Stand up for Balochistan

The PPP government’s initiatives and promises to alleviate the pain of the Baloch people owing to the treatment meted out to them over decades since the creation of Pakistan and more recently by a military operation launched by General Musharraf, have done little to alter ground realities in Balochistan. Instead of improving, the situation has fast deteriorated recently. However, the Supreme Court’s (SC) persistence in hearing of missing persons’ case and now the petition of Balochistan High Court Bar Association (BHCBA) president on targeted killings and worsening law and order situation in Balochistan has kept this issue on the national agenda.In the latest hearing of the BHCBA president’s petition, the SC has dismissed the request of the advocate general of Balochistan for an in-camera briefing on the reasons and elements behind this situation with the contempt that it deserved. It is an open secret that the provincial government has very little role in policy making or maintaining the law and order situation in Balochistan.

The real arbiters are the intelligence agencies, military and Frontier Corp (FC). There is so much fear of these institutions that nobody dares question them openly, hence the advocate general’s request. Its dismissal suggests that the SC has now become impatient with the lack of action on the part of the federal of provincial authorities to provide security to the people of Balochistan. However, the court’s remark that if the government is unable to perform its constitutional duties, the court would hold it responsible and might pass orders to make it go, do not take into account the fact that the government’s hands are tied. It is the duty of the government’s lawyers to explain the position without attempting to cover up through elliptical arguments such as the one presented by the additional advocate general that there is no coordination between institutions responsible for maintaining law and order. Dismissal of the government would not change the ground realities. The real issue is the impunity with which the military, FC and intelligence agencies are operating outside the law. Extra-judicial killings, internment and torture have become an everyday reality of Balochistan, as the discovery of dumped bodies of missing Baloch activists show. This is an extreme case of human rights violation that will worsen the situation even further. The security agencies would not change their ways, but if the public of the rest of the country raise a voice for their Baloch brothers and sisters, it will build political pressure that might stay their bloody hand. – Dailytimes