Raisani’s Anarchic Balochistan

By Malik Siraj Akbar

The dead body of a senior Baloch lawyer Zaman Marri, who was “kidnapped” on August 19, 2010, was finally found in Mastung district. The family members of the veteran lawyer identified him when his body was taken to the Bolan Medical College Complex in Quetta. Doctors say Zaman had been tortured before being shot at with bullets.

The Baloch nationalist parties, while strongly condemning the killing of the seasoned lawyer, have held the state intelligence agencies responsible for whisking Zaman away and killing him. A large number of enraged people attended Zaman’s funeral held in Quetta. They directly blamed the government for singling out Baloch professionals and killing them during illegal detention.

The trend of receiving the dead bodies of the missing Baloch persons is very alarming. More and more missing persons’ dead bodies are recovering with clear signs of torture and brutality on them.

This perturbing trend has significantly worried the family members of those who have gone missing and nothing is known about their whereabouts yet. The family members fear these missing persons, if not recovered immediately, will also be mercilessly killed.

Zaman was in fact not an ordinary lawyer. He was already well-known among the lawyers of Balochistan who had been boycotting the courts’ proceedings and observing black days to press the government to ensure his timely release. On the top of it, the Balochistan High Court (BHC), after coming under intense pressure from lawyers’ bodies, took suo moto notice of the kidnapping. Even a suo moto notice did not help in ensuring the kidnapped lawyers’ safety. This particular incident should embarrass the country’s judiciary which is totally powerless before the criminals. The judiciary is unable to press the police and other law enforcement agencies to take timely action.

Lawyers in Balochistan have recently come under radar of the kidnappers. Previously, a high court lawyer Ifthakar-ul-Haq was kidnapped from Quetta but released by his captors after much struggle. Another lawyer from Khuzdar, Munir Mirwani, is still in the custody of his abductors. These cases have enormously contributed to the sense of insecurity among the lawyers of Balochistan.

If a prominent lawyer like Zaman Marri, in support of whom lawyers’ bodies and political parties stood and the judiciary took a strict stance, did not return home safely, one wonders what is going to happen to the relatively unpopular missing students and political activists who have “disappeared”.

It is a great disgrace that all these gruesome cases, which were not even seen during the dictatorial regime of General Pervez Musharraf, are taking place during a democratic government. It is more depressing that the cream of Baloch society is being regularly targeted at a time when Balochs are serving as the governor and the chief minister of Balochistan.

Besides the greed of power, there is nothing that justifies chief minister Raisani’s continuity in his office. He has proved to be an ineffective administrator. He has become unpopular among the Balochs and the government functionaries. The Frontier Corps (FC) does not either respect him nor does it abide by him. These are simply the visible signs of Raisani’s unpopularity.

While taking charge of the office, the chief minister had promised to prioritize law and order. Target killings, sectarian violence and the coldblooded murder of innocent Balochs have become the order of the day. The chief minister is utterly unable to stop these violent cases. Likewise, none of the ministers in his cabinet demonstrates an iota of commitment towards the improvement of the situation in the province.

That said, the issue of the missing persons is getting worse day by day in remote districts of Balochistan as well. There is no word about the whereabouts of two political activists and one school teacher in Panjgur, who were recently whisked away allegedly by the Frontier Corps (FC) from the district headquarter hospital.

Balochistan has become ungovernable for Raisani and his cabinet. Governing a province surely does not only mean to issue statements of condemnation and meet delegations at the Chief Minister Secretariat. If the chief minister does not have the ability to meet ever-increasing public expectations, then the best way is to step down and let others serve the province.

This write-up originally appeared in The Baloch Hal, Balochistan’s first online newspaper

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