The struggle for justice for the missing persons continue. - File Photo

QUETTA: The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights has urged the judiciary to fix responsibility for disappearances of people in Balochistan and the dumping of their bullet-riddled bodies.

A meeting of the committee presided over by Afrasiab Khattak here on Wednesday called for a legislation for punishing government institutions or militants involved in kidnapping and killing of innocent people in the province.

“No-one is taking up the issue of missing persons and target killings seriously while masses have pinned hopes on parliament and judiciary to resolve the matter and put a halt to the dumping of dead bodies,” Mr Khattak said at the meeting and later at a press conference.

He said that the committee was dissatisfied with the report prepared by the Balochistan government on missing persons.

“We feel that the Balochistan home secretary did not tell us the whole truth about missing persons and he submitted the report to the committee just as a formality,” he said.

It appeared that the government was not serious in resolving the issue, he said, adding that both the government institutions and extremist organisations might be involved in the disappearance of people.

Mr Khattak said it was the responsibility of the government to act against officials of the Frontier Corps and other departments concerned on the basis of recommendations of the judicial commission set up to investigate the Khrotabad firing incident.

He urged courts to speed up disposal of cases about missing persons. Influential government institutions, particularly law-enforcement agencies, should be made accountable, he added.

He said the human rights situation in Balochistan was worsening with people being kidnapped, bullet-riddled bodies being thrown. There is no rule of law.

Mr Khattak said the committee had recommended action against some provincial ministers if the allegations levelled by Balochistan’s home minister about their involvement in kidnapping for ransom, disappearance of political workers and target killing were found to be correct.

He said the committee had also urged the government to release activists of students’ organisations and political parties and initiate dialogue with angry Baloch nationalists.

He criticised dictator Gen Ziaul Haq for bringing millions of Afghan refugees into Pakistan and fighting a proxy war of the West against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. He called for effective steps to end the illegal entry of Afghan nationals into Pakistan.

He regretted that journalists were also victims of human rights violations. Over 20 newsmen have been murdered in Balochistan during the past 10 years.

He said the Hazara community of Quetta was being targeted by terrorists. He regretted that even labourers were being killed by militants.

“No-one has the right to kill innocent people, whether they are locals or settlers,” he said.

About the kidnapping and killing of some Hindu traders, Mr Khattak said that the community was migrating from Balochistan.

He said it had been observed that terrorist activities in the province were being directed from jails. “Jammers should be installed inside jails and prisoners should not be allowed to keep cellphone,” he said.

Provincial Home Secretary Naseebullah Bazai told the committee that Afghan refugees were involved in smuggling narcotics and weapons and in human trafficking through the Pak-Iran border.

Advocate Tahir Hussain Khan of the Human Rights Commission alleged that personnel of law-enforcement agencies were taking bribe and allowed Afghan nationals to enter Pakistan.

Hanif Panizai of Sparc regretted that the provincial government was not taking effective steps to halt corporal punishment in government schools and enact a law to make education for all children compulsory.

The committee asked the IG prisons to ensure establishment of a borstal reformative institution for juvenile prisoners.

Senators Surraya Amiruddin, Farhat Abbas and Hafiz Rashid Ahmed, Balochistan Prisons IG Noor Ahmed Pirkani, Regional Director of the Ministry of Human Rights Saeed Ahmed Khan and Farrakhan Aurangzeb of the Ministry of Human Rights also attended the meeting.

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