`Pak Army using terror mechanism in Balochistan`
Washington: In view of the seriousness of the law and order situation in Balochistan, prominent human rights activists have told US lawmakers that it is the Pakistan Army and its spy agency that is running a "reign of terror" inside the restive province.
"The problem goes back to....is that in many ways Pakistan`s abuse of human rights served our interests, and so we`re kind of coming to this late in the game, that we`re trying to ask the Pakistanis to clean up their act after we`ve given them literally a blank check for about a decade," Christine Fair, assistant professor at Georgetown University, told US lawmakers at a Congressional hearing on Wednesday.
The first ever hearing on human rights violation in Balochistan was organised by Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Ralph Peters, military analyst and author, said that Balochistan is an occupied territory, whose people did not want to be part of Pakistan in 1947.
"We look at this occupied territory of Balochistan specifically, where people who simply yearn for fundamental freedoms for the right to determine that their own future, whether or not they have a battery of qualified teachers ready to go," he said.
While expressing admiration for the sacrifices the province people are making against enormous odds in Pakistan, Peters charged the latter of actively supporting terrorists and insurgent movements in Afghanistan.
"What`s happening to Baloch people, it`s the kill-and-dump operation, it`s a terror mechanism that the Pakistani military and the intelligence officers used to terrorise the local population," said T Kumar of the Amnesty International.
"It may be for a political reason, because some people, or maybe a majority of Baloch may be asking for independence," he said, and clarified that Amnesty International, as a human rights organisation, does not take position on whether a country is independent or not.
Kumar said that the Pakistan Army brutalised the population in the region with the aid of US weapons as they wanted some opening in their political aspirations, and asked the lawmakers to ensure that no weapon be used against them.
"Balochistan presents a hydra-headed conflict situation. There are multiple actors perpetrating violence in there. But the engine of human rights abuse no doubt is the Pakistani military, paramilitaries and intelligence agencies," Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director of Asia division of Human Rights said.
He said that the country`s armed forces have run particularly since 2004, a campaign of enforced disappearances where at least hundreds of Baloch nationalists have disappeared.
"In the last year and a half we have seen targeted killings increase and something between 200 and 300 Baloch opponents of the Pakistani state have been found killed, and of course torture and illegal detention by the military and paramilitaries and intelligence agencies are commonplace,” Hasan said.
"This is an absolutely appalling situation, even by Pakistani standards, and certainly when you are operating in Balochistan you do see that the military in many ways behaves like a brutal occupying military -- that is its behaviour,"
In view of the license provided by the US, the UK and other powers in the context of the war on terror, the issue of disappearances became commonplace in Pakistan and in Balochistan in particular, where the disappearance or legal detention of Taliban and al Qaeda suspects was green lighted effectively by the US.
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