Pakistan’s Supreme Court Accuses Security Forces in Disappearances

Posted July 11th, 2012 at 12:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Pakistan's Supreme Court says the country's paramilitary forces are responsible for at least a third of the missing persons cases in the country's southwest.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry on Wednesday ordered the Frontier Corps to produce missing persons before the court, saying the paramilitary force is picking up “every third person” in Baluchistan province.

Pakistani and international human rights groups have long accused security forces of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in Baluchistan.

The head of the rights group Voice for Missing Baloch Persons, Nasrullah Baloch, told VOA's Deewa Radio Wednesday that “every day Frontier Corps and secret agencies kidnap political workers in broad daylight and keep them in their illegal torture cells, then we receive their bullet-riddled, mutilated dead bodies.”

New York-based Human Rights Watch reported in April that at least 300 people had been abducted, killed and their bodies abandoned across Baluchistan since January of 2011. The rights group says Pakistani security forces involved in counterinsurgency operations are partially to blame for the killings.

Security forces deny the charges and blame the deaths on rivalry between militant groups operating in the province.

Baluchistan is home to Baluch separatists who are fighting a low-level insurgency in hopes of gaining political autonomy and a greater share of the profits from the region's natural resources.

Human Rights Watch says it has documented how Pakistani security forces, particularly the country's intelligence agencies, targeted for enforced disappearance ethnic Baluchs suspected of involvement in the Baluch nationalist movement.

The group says abductions are often carried out in broad daylight, frequently in busy public areas and in the presence of multiple witnesses.

An eight-year-old girl at Wednesday's Supreme Court hearing in Quetta told VOA's Deewa Radio she wants to see justice in the case of her missing father. She said, “I came here for the recovery of my father. I appeal to the international community to play a role in his release.”