Baluchistan Report says province is being shortchanged

On September 28, a blast in Balochistan killed three people, including an opposition political leader, Maulana Mohamad Hanif, Deputy Secretary General of the opposition party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F). The political neglect of Balochistan at a time when the province continues to face repression by the deep state is the subject of the latest fact finding report released by the The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

Titled Balochistan: Neglected Still, the report points out: “Incidents of enforced disappearance continue: in most cases, victims’ families say they are afraid of communicating their cases to the authorities. A disconcerting trend is that of women being ‘disappeared’ in certain areas, such as Dera Bugti and Awaran.”

Yet as HRCP notes “these cases tend not to be reported or recorded. HRCP’s investigation also reveals that hundreds of coal mines are being operated by people who possess neither the financial resources nor the technological skills to provide for operational safety or deal with emergencies. The mission found that security agencies impose an unofficial security charge on per ton production from coal mines, which mine owners and labour unions alike have deemed extortion. HRCP believes that the level of the Frontier Corps’ presence in Balochistan and its degree of control undermines provincial government and civilian administration. The unwarranted involvement and permanent presence of security personnel in educational institutions like Balochistan University must also end.”

Finally HRCP “strongly feels that the provincial government and civilian administration must run the affairs of the province without any undue interference. In addition, a law that criminalises enforced disappearances, punishes the perpetrators and compensates victims’ families must be enacted expeditiously.”

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