Court orders Frontier Corps to trace Baloch missing persons in two weeks

August 28, 2013 12:06 am | Updated 12:06 am IST - ISLAMABAD:

Continuing to slam the Frontier Corps (FC), the Pakistan Supreme Court on Tuesday gave two weeks time to trace missing persons in a case involving law and order in Balochistan.

Hearing the case for the second successive day in Quetta, a three-member bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and two others criticised the lack of progress in tracing the missing persons in the last three years even as the government gave assurances. On Monday, the court had ordered the missing persons to be produced on Tuesday and also action against those involved in the disappearance of people.

The apex court ruled that unlawful detention of a person was a violation of human rights, referring to the fact that the FC and other agencies had proof of about 70 missing persons. In addition there are records of over 500 people in custody and the apex court held that they should be tried according to law. The case will be heard after two weeks from now.

Meanwhile, according to news reports, the Pakistan Minister for Interior and Narcotics Control Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the Senate that 93 persons who were missing in 2012 had been traced. Around 381 persons had disappeared during 2012 from all over the country.

Last week, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) had expressed concern over the continued dumping of mutilated dead bodies of missing Baloch men in Karachi and demanded that the killers be brought to justice. The Commission noted with great dismay that there had been no let up in the discovery of dead bodies of missing persons.

It added, “While the discovery of mutilated dead bodies is unfortunately hardly unusual in Karachi, it is a matter of grave concern that in recent months bodies of men who had gone missing in Balochistan have increasingly been found dumped in Karachi with chits bearing their names left in their pockets for identification.

The statement said that last week the bodies of three Baloch men, Muhammad Ramzan, Abdul Ghafoor and Abdul Razzaq, have been found in Surjani Town area of Karachi. Ramzan and Abdul Ghafoor had gone missing in Turbat in Balochistan last week and their families had alleged that they had been picked up by the security forces. Bodies of both men bore signs of torture. The body of Abdul Razzaq, a Balochistan-based journalist who lived in Karachi’s Lyari area and had been missing since March, was so badly mutilated that his family could not identify him when they first saw the body. In the end, only his arms and legs were sufficiently intact to enable identification.

HRCP said it was concerned over the abduct-kill-and-dump incidents in Balochistan and now the discovery of the missing persons’ bodies in Karachi. HRCP demanded that the disappearance of the three men and their killing must be fully investigated with a view to identifying the killers and bringing them to justice. It must also be established if Abdul Razzaq was targeted because of his work as a journalist, the statement said.

According to a report of the HRCP fact finding mission titled “Hopes Fears and Alienation in Balochistan” of 2012, Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province and its least populous and most troubled. The most dominant feature of the province is a violent insurgency in the Baloch majority districts that started in 2006 after the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti in a military operation. From the year 2000 till 2012, the HRCP recorded 198 missing persons from Balochistan. It also gathered evidence of 57 bodies, some of them unidentified that were found in the same province.

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