Governor Magsi’s Thunder Embarrasses IG FC

In order to accurately grasp the situation in Balochistan, one needs to understand the undemocratic influence of the Inspector General of the Frontier Corps (FC) over the elected civil administration.

Major General Obaidullah Khan, a non-native of Balochistan, says he does not recognize the fresh report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) about Balochsitan. In his views, the internationally respected and widely trusted human rights watchdog is allegedly “encouraging terrorists” in Balochistan. This is a rude charge leveled by a two-star low-ranking official (equivalent to OF-7 in NATO) of a country which has signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Lahore-based liberal newspaper Daily Times quoted Mr. Khan, who is widely perceived more belligerent than his predecessor Major General Saleem Nawaz, branding the HRW report as “partial and portraying one side of the picture.”

“The IG said that he would condemn the report for its attempt to discourage the security forces and at the same time encourage the terrorists in Balochistan,” Mr. Khan told reporters at an Iftar dinner which military officers and government ministries often organize in the month of Ramadan as bribe to “enhance friendly relations” with journalists and columnists.

Mr. Khan’s views actually resonate with what the Pakistan army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said while questioning the sources of funding of the HRW in a typical conspiracy-driven Pakistani style. Online News Network quoted Mr. Abbas, who also directs the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the publicity department of the Pakistan Army, as insisting that the sources of funding of these organizations should be probed “as this could be traced back to those forces which want to destabilize Pakistan.”

Now here is the joke: According to Wikipedia, there 170 major generals currently serving in the Pakistan army. Two out of these 170 major generals have already spoken up and totally rejected the HRW report. Both of these major generals are non-Baloch and non-residents of Balochistan with no constitutional mandate to speak on the behalf of the government have directly approached the media and trampled a report which spoke in the interest of our people.

On the contrary, there are only four governors and four chief ministers in the country as compared to 170 major generals. The question, in the first place, is: Why do major generals, who are as plenty as seeds of pomegranate, speak on issues which totally pertain to the elected federal and the provincial governments? Secondly, why do civilian authorities in Balochistan live under the shadow of the military?

Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi’s recent statement in which he has called for the Pakistan army to provide accountability for the killings and disappearances in Balochistan reflects the widespread anguish prevalent among even those who are in the government. Magsi is not an ordinary figure in Balochistan’s politics to be snubbed lightly nor is he the representative of Baloch nationalists. He was twice voted as the chief minister of Balochistan. If there was no constitutional restriction on becoming the chief minister for the third time when the general elections of 2008 took place, today he would most probably be serving as head of the provincial government.

Nawab Magsi made front page headlines the other day by angrily saying that the State was not fully fulfilling its obligations to protect the people of Balochistan. More and more young Balochs, he pointed out, were joining the rebellion. He demanded that the army should now provide accountability about the people who are being killed and disappeared.

It is not the first time Governor Magsi has spoken boldly and publicly in support of the genuine demands of  his people. His assertion also contradict the statements of the two major generals. A Baloch governor with extensive experience of running governments in Balochistan knows his province a lot more than those who do not fully understand the situation in Balochistan.

If Magsi, a representative of the President of Pakistan, is angry then we have to either trust him or also enlist him in “Deep State’s” category of “traitors” and the “agents of foreign elements”. Flamboyant Magsi speaks less frequently and utters fewer words than any other political figure. In the recent times, he has spoken consistently against the “invisible soldiers’ ” policies in Balochistan. He also reminded the army chief General Kayani during one of his visits to Balochistan that the issue of disappeared people and killings was highly depressing and needed to be stopped.

“Where are these missing people?,” he asked Kayani, “It is the right of their families to know their whereabouts. If they are in custody of any civilian agency or with the spy agencies ISI and MI, they should be handed over to police and produced before courts.”

Governor Magsi’s remarks also validate the claims of the HRW that the security forces are involved in massive violation of human rights in Balochistan. These atrocities should not only be immediately halted but the elements responsible for the killing of hundreds of Baloch youth should be brought to justice.

Governor Magsi stands at crossroads of the history where he cane either become a hero of Baloch rights similar to his grandfather Nawab Yousaf Aziz Magsi or remain the disliked figure in the history books during whose time what Amnesty International terms the “kill and dump policy” was executed. (Source: The Baloch Hal)


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