Senate body concerned by worsening Baloch human rights situation


The Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights has expressed serious concern over human rights abuses in Balochistan, urged the Balochistan government to immediately release all political prisoners and engage angry Baloch leaders in dialogue besides hosting an All-Parties Conference on the Balochistan issue.
The meeting of committee, presided over by chairman Afrasiab Khattak of the ANP, was here on Wednesday and was attended by members Senator Suryya Amirud Din, Senator Hafiz Rasheed and Senator Farhat Abass.
A detailed report on the Balochistan situation was presented before the committee, however, the committee members expressed complete dissatisfaction with it.
After the meeting, Senator Afrasiab Khattak told reporters that the human rights situation in the province was serious and issues of missing persons, growing incidents of kidnapping for ransom and targeted killing were lamentable.
He said the issue of recovery of decomposed bodies was extremely deplorable and intelligence agencies were being held responsible for it. He said the government’s failure to investigate these incidents created an impression of the state’s involvement in the killings.
Khattak assured that he would raise the issue of bodies in parliament, however, the judiciary should also take notice of the incidents.
The ANP leader said the issue of targeted killing of members of Hazara community was also raised in the committee’s meeting and it had expressed serious concern over it.
He said it was the responsibility of the government to ensure security for the members of the Hazara community.
“The targeted killing of the Hazara people is being given a sectarian color, but it is an act of terrorism,” he said.
The committee chairman said the committee had directed prisons department officials to install mobile phone jammers to stop prisoners from using mobile phones.
Referring to US congressional hearing on Balochistan, he said the committee members had come to Quetta to hold a meeting on human rights situation, not to discuss political issues.
However, he opposed foreign interference in Balochistan, saying Pakistan should not give any opportunity to others to interfere in our affairs.
To a question, he said stern action should be taken against anyone involved in incidents of abduction for ransom, because no one was above the law.
He said the government must take concrete steps to curb incidents of kidnapping for ransom, adding that members of Hindu community were compelled to migrate for being a soft target of kidnapping.