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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Killing with impunity; Dawn Editorial

From the Newspaper | Editorial |

BALOCHISTAN`S issues may be many but the state has left a lot to be desired in the handling of these. For many months now, bullet-riddled corpses are being discovered with alarming regularity across the province. The nature of the wounds suggests summary executions. Most recently this month, the bodies of four men shot in the head and chest were found near Turbat, Khuzdar and Pasni. Two of them were members of the banned Baloch Republican Party. Two days later, the body of a journalist, with similar wounds, was found in Hub. He had been missing for two months. It is widely believed that the security forces are involved in these `kill and dump` operations, accused as they are by human rights groups of being behind the scores of `forced disappearances`. Yet the killings continue, for the federal and provincial governments have effectively handed over the security policy in Balochistan to the security forces, while the latter, it seems, have discarded even the semblance of respecting due process.

Though levels of insurgency-related violence have of late declined somewhat, the use of such tactics allegedly by the security forces takes the latter`s operations outside lawful confines and is sure to further fan the separatist flame. There can be no substitute for political solutions to political issues. This holds true on the Baloch front too: any agenda pursued through the barrel of a gun must be condemned. Then, while the security establishment appears to be using the worst tools in its arsenal against the insurgents, it has been unable to contain the sectarian violence that also haunts the province. Communities including Punjabi settlers and Shia Hazaras are being killed with impunity while the security apparatus stands by. The contrast only weakens the image of the state in the public`s view — something the former cannot afford when it is ostensibly trying to elicit support for the federation from Balochistan`s residents. If the situation is to improve, legal measures for countering the insurgency need to be pursued with the same level of enthusiasm that, so far, has only been evident in the state`s perusal of illegal means.

DAWN

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