Balochistan: A Thousand Apologies Are Not Enough South Asian News Agency (Sana)

Now, should we believe Gen Musharraf, who portrays Nawab Bugti as an enemy of Pakistan, or should we believe his two trusted stalwarts who hold Nawab Bugti in high esteem?

After the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Mushahid Hussain Sayed paid rich tributes to him, as reported in the print media of Aug 28, 2006. These two favourites of Gen Musharraf “slammed the killing of Akbar Bugti and stated that it should not have happened.” Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain expressed his indebtedness to Nawab Bugti for saving the life of his father, Zahoor Elahi. Mushahid also disclosed that “he had successfully negotiated with Bugti to normalise the situation in Sui and Dera Bugti.”

Now, should we believe Gen Musharraf, who portrays Nawab Bugti as an enemy of Pakistan, or should we believe his two trusted stalwarts who hold Nawab Bugti in high esteem?

Besides giving the worst treatment even to the dead body of Nawab Bugti, Gen Musharraf implicated Sardar Khair Bakhsh Marri in a murder case on false allegations. At the same time, for no cogent reason the agencies of Gen Musharraf deliberately attacked another respected and popular leader, Sardar Ataullah Mengal, and his family members. Mohammad Hassan Ghichki, one of his brothers-in-law, was tortured to death in the Central Prison of Karachi on January 30, 2006. Two medial boards were constituted one after another to determine the cause of his death. A judicial commission was constituted under Justice Zawwar Hussain Jafri of the Sindh High Court, but neither the medical boards nor the judicial commission were allowed to function or present their reports. The killers of Hassan Ghichki are still at large.

Soon thereafter, in April 2006, the house of Sardar Akhtar Mengal in the Defence Authority in Karachi, was raided by army personnel and he, along with his driver and guards, was arrested and taken away on the basis of an FIR registered in Darakhshan police station in Karachi under several sections of the PPC and the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, on the basis of false and baseless allegations.

One of the many inhuman, unconstitutional and illegal policies adopted by Gen Musharraf was allowing military agencies to indiscriminately kidnap several hundred innocent citizens, and according to some estimates several thousand, from almost all parts of Pakistan. But the largest number of missing persons is from Balochistan, which is Pakistan’s least populated province. Most unfortunately, this inhuman policy of Gen Musharraf has been adopted and is being pursued by the present elected government.

The latest victim is an innocent young man, Omer Mahmood Wali Khan, who was abducted by the agencies from Islamabad on March 10, in the presence of his helpless father and other family members. The only allegation against him appears to be that he served food and water to protestors against disappearances, in a camp set up opposite Parliament House. How can any sane person object to such a commendable service by Omer, who was helping the oppressed persons sitting in the camp?

Despite innumerable protests and demands within parliament and outside, our elected government remains unmoved by the fact that a huge number of persons are still missing, with no explanation and no indication of their whereabouts or of the charges against them. How can the civil and military authorities deny the fact that this illegal and inhuman practice of disappearances adopted by our agencies has not in any way helped in arresting the real terrorists or containing incidents of terrorism?

Though they have no right under any law or the constitution to continue to hold innocent persons in custody, without disclosing the charges against them, the whims and fancies of the officers of the military agencies are defeating all orders and writs of the judiciary as well as the writ of the government. Come what may, the government and the judiciary must not allow this most inhuman legacy of dictator Gen Musharraf to prevail.

Musharraf has the audacity to state in his article that “there certainly have not been any human rights violations in Balochistan.” This statement only shows that he is still living in a world of his own. He is divorced from realities, or he does not even know the meaning of human rights, law and constitution.

The list of innumerable atrocities, crimes, murders, mayhem, violations of laws and the constitution committed by Musharraf is far too long for me to cover in one or more articles. The former dictator must also be held responsible for the murder of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and the deaths of more than two hundred workers of the PPP.

It is an undisputed fact that Mohtarma Shaheed was denied the required security both on October 18, 2007 in Karachi and December 27, 2007 in Rawalpindi and both places where the incidents took place were deliberately washed out immediately by Gen Musharraf’s regime with the obvious motives to destroy any evidence that may be available there.

In the continuing violence, terrorism, targeted killings and suicide bombings, not only in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but also in other parts of Pakistan, one is forced to question the role, performance and competence of our civil and military intelligence agencies. Although the number of the personnel of all the agencies has increased phenomenally and they are provided unaccounted-for and undisclosed massive budgets, regrettably we see no marked improvement in conditions on the ground.

During the course of the hearing of Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s case, the most unethical, undemocratic and unlawful activities of the military agencies have been exposed. The chief justice of Pakistan has also been expressing concern and dissatisfaction over the fact that the agencies operate outside their mandate and carry out interference in politics.

Please recall that Mohtarma Shaheed Benazir Bhutto had the vision and courage to constitute in 1989 a commission headed by Air Chief Marshal Zulfiqar Ali Khan to review the structure, mandate and functioning of all the civil and military intelligence agencies. The report of this commission is most commendable and useful. Why is it being wasted through restriction imposed on its publication? Its disclosure will be in the national interest – to check the prevalent undesirable and detrimental practices which are harming the image of the agencies as well.

It is also in the interest of the civil and military agencies that their performances are made more effective and undesirable elements and practices are removed from their ranks and files and their image is improved by ensuring better performance. The federal government should complete the unfinished agenda of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto by implementing in letter and spirit the recommendations made in that report.


The writer, a former senator, attorney general and federal minister, is a Supreme Court advocate. Email: ihaider [email protected]
Courtesy Newes

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