Decisions about bodies found dumped in Balochistan and financial autonomy of NCHR taken
Special meeting to be held in Karachi on human rights violations
Islamabad August 31, 2016: The Senate Human Rights Committee today rejected the explanation of the Rangers for absence for the second time in a row from appearing before it on the ground ‘due to prevailing law and order situation of the Metropolitan city” directing the Rangers to appear before it as the Committee was informed that a privilege motion had already been moved against the law enforcing agency for misleading the parliament by quoting the report of a non existing fictional international human rights body.
The human rights committee meeting today under the chairpersonship of Senator Nasreen jalil and attended by Senators Mohsin Leghari, Nisar Muhammad Khan Mufti Abdul Sattar, Sitara Ayaz and Farhatullah Babar also took a number of decisions. The decisions taken pertained to killing and dumping of bodies in Balochistan, the DNA testing of dumped bodies, adoption of draft legislation to rein in state agencies, the authenticity of the so called South Asia Human Rights Commission whose report the Rangers had relied upon. It also decided to hold an exclusive meeting in Karachi on the human rights violations in the provincial metropolis.
The debate was triggered when the Committee was informed that during the last two years 52 bodies were found dumped in A areas of Balochistan but no investigations had been made as no one had come forward to lodge a report with the police.
The fact that more than 50 people were killed and their mutilated bodies dumped in the province during the last two years together with the stark admission that no one lodged report with the police is stinging indictment of the state institutions, a vote of no confidence in the state machinery and system of justice which must ring alarm bells in the corridors of powers that be, said PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar warning against the consequences of state apathy towards the plight of the people of Balochistan.
He said the report about dumping of mutilated bodies was highly alarming as the figures pertained only to A areas where police is deployed. God alone knows how many bodies of unfortunate victims were found dumped in the B areas of Balochistan he said and called for a complete report on the ‘kill and dump’ in all areas of the province year wise at the next meeting of the committee.
Farhatullah Babar asked if the figures of those killed in the province up to June 2016 also included Mullah Akhtar Mansoor who was taken out in a drone strike in May. At first the Balochistan police representative stated that Mullah Mansoor was killed in B area but later stated that since today’s agenda was confined only to those “killed by bullets” Mullah Mansoor was not included because he was not killed by a bullet but by drone.
To a question whether DNA tests of the dumped bodies were carried out the committee was informed that since no complainant came forward there could be no DNA matching also and no DNA tests had been carried out. When asked whether it was not mandatory to carry out DNA tests regardless of whether matching was done or not the committee was informed that state of the art DNA test facilities were not available in the province. However, the DIG police admitted that DNA tests can be carried out in Punjab and Karachi but had not been carried out.
Farhatullah Babar said that there could be only two explanations for the failure of the police; either it had been stopped by elements more powerful than the SC, the law and the parliament or it was sheer incompetence. “I do not believe that the police anywhere can be so incompetent”.
On the advice of the Chairman National Commission of Human Rights Justice Chowhan the Committee decided to call for copies of the FIRs lodged by the state in the case of those whose bodies were found dumped. It also called for a report on whether there was a nexus between the persons reported missing and the dumped bodies in the province. “If the parliament knows these things much good will come out to find a way forward”.
The Committee also noted that the queries addressed by the NCHR to state agencies had not been replied and called upon all state agencies to give replies to the queries as it was mandatory under the law regulating the NCHR. It asked the NCHR to keep the committee informed about the progress in this regard.
Senator Farhatullah Babar’s proposal to amend the NCHR law to ensure its financial autonomy was also endorsed by the Committee. It decided that in case the Ministry failed to address the issue of financial autonomy of the Commission the Committee will move a Bill to amend the law.
The Committee was unanimous to expressing grave concern over the continued absence of Rangers from the proceedings and demanded their presence at the next meeting. There is no justification whatsoever for the Rangers absence said Mohsin Leghari saying that it only brought bad name to the institution.
About the South Asia Human Rights Commission senator Farhatullah Babar said that Mr. Rahimullah Yousufzai whose name had been given on its web site as Afghanistan correspondent had categorically denied any links with the organization.
All e-mails sent to the Sindh correspondent Mr. Hilal Usmani bounced back undelivered.
A prominent journalist from Kathmandu, who the website claimed as their Nepal correspondent denied knowing anything about the organization, he said.
The Indian correspondent when contacted said that the organization had contacted her in 2010 for association. She was asked to write about India’s role in Kashmir which she refused after which they stopped responding to her emails. She’s now worried that their website claims she’s their correspondent but says there is no way that she can get her name removed.
Repeated calls made to their head office, a Swedish number, just cannot be reached, he said,
“Human Rights Commission South Asia” seems to be a bogus organization created primarily by vested interests for propaganda purposes, he said.
The submission of report of a bogus organization to defend the human rights record of a law enforcing agency had only undermined its own credibility, he said and called for action against those responsible.