Judicial inquiry into Khuzdar tragedy

The Baloch Hal Editorial: Judicial inquiry into Khuzdar tragedy Jan 22nd, 2010

By Malik Siraj Akbar

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani has taken strict notice of the killing of two activists of Baloch Students Organization (BSO-Azad) by promptly ordering a judicial inquiry into the matter. The legal probe would be conducted by Balochistan Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Qazi Faiz Essa, and two other judges of the Balochistan high court. This is surely a positive and bold stand taken by the provincial chief executive at a time critical juncture when there is consensus among all political parties and the members of civil society that justice must be done with the families of the two young students who lost their lives in the firing incident in Khuzdar.

Both the political activists were killed after personnel of the Frontier Corps allegedly opened indiscriminate fire on a peaceful democratic rally that was meant to expostulate over the recent target killing of Balochs in Karachi.

The killing of two BSO activists received extensive condemnation. Angry Balochs regardless of their political affiliations came out of their homes and participated in different protest rallies that condemned the naked aggression of the Frontier Corps against the people of Balochistan. Political parties across the province observed successful shutter down and wheel jam strikes. Life remained utterly paralyzed in many districts of the province to mark the killing of two innocent political workers. They demanded that the perpetrators of the firing incident, who reportedly belonged to the Frontier Corps, should immediately be brought to justice.

On its part, the FC, as usual, has been denying its involvement in the firing incident by saying that it was not deployed at the particular rally which came under indiscriminate firing. A FC spokesman said any judicial inquiry would be welcomed if the government opted for such an approach. The people of Balochistan are genuinely disillusioned over the excesses of the Frontier Corps as it is not the first time that the people have had to bear the brunt of FC’s belligerence.

Last year, the FC, in a similar provocative action, opened fire on a peaceful public rally in Thump area of Turbat district which was marking the death of Meer Jan Meeral, a local poet who was killed in a battle with the FC. As a result, Mukhtar Ahmed, a 20-year old student, was killed. When women from the area, headed by Banok Karima Baloch, a central leader of the Baloch Students Organization, marched before the FC camp in Turbat, they were responded with baton charge. Furthermore, a senior journalist from the area, Irshad Akhtar, was also baldy beaten up by the FC officials in order to prevent him from covering the historic protest rally of hundreds of Baloch women against the killing of Mukhtar Ahmed.

The killing of two political activists in Khuzdar has brought the provincial government under intense pressure. Public opinion has turned against the FC and it is certain to go against the provincial government if the latter minces words in denouncing the Khuzdar carnage. Even two provincial ministers – Sardar Aslam Bizenjo and Abdul Rehman Mengal— staged a walkout from the Balochistan Assembly session last week in protest against the tragic incident in Khuzdar. There could not be anything more embarrassing for the provincial government than a walk out staged by none other than its own ministers. After all, it has become very difficult for the provincial ministers to give a convincing explanation for the wrong actions taken by the FC. Amid such challenging times, the elected public representatives are expected to stop blindly supporting the actions of the security forces. Voters expect these members of the provincial legislative assembly to analyze the ground situation and stand with them at this critical juncture.

Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani has taken a very principled stance against the FC by publicly declaring that FC was running a parallel government in the province. Issuance of directives by CM Raisani to conduct a judicial inquiry into the cold-blooded murder of two Baloch students is a welcome decision. This will be fully commended only if an objective inquiry is conducted and the real faces behind the killing are not only exposed but also punished.

It is true that the people in Balochistan are by and large upset with the role of dormant judiciary. They have neither received relief on the issue of missing persons nor justice in the murder cases of Nawab Akbar Bugti and three other Baloch leaders –Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, Lala Munir Baloch and Sher Mohammad Baloch – who were whisked away and then killed in Turbat allegedly by the Frontier Corps (FC). The people of Balochistan are once again giving the judiciary and the provincial government a chance to act against the elements that are crossing their constitutional mandate and causing bloodshed in the province under the pretext of establishing the writ of the government.

The Baloch Hal (www.thebalochhal) is the first online English newspaper of Balochistan)

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