ISLAMABAD: A privilege motion notice was submitted with the Senate chairman on Wednesday against the Pakistan Rangers for misleading the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights by claiming that an international organisation had endorsed the Karachi operation being carried out by the paramilitary force.

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar informed the committee that the privilege motion notice had been submitted by him. The lawmaker said he had searched for the international human rights organisation and called people in Pakistan, India and Nepal who said the body “Human Rights Commission South Asia” did not exist.

“All individuals [had] disassociated themselves from the fake organisation,” Mr Babar said.

PPP senator says the HR body whose report was quoted by the paramilitary force does not exist

“The Human Rights Commission South Asia seems to be a bogus organisation created primarily by the vested interests for propaganda purpose,” he said, adding that “the submission of the report of a bogus organisation to defend the human rights record of a law enforcement agency has only undermined its own credibility”.

During a meeting of the committee in July, Col Qaiser Khattaq, who is said to be overseeing the Karachi operation, said that an international human rights organisation had endorsed the operation.

Mr Babar had challenged the Rangers’ claim and asked Col Khattaq to submit a copy of the report in the committee’s next meeting.

However, when the committee met on Wednesday, representatives from Pakistan Rangers were absent.

In a letter to the committee, the Rangers said its representatives would not be available until November “due to prevailing law and order situation of the Metropolitan city”.

The committee rejected the Rangers’ explanation.

“We want the law enforcement agency to answer for misleading parliament by quoting the report of a non-existing fictional international human rights body,” said Mr Babar, adding that the credibility of Pakistan Rangers had been stained because of this move.

The committee was unanimous in expressing concern over the continued absence of Rangers representatives from the meetings and demanded their presence at the next meeting.

“There is no justification whatsoever for the Rangers’ absence,” said Mohsin Leghari, adding that it only gave a bad name to the institution.

However, PML-N Senator Nisar Muhammad defended the operation. “Karachi is a changed city only because of Rangers,” he said.

Dumped bodies

The committee took several decisions pertaining to the killing of people and dumping of bodies in Balochistan over the past two years.

It recommended DNA tests of all such bodies and reiterated its call for adoption of draft legislation to “rein in state agencies”.

The debate was triggered when Quetta’s DIG Crimes Shakeel Ahmed Durrani informed the meeting that 52 bodies had been found dumped in ‘A areas’ of Balochistan over the past two years.

The meeting learnt that cases were not being investigated as no-one had come forward to lodge a report with the police. While local police were in charge of ‘A areas’, their jurisdiction ended in ‘B areas’ which came under the jurisdiction of Frontier Corps, the committee was informed.

Mr Babar said the admission that no-one had lodged a report with the police was stinging indictment of state institutions.

“This is a vote of no-confidence in the state machinery and the system of justice,” said Mr Babar while warning against consequences of state apathy towards the plight of the people of Balochistan.

He said the report of dumping of mutilated bodies was highly alarming as figures pertained only to ‘A areas’ where police were deployed.

“God alone knows how many bodies of unfortunate victims were found dumped in ‘B areas’ of Balochistan,” the senator said and demanded a complete report on the “killing and dumping cases” in all areas of the province year-wise at the next meeting.

On the advice of the chairman of the National Commission of Human Rights, retired Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan, the committee decided to seek copies of the FIRs lodged by the state in cases of those whose bodies had been found dumped.

It also called for a report on whether there was a nexus between the people reported missing and dumped bodies in the province.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2016