Editorial: H.R.C.P.’s Fact-Finding Mission to Balochistan
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (H.R.C.P.), a widely credible independent group, has sent a fact-finding mission to Balochistan in order to probe the attack on Ziarat Residency and the bomb blast on a university bus that killed 25 people, mostly female students and nurses. Leading human rights activist and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Asma Jhangir, is heading the team that has arrived in Quetta. The delegation met with Chief Minister Balochistan, Dr. Malik Baloch, visited the Sardar Bhaduar Khan Women’s University and the Bolan Medical College.
On the first day of the mission, Ms. Jhangir, in her usual rebellious style, lambasted the Pakistani military for its ‘unchanged policy’ toward Balochistan. She said her team had not arrived in Balochistan to humiliate anyone in the government but to sincerely dig out the facts that caused so many people’s lives. According to her, the situation in Balochistan will significantly improve if the military reviews its current approach and strategy toward the troubled province.
Since the inception of the Balochistan conflict in its current phase in 2004, the H.R.C.P. has played commendably proactive role in creating awareness in the rest of Pakistan about the situation in Balochistan. The group has regularly published reports about the conflict and raised voice in support of citizens who have been subjected to unlawful arrests, disappearance, torture and murder allegedly by the state authorities. The H.R.C.P. has remained very instrumental in exposing the Pakistani security establishing and adding pressure to end illegal practices.
That said, it is unclear what the H.R.C.P. actually intends to find out in its current mission since the perpetrators of both the attacks public accepted responsibility for the assaults they carried out. The Baloch Liberation Army (B.L.A.), a separatist nationalist group, said it had carried out the attack on the Ziarat Residency while the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the the attacks on the student bus and the Bolan Medical College. Both of these organizations have been operating for a long time and they have also repeatedly asserted the motivation and intentions behind their operations. Since everything is already too obvious, we have to wait and see what new facts the H.R.C.P. will divulge in its report.
The new government’s response to such a big tragedy has not been satisfactory. Mahmood Khan Achakzai, the chairman of the Pakhtunkhawa Milli Awami Party strongly criticized the security establishment in his speech on the floor of the National Assembly while interior minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan has also complained about lack of coordination among intelligence agencies and law enforcement forces. Mere complaints from leaders within the government are neither sufficient nor acceptable. If one is a part of the government then one has to move forward to correct the mess instead of whining about it. Those in the government should stop fooling the people with fiery statements that make front page headlines and take ownership of the issues. This is precisely why the people outvoted the Pakistan People’s Party and brought other parties into power on May 11.
Just like president Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not bother to visit Balochistan after the loss of so many innocent lives. The prime minister’s indifference indicates that Balochistan is not on the top of the new government’s priority nor does the prime minister take the issue of precious human lives very seriously.
Instead of coming up with the same old recommendations once again, the H.R.C.P. should remind us about the implications of the government’s failure to implement the past suggestions it had made and how much distress is caused by the delay the government observes while resolving the Balochistan issue.
The Baloch Hal
Published in The Baloch Hal on June 24, 2013