Sinister design to destabilise Pakistan
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) claims to be the world’s leading independent organisation dedicated to defending and protecting human rights.
According to its mission statement, HRW is committed to safeguard the rights of people around the world, upholding political freedom, protecting the masses from inhumane conduct in wartime, and bringing offenders to justice. But in reality HRW does not focus on human rights violations when the big and mighty like the US invade Iraq and Afghanistan, where thousands of people were tortured and killed. It did not raise its voice against the oppressors accountable for their crimes. Thus, it emboldens the separatists, rebels and criminal elements, who challenge the writ of the state like in Pakistan.
The HRW has released a 132-page report titled We can torture, kill, or keep you for years: Enforced disappearances by Pakistan security forces in Balochistan. There is a perception that it has been done on the behest of those powers that are out to denigrate Pakistan military and ISI, and to destabilise Pakistan.
The report details 45 alleged cases of enforced disappearances - the majority in 2009 and 2010. It also mentions that hundreds of people have disappeared in Balochistan since 2005; whereas dozens of new enforced disappearances have occurred after Pakistan returned to the civilian rule in 2008. In addition, it demands that the Pakistan government should immediately end the widespread disappearances of suspected militants and activists by its military, intelligence agencies, and the paramilitary Frontier Corps in the southwestern province of Balochistan. The report, however, downplayed the target killings of innocent civilians, teachers, professors and security personnel in Balochistan by the Baloch Liberation Army and other militant organisations. The question is: Whether the lives of non-Balochis are less valuable than the lives of Baloch nationalists for the Watch and other human rights organisations? In December 2010, a report from the HRW stated: “The armed militant groups in Balochistan have increasingly targeted non-Baloch civilians and their businesses, police stations, and major gas installations and infrastructure.”
Nobody in his right sense would condone extrajudicial killings, but those who challenge the writ of the state or are responsible for creating rebellion-like situations are prosecuted and punished in any state worth the name. After every murder of a dissident in Quetta and elsewhere, some pseudo intellectuals and media men start accusing the intelligence agencies and military for the killing and disappearances of the persons. While there could be some suspects arrested by the police or intelligence agencies or even deaths during encounters, but one should not rule out the possibility that a number of missing persons could be in Afghanistan and India. According to a news report published by an English daily last year, more than 100 Pakistani Baloch dissidents were sent to India through the Indian Consulate located in Kandahar (Afghanistan) for six month training. Keeping this in view, Pakistan’s apex court had made some observations.
During the proceedings of the missing persons’ case in the court, Justice Javed Iqbal in June 2011 had remarked: “It has become a trend that NGOs exaggerate the figures of missing persons, but fail to provide details about them. These NGOs were just spreading sensationalism and conducting press conferences without obtaining facts on the missing persons.” He asked the representatives of the NGOs to provide complete details of persons they claim are missing. Meanwhile, the officials of the Interior and Foreign Ministries told the court that 103 Pakistanis were languishing in jails abroad, out of which eight have been brought home.
Anyhow, rejecting the latest HRW report, Inspector General of Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan said that the report tried to malign the law enforcement agencies and project them in bad light. He pointed out that “800 innocent people had lost their lives, while more than 1,300 civilians and law enforcers were injured in rocket and mines attacks during the last 18 months.”
Moreover, it has to be mentioned that tribalism is firmly rooted in Balochistan, as ethnic and tribal identity is a potent force for both individuals and groups in the province with the result that there exists deep polarisation among different groups. Each of these groups is based on different rules of social organisation, which has left the province inexorably fragmented. Tribal groupism has often failed to integrate the state and enforce a national identity. But those who have not weaned off the poison of sham nationalism should take a look at the history of the Balkans, and the fate they met.
In fact, rivalling big powers, and even countries of the region, eye Balochistan avariciously to push it into their own orbits of influence because it is a mineral-rich and strategically-located province. According to political and defence analysts, the US, Russia, and India are either directly or indirectly widening the ethnic and sectarian schisms in Balochistan and FATA with a view to advancing their agendas. There are reports that the US and UK are also supporting the centrifugal forces and insurgents in Pakistan’s largest province.
Undoubtedly, there should be a judicial enquiry for the missing persons. However, the terms of reference should include not only to locate the missing persons held on various charges, but also to trace them from the ferrari camps or detention centres being run by Baloch sardars and insurgents. Investigations should also be conducted to find out how many people have gone underground or to Afghanistan. Likewise, the Human Rights Watch should do a bit of investigation in this regard and instead of giving sweeping statements it should come out with precise details of the cases where human rights were abused, and where the government had taken action to establish the writ of the state. But the question is: Why the HRW does not feel any qualms about what the US and its allies are doing in Libya and expose them for at least what they call collateral damage killing innocent civilians through drone attacks?