Editorial of the banned Balochistan Newspaper, The Baloch Hal
The Baloch anguish is not merely justified because they are receiving the bullet-riddled dead bodies of their smartest and most talented democratic youth almost on daily basis but they also have every reason to be frustrated because the country’s Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Ifthakar Chaudhary, has opted for complete silence over what British newspaper The Guardian called “Pakistan’s secrete dirty war“. Silence on the part of the chief justice is an indirect endorsement of extra-judicial killings by the security forces and secrete agents.
The country’s top judge, who was sacked by former military dictator General Musharraf allegedly on the corruption and nepotism charges, has emerged as a master player of suo moto cards. He has served suo moto notices about minor issues pertaining to the local governments such as sugar prices and filthy streets. But, there is stark silence over what veteran American journalist Selig Harrison calls the “slow-motion genocide” of the Baloch people.
There are extraordinary reactions in Balochistan after the recovery of five new bullet-riddled dead bodies of Balochs hailing from different backgrounds and various regions. On August 15, 2010, security forces had whisked away the former vice chairman of the Baloch Students Organization (BSO-Azad), Dr. Abid Shah Baloch, a senior school teacher, Abdul Sattar Baloch, and their colleague Safeer Baloch, who was also the district president of the Baloch National Movement (BNM), from the compound of the District Headquarter Hospital in Panjgur district.
Similar to all other cases of enforced disappearance, the government authorities never provided an explanation about what the charges, if there were any, against these people. They were never produced before a court of law or given the right to defend themselves on the line of Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
After a nine-month period of mysterious disappearance, the bullet-riddled dead bodies of the three disappeared persons were discovered in a mountainous part of Panjgur. Local sources said that the victims had been killed at least one month before the recovery of their bodies.
On the same day, the tortured body of Dil Jan, a nephew of pro-indpendnece Baloch leader Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, was found from Anari area of Khuzdar district. Tariq Karim Baloch, a senior activist of the BSO, who had been whisked away by the security agents from Karachi, was also killed and dumped.
The Baloch National Front, Balochistan National Party, the National Party, the Baloch National Voice and the World Sindhi Congress have strongly condemned the fresh killings of the missing persons and have directly blamed the government. In a press conference, the members of Dr. Abid Shah’s family demanded that the chairman of the commission responsible for the recovery of the missing persons should immediately resign.
As someone from Balochistan, the CJP has practically done nothing about the missing persons and those who get tortured and killed.
” The chairman promised that Abid would come back,” said the mother of the popular Baloch leader who was protesting in front of the Quetta Press Club when she was informed about the recovery of the dead body of her eldest son, “and they [the government authorities] fulfilled their promise by returning his bullet-riddled body.”
Mir Asadullah Baloch, Balochistan’s minister for agriculture and the Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Panjgur where the incident occurred, has demanded that culprits responsible for these inhuman killings should be brought to justice.
The Balochistan National Party (BNP) has given call for a phased Balochistan-wide protests against the fresh killings.
The Government Teachers Association (GTA) in Panjgur have called for at least three-day of mourning and boycott of the classes after the killing of their colleague Abdul Sattar Baloch.
While much has been written in the Baloch press ( if not by the so-called national media) about this unfolding humanitarian crisis in Balochistan, it is the time the Chief Justice of Pakistan was asked all these questions by the Baloch people. After all, he played the “missing persons’ card” during the lawyers movement. He also used the “Balochistan card” to by giving the impression that he was being punished because he belonged to the country’s smallest province.
Before his removal and even after his restoration, the Chief Justice of Pakistan has totally disappointed the people of Balochistan. His role and response to the “slow-motion genocide” of the Balcoh people is not surprising but highly objectionable. Lack of interests and intervention in the missing persons’s case simply shows complicity of the so-called independent judiciary with the military.
As the Balochs have eventually lost faith in the parliament, the indifferent attitude of the Chief Justice is also causing a complete loss of faith in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. If the Chief Justice cannot play a decisive role against the powerful intelligence agencies, then he should honorably retire form his post. Balochs have suffered too much because of the judiciary’s selective application of justice, good governance . The worst thing that can happen to the relations between the province and the center is the public loss of faith in the country’s judicial system.
The Baloch families are suffering every day and every minute. Therefore the rule of “no quick-fixes” should be altered and quick initiatives that can lead to the immediate stoppage of the violation of human rights should be encouraged to stop this nasty game of “kill and dump” with human lives in Balochistan.