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Tuesday, May 24, 2022
EditorialMissing Baloch persons’ enigma

Missing Baloch persons’ enigma

One can judge the enormity of the issue of Baloch missing persons that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif himself is raising his voice for their recovery. The chief executive of the country is announcing a struggle for resolving the issue and talking about engaging the responsible powers is surely an enigma even after years. His words were, “We will take up the issue with the ‘powers’ that be and those responsible for it.” Does he not enjoy powers enough to bring this unconstitutional act and criminal practice to an end? The buck stops at the top and the prime minister and his cabinet are responsible for recovering missing persons. So far, the security apparatus in Pakistan has an upper hand as the reports of the forced disappearance are mostly denied, and the mental anguish of missing persons’ extended families is rising as they don’t get a definitive answer from the security agencies, the only answer families get is that the government spokesman denies the allegations. So, the families continue to go through horrors and their sufferings are endless. The disappearance of Baloch citizens has remained a mystery. The phenomenon started due to their alleged involvement in dissent against the military operations and a number of other grievances and deprivations. What else one can expect from a state that has completely failed to protect its citizens from the hidden hands that are busy orchestrating and spearheading a tyrannical campaign against the dissent voices. The fact that there had been no letup in cases of missing Baloch persons is a cause for concern. There are numerous cases that remain unsolved as mystery shrouds these abductions allegedly done by security agencies. Statistics regarding the missing persons from Balochistan, Sindh and other areas are appalling. Reportedly, estimates of the number of disappeared in Balochistan are between hundreds and several thousand.

Balochistan is definitely facing an insurgency but it is not the kind of terrorism we are seeing in tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It cannot be eliminated through heavy-handed tactics. The situation calls for a thorough introspection by the authorities concerned. The policy of picking up persons on the pretext of crushing dissent can create more chaos in society. In a sovereign state, all citizens are equal and under the constitution, they are entitled to their views. The piling up of missing persons’ cases calls for the direct intervention of the government.

The government needs to take charge of the situation and rescue these poor souls whose recovery remains a dream. Silencing voices through the use of force cannot yield desired results. Rather, it would give birth to mutiny and more chaos in the country. Pakistan should not be made a banana state. Moreover, the reluctance of the police to register missing persons’ cases gives birth to suspicion about the involvement of ‘powerful authorities’ in these abductions. The problem is that certain ‘powerful institutions’ do not want the involvement of courts where it would be difficult to prove their case. Therefore, it is easier to act as the judge, jury and the executioner themselves with no right of defence to the victim whatsoever, and justify it all in the name of national security and the wellbeing of the people.

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