Quetta, 7 May 2011
Statement of HRCP Mission to Balochistan
Deeply concerned by the rapidly deteriorating situation in Balochistan, the Human Rights Commission organised a fact-finding mission to the province between 4 & 7 May. The teams visited Khuzdar, Turbat and Quetta, meeting a wide cross-section of people, including government representatives.
At the outset, HRCP would like to express its deep anger and sadness at the killing of two of its activists, Siddique Eido and Naeem Sabir. Siddique Eido went missing in December 2010; his body was recovered from Ormara on 28 April. HRCP had thrice brought the case of his disappearance to the authorities’ attention. Naeem Sabir was shot dead in Khuzdar in March this year.
The key findings of the HRCP mission are:
1. Enforced disappearances continue to be a matter of great concern. The Commission set up to investigate the case of missing persons has been largely ineffective, leading to people’s frustration
2. It has been noted that dead bodies recovered have had signs of extreme torture. 33 bodies have been found in Khuzdar; at a rate of 1 body every 3 days
3. All authority seems to vest with the security forces. The civil administration, elected by the people and meant to represent them, appears to have ceded its powers
4. There is strong evidence of the complicity of security forces in killings which are found to be deliberate. One specific instance: on 1 Dec, 2010, in Kech, the FC started attacking a house at 4 a.m. & continued the attack till 2 p.m the next day, despite the civil administration’s request to the FC Colonel that the family members were willing to get all those present in the house to surrender. They killed 5 members of the family, including a boy. This represents a case of deliberate extra-judicial killings. In some cases, FIRs were registered in Turbat. The FC local commander in Kech agreed to talk only after permission was received from IG FC which was not ultimately received.
5. There was widespread complaint against the attitude of the FC personnel at checkpoints
6. The sectarian attack of 6 May in Quetta is highly condemnable. It happened while the HRCP Mission was present in the city. Six people died and many were injured in spite of the presence of the police nearby and the FC check posts. It is regrettable that findings of inquiry commissions into sectarian killings have not been released. No effort has been made at reconciliation of the communities, either
7. Members of the minority communities narrated the heightened sense of insecurity they are living in. There have been targeted killings, as well as kidnappings for ransom. In some cases, victims were killed in spite of ransom being paid. In some instances, children have been taken out of school.
8. There is migration of some communities, including Hindus, Hazara/Shias, who are being targeted
9. Targeted killings are rampant – these include professionals such as teachers & doctors, as well as traders
While a detailed report will be issued later by HRCP, the following are some main recommendations:
- · The system of enforced disappearances must end; it is a total negation of rule of law that mutilated bodies are found of missing people – instead of their production before courts of law
- · Any operation conducted by law enforcement agencies must be within the framework of rule of law, and under civilian oversight. The provincial government must meet its obligation of ensuring law & order
- · The Frontier Corps should act only in aid of the civilian forces & under civilian control. There should be an immediate end to the complete impunity from the process of law the FC currently enjoys in Balochistan
- · The provincial government, representing all political parties of the province, needs to assert its authority and act in the interest of the people that brought it to power
- · The higher judiciary must instruct the subordinate judiciary to actively pursue cases of human rights violations
- · The police must exercise its responsibility of recording FIRs & actively investigating cases of enforced disappearances, targeted killings and discovery of mutilated bodies, as well as of kidnappings
- · Places of worship of minorities must be protected and freedom of worship be ensured. Members of minority communities should be assured of their safety
- · It should be noted that internal security can never be guaranteed by violation of rights
- · Victims of violence must be compensated immediately
- · The government must ensure protection of all teaching staff and that educational institutions function properly in a peaceful manner