrators of such heinous crimes can be gauged from the incident in which they dumped two bullet-riddled bodies of missing persons near Uthal after their relatives had reported their absence to the Supreme Court.
That was simply a message of defiance and a challenge to state. Helplessness of law enforcing agencies stood revealed when a police official broke down in tears before the court, and informed that they are receiving death threats and are being pressurized. It justified the bench in observing that, “Balochistan police know everything about the missing persons, but they are neither ready to share information with the court nor do they want to take steps to recover them.” This is a very serious situation which can’t be tolerated.
Missing person’s phenomena at one end is eroding faith of the people in the government and on the other end is being used to tarnish the image of the country and its security forces. Reports by Human Rights Commission and hearing on Balochistan by U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs under the chair of Congressman Donna Rohrabacher are cases in point. We have reached a stage where this issue can’t be overlooked any more. It is time for concrete actions. One hopes that government will take lead from the advice of the Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry when he told police and the FC to conduct a joint operation to abolish camps set up for receiving ransom. He also promised that the court will extend all support to the forces in this regard. One only hopes that government can spare sometime from its political expediencies to address this issue.

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