QUETTA: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has urged security forces and intelligence agencies in Balochistan to “operate within the Constitution and law”.
Addressing a press conference after her visit to Balochistan on Tuesday, renowned human rights activist and HRCP member Asma Jehangir said there were continuing reports of serious human rights violations, enforced disappearances, torture and extra- judicial killings in the insurgency-hit province.
“The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has consistently remained concerned about the human rights situation in Balochistan, where nationalist insurgency has escalated since the tragic assassination of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and acts of terrorism by various sectarian groups has taken precious lives of innocent civilians as well as of security forces,” said a press release by the HRCP.
A team of HRCP members, comprising Asma Jahangir, Justice Malik Saeed Hassan, journalist Kamran Shafi, cultural critic and human rights activist Ghazi Salahuddin, researcher Nazish Brohi and HRCP editor Rafia Asim, had travelled to the province where they met officials, members of political parties, lawyers, members of the press, ethnic and religious minority groups and NGOs.
Jehangir pointed out that while the team was visiting Balochistan, seven young Bugti tribesmen were picked up and their dead bodies were recovered.
“While the HRCP was in Balochistan, seven young men were picked up from Mathh area of Dera Bugti by the FC and subsequently summarily executed. Reportedly, their mothers were callously told to take a good look at the faces of their sons, as that would be their last opportunity to do so.”
The HRCP said: “The security forces and the intelligence agencies will hurt the democratic process and further alienate people from the state if they continue with their oppressive policies.”
“Law and order is dismal. Citizens are living in perpetual fear. They have no security of life and indignity at the hands of the security forces is routine,” said Asma Jehangir. She said that there was a rise in incidents of kidnapping for ransom and the abductors were still at large.
Regarding sectarian killings, she said: “sectarian militants operate with impunity”, and carry out reprisal attacks against state institutions.
Jehangir called on the Baloch insurgents to respect the wishes of the people and cease their militant attacks against innocent civilians.
She said that people in Balochistan have the welcomed newly elected government and they attach high expectations from it.
—Syed Ali Shah contributed to reporting form Quetta