Balochistan faces growing public frustration with enforced disappearance: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
LAHORE, April 8 (IANS) The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said Balochistan faces growing public frustration with enforced disappearances, economic exclusion, restrictions on press freedom, mismanagement and allegations of political manipulation by the institution.
A fact-finding mission led by the HRCP noted a palpable sense of anger among ordinary citizens, many of whom went so far as to refer to Balochistan as a “colony” of the state during meetings with the organisation.
The team spoke to a wide range of members of civil society, including human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and members of the fishermen’s community, as well as political leaders and members of the administration in Gwadar, Turbat, Benjour and Quetta.
The mission is concerned about the state’s widespread use of enforced disappearances to silence dissent, a complaint echoed in many of the conversations.
This discontent has been exacerbated by the heavy presence of paramilitary checkpoints, which citizens say has created a climate of fear, particularly in Makran.
In addition, in the midst of a serious economic downturn, the resource-rich province continues to be denied its fair share of the proceeds from large development projects. The mission also noted that the lack of a sound legal trade ecosystem between Balochistan and neighboring countries has exacerbated poverty levels in the province, the commission said.
Among other recommendations, the mission calls for an immediate cessation of unjustified interference in political affairs in Balochistan through the establishment and accountability of perpetrators of enforced disappearances and legislation by the Balochistan Association to protect the security and independence of media professionals in the province.
The Mission feels strongly that Haq Du Hareq’s long-standing demands for basic facilities must be met, while any projects underway or planned under the China Asia-Pacific Economic Corridor must not touch the livelihood of the Gwadar fishermen community.
The mission also believes that the legitimate grievances of the Pashtun population, particularly those related to unequal representation in the provincial legislature, should be given a fair hearing by all political stakeholders, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
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