Killing the witness | Pakistan Today

Killing the witness

The death of justice too

Whenever asked why the government has failed to stop the unending killing spree in Balochistan, prompt comes the oft-repeated reply from Rehman Malik that a ‘foreign hand’ is behind the acts. He never explains why the interior ministry and security agencies have failed to stop the killings. He continues to accuse some unknown outside power, even in cases where the victims had pointed out the source of the threat.

Former police surgeon Baqir Shah who was killed on Thursday in Quetta was one of those who knew the identity of the predator. Shah had conducted the autopsy of the Kharotabad victims. He had told the enquiry tribunal set up by the CJ BHC that all five victims had died of gunshot wounds from the police and Frontier Constabulary weapons instead of their own hand grenade, as claimed by the police. This was to cost him heavily. In June, he complained to the Balochistan High Court in writing that his life was under threat and named police officials who had tortured him. Two police officials were immediately suspended. Threats, however, continued to come.

It should not be difficult to point out who could be behind the killing. The question is if those in Islamabad and Quetta are interested in punishing the perpetrators. As a number of police and FC personnel were involved in the Kharotabad incident, pressures were exerted on witnesses from the first day to support the police version of the killings that exonerated the police and FC officials. Appearing before the tribunal, the driver accompanying the foreigners presented a version contradicting the one extracted from him earlier by the police under coercion. The tribunal recommended punishment for the police and FC personnel, holding them responsible for the murder of five foreigners. Unless the key witnesses are dead, the officers are likely to be punished. The last one who photographed the incident has told a TV network that his life is in danger as he too facing serious threats.

The incident would provide yet another argument to Sardar Ataullah Mengal who told Nawaz Sharif early this month that “the existing conditions have led to Balochistan reaching the point of no return.” What is highly serious is that the people of Balochistan are losing confidence in all institutions of the state as killings continue unchecked.

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