Disappearances in Balochistan -A Statement of Concern By the Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians

The fundamental human and civil rights of the people of Balochistan have been violated since the creation of the state of Pakistan. Beginning in 1948 the Pakistan Army has conducted five major repressive campaigns in that province. Under the latest of these ‘operations’ which started with the military takeover of General Parvez Musharraf and continues to date, there has been introduced a new tool of repression, forced disappearances, a practice which has been declared a crime against humanity by the International Court of Criminal Justice.

Estimates of the total number of persons who have been ‘disappeared’ in Balochistan over the last decade run into thousands. According to the BBC news of 10 February 2010, the Home Ministry of Balochistan has itself disclosed a list of 992 persons missing currently. Even women and children are not being spared. The Quetta based, ‘Voice of Missing Persons’, lists 148 women and 168 children as victims of disappearances for connections to alleged separatists.

Under this blatantly inhuman practice victims are taken into custody by the agents of the state, their detention is denied, their whereabouts are concealed, and their fate consigned to limbo. Cut off from the world and placed outside the protection of the law, many are never seen again. They are not only subjected to mental and physical torture but their relatives and loved ones endure the agony of not knowing whether the disappeared person is dead or alive. Sometimes the victim’s dead body is found thrown in a ditch or on the roadside.

The Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC) strongly condemns the inhuman practice of forced disappearances of people in Balochistan being carried out by the agents of the state and deplores the inability of the elected government of Pakistan to put an end to this crime against humanity.

It is self-evident that not only will state terror fail as in the past, but will actually add fuel to the fires of separatism in Balochistan. The only rational way to prevent the further disintegration of Pakistan is to learn from experience and address the social, economic and political causes of the pain and alienation widespread among the numerically smaller nations of Pakistan.

The Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians adds its voice to all those demanding an immediate end to these disappearances. We, too, support the call for the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry to identify the names and numbers of those who have been disappeared, expose the brutalities committed on the victims and punish all those found guilty of perpetrating them. Last, but not least, the Government of Pakistan must financially compensate the victims and families of all those who have suffered from this inhuman practice.

September 16, 2010