Pak Govt must urgently provide accountability for Baloch killings: Amnesty International

Thursday, February 24, 2011

WASHINGTON - The Pakistan Government must immediately provide accountability for the “alarming number of killings and abductions in Balochistan attributed to government forces” in recent months, Amnesty International has demanded.

In the last four months, at least 90 Baloch activists, teachers, journalists and lawyers have disappeared or been murdered, many in ‘kill and dump’ operations, according to the information compiled by AI. Their bullet-ridden bodies, most bearing torture marks, have been recovered across Balochistan.

“Since October, every month has seen an increase in the cases of alleged disappearances and unlawful killings,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

“These atrocities are carried out with flagrant impunity. Credible investigations into these incidents - resulting in prosecutions - are absolutely necessary to establish some trust between the Baloch people and the Pakistan government,” Zarifi added.

The victims’ relatives and Baloch groups blame the ‘kill and dump’ incidents on Pakistani security forces, particularly the Frontier Corps and intelligence agencies.

“Human rights abuses attributed to the security agencies have created a climate of fear for the families of the disappeared. They are terrified to speak out in fear that security agents will kill their loved ones or abduct other family members in reprisal,” Zarifi said.

Amnesty International called on the Pakistan government to investigate all alleged human rights abuses, including all “disappearances” recorded by the judicial Commission of Inquiry for Missing Persons, to bring all perpetrators of abuses to justice, whether they belong to security forces or non-state armed groups, and ensure that all individuals brought to justice receive a fair trial and are not subjected to torture or any abuse in detention.

It also urged Baloch armed groups to avoid attacks that target or endanger civilians, in the face of escalating attacks on government workers and non-Baloch residents of the province.

“Baloch armed groups must also avoid endangering civilians,” said Zarifi, adding, “The apparent targeting of civilians, teachers and government officials by Baloch groups, has forced many of them to flee the province, which only worsens conditions for the already poorly-served Baloch people.” (ANI)

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