Al-Jazeera English Quotes Malik Siraj Akbar


Al-Jazeera English quoted me in one of its investigative article by Mehreen Zara- Malik about the Kharotabad killings.The article said:

“Extra-judicial killings, as everyone knows, are a routine matter in the province,” Malik Siraj Akbar, the editor of The Baloch Hal, Balochistan’s first online English language newspaper, told this scribe. “The FC’s job is border patrolling and anti-smuggling operations. They aren’t trained to deal with civilians.”

Understandably, the police and Levies forces feel undermined by the FC in Balochistan. Whenever a high-impact event takes police, the government calls in the FC and keeps the police at arm’s length. “Everyone is scared of the FC uniform while no one cares about the police. The integrity and the dignity of other forces, especially the police, are in question because of the FC. These are forces constantly in transition because under every new government their role is reversed. Before Musharraf, 95% of Balochistan was controlled by the police and 5 percent by the Levies. The PPP government has reversed this. Add to this mix the FC, and there is constant confusion about who has what responsibilities and where each force’s jurisdiction ends,” Akbar explained.

What he finds most unconvincing about the narrative on the Kharotabad incident is that the FC took action based on a radio message received from the police. “No analyst or insider with any real understanding of FC-police dynamics in Balochistan will believe this. There is almost no coordination between the FC and police. The police are loathe to inform the FC about anything. The FC is stepping on their toes, undermining their credibility, constantly making them look bad. This is the first time I’ve heard of coordination between the FC and the police. They’re archrivals.”

Indeed, police-FC relations really took a turn for the worse in 2009 when policemen, demanding an increase in salaries and compensation for the killing of policemen, broke into the Governor’s and Chief Minister’s Houses. Looking to the FC to support them, the police felt ever more betrayed when the FC came in to ‘control’ the situation and ‘restore’ law and order and helped arrest tens of policemen. “Since then, coordination between police and FC is completely non-existent. It’s unlikely the police radioed the FC. In fact, lack of coordination between security forces deployed in the province is one of the biggest problems,” said Akbar.

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