People voted for democracy in Balochistan: HRCP


The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Sunday said that despite threats from insurgents people in Balochistan voted in May 11 elections.
An HRCP report read that the people in the province gave the verdict on the manner in which they wanted to be governed. It was also a resounding vote for democracy and ending the bloodshed in the province. The coalition government that emerged after the polls appeared to have considerable goodwill and support from the people that would be vital in extricating Balochistan out of the challenges that have long hounded the province.
The report read further there was near unanimity among all interlocutors that HRCP met that formation of the new government was a sign of hope that the province’s problems would be addressed. However, the same interlocutors warned that they did not see many signs of a change in policy within the security and intelligence agencies as the kill-and-dump policy continue.
The fact finding received conflicting reports that the pattern of terrorist attacks in the recent past indicated some operational coordination between sectarian terrorist groups and Baloch insurgents.
The report said the law and order in Balochistan remained dismal. Citizens were living in perpetual fear. They had little security of life and indignity at the hands of the security forces is routine. Kidnapping for ransom remained unchecked and the citizens felt resigned to pay the money for the recovery of abducted relatives. The abductors were almost never traced. Religious minorities were particularly vulnerable. Civil society organisations had abandoned their work in the conflict-hit parts of the province. Women were particularly fearful and live in perpetual intimidation by extremist forces. Sectarian militant groups operated with impunity and consider reprisals against the state their right if action was taken against them by the law enforcement for carrying out terrorist activities.
In its recommendations the HRCP called on security forces and intelligence agencies to operate within the ambit of the constitution and the law. There are credible reports of continued serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearance of people, arbitrary arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings.
The HRCP said it is of the considered opinion that one of the biggest hurdles in normalisation of the situation in Balochistan is the abhorrent practice of enforced disappearance and dumping of bodies of victims of disappearance. HRCP calls upon the authorities to immediately ensure that all victims of disappearance are accounted for without delay. The commission also urges that all the recommendations made by the UN Working Group on forced or involuntary disappearances that had visited Pakistan in September 2012 should be implemented.
It recommended that the Balochistan chief minister should have the powers to write the annual confidential report (ACR) regarding the performance of the Frontier Corps (FC) chief in Balochistan, and indeed of heads of all security agencies tasked with ensuring preservation of law and order in the province.
The HRCP said it is convinced that the people of Balochistan fully support the restoration of peace and political stability in the province. Baloch insurgents must respect the wishes of the people and cease their attacks on innocent civilians. It asked the Baloch nationalists to denounce violence perpetuated and embrace the new realities that are being presented through the democratic process.
The HRCP urges the government of Balochistan to appoint a human rights adviser to the chief minister with the mandate to improve the full range of human rights of the citizens of Balochistan.
It further recommended that talks should be initiated with Baloch insurgents both within and outside the country without compromising on extending impunity for causing grave human rights violations by individuals among the insurgents.