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HRCP report on Balochistan

 Daily Times Editorial
Balochistan, that ill-fated province, is the epicentre of attention nowadays, and as usual for all the wrong reasons. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has released a fact-finding report assessing the situation in Balochistan. It says violence is continuing unabated. The report addresses terror attacks on minorities and the Ziarat Residency in particular. One of the claims carried in the report, quoted from outside sources not connected to the HRCP, hints at how there is suspicion that sectarian militants are beginning to coordinate and work with Baloch nationalist insurgents. The HRCP has said it cannot verify this accusation, which requires investigation. The claim seems far-fetched and illogical on the face of it, given the gulf between the nationalists’ and terrorists’ worldview. The sectarian militants wish to cause harm and destruction based on warped perceptions of religion while the insurgents are fighting for Baloch rights. The paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) and the intelligence agencies of the army stand accused by the nationalists for being behind the ‘kill and dump’ policy. In this background, the report has stated that it is imperative for the insurgents to lay down their arms and give peace a chance. How do the wise people at the HRCP believe this will ever happen when those the Baloch blame for their oppression are merrily going about abducting, torturing and killing without let or hindrance? It is commendable that the report has identified that a messy situation exists and that there are multiple perpetrators, but it has tipped the balance by laying more blame on the insurgents than those elements that are running a parallel government in the province, i.e. the FC and the military. It is these elements that are preventing international and local aid agencies from entering the earthquake-hit areas to provide relief. It is these same elements that are the cause of the insurgents’ armed resistance. To lump the nationalists with the terrorists is to add insult to injury; to lay the burden of a peace tantamount to surrender on the nationalists’ shoulders is to sprinkle salt on their wounds.

Meantime 11 new ministers and some advisors are finally being sworn in to form the Balochistan cabinet after four months of keeping the province without a cabinet. Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has not been able to quell the fire burning throughout his province because of the deep state’s continuation of the repression against the Baloch people. The HRCP report thinks that a human rights chief commissioner and district commissioners, if appointed, could control human rights violations. What the HRCP ought to consider is that if the chief minister has not been able to do anything about the repression, a commissioner of any hue will not amount to much either, until and unless the FC/military combination stops its slaughter in Balochistan. Who will bell that cat?

( Courtesy : Daily Times )

Republished in The Balochistan Point on October 15, 2013

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