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War Crimes And Human Rights Violations In Balochistan

By Dr Wahid Baloch

31 January, 2006

On behalf of Baloch Society Of North America (BSO-NA) USA, I would like to bring your urgent attention to the deteriorating situation and gross human rights violations in Balochistan where Pakistani dictators have started the 5th military operation against the innocent Baloch people, using US gunship helicopters and F-16 jets, to crush theirpeaceful struggle against the occupation of their land and exploitation of their resources by Pakistan.The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Sunday accused President Pervez Musharraf’s military-led government of "gross human rights violations" in Balochistan, where it said a "war-like situation" prevailed.The HRCP also rejected government claims that it was not using regular armed forces in a crackdown in the province launched last month after rocket attacks by tribal militants battling for greater autonomy and control of natural gas fields.The group said it had "received evidence that action by armed forces had led to deaths and injuries among civilians" and that "populations had also been subjected to indiscriminate bombing".The HRCP report said up to 85 per cent the 22,000-26,000 inhabitants of Dera Bugti had fled their homes after the town was repeatedly hit by shelling by paramilitary forces. "There were alarming accounts of summary executions, some allegedly carried out by paramilitary forces. The HRCP received credible evidence that showed such killings had taken place," it said."Across Balochistan, the HRCP team found widespread instances of ‘disappearance’, of
torture inflicted on people held in custody, and on those fleeing from their houses,"

The important thing is that those committing war crimes such as summary executions, bombing of civilians, torture of prisoners, etc., should be brought to justice. Human Rights are a universal concept.. many countries now recognize extra-territorial jurisdiction and the International Criminal Court is also functioning. Pakistani judiciary cannot successfully prosecute war crimes -- there are no court martials feasible for rape or murder, torture or mass killings, etc. committed by the Pakistani armed forces.

The Indian bogey some people raise won't do. Ms. Asma Jahangir observed very wisely:

About the Indian government's statements expressing concern over the situation in Baluchistan, Jahangir said: "I have a very different view. It is not a matter of Indian government or Pakistan government. My view is that human rights issues are universal".

"And I think when our government takes out the issue of the massacres that took place in the Indian Gujarat, not only our government but all governments of the world should make India accountable for what they did".

"And therefore it is just right that when systematic human rights violations are taking place as they took place in Gujarat and what is taking place in Baluchistan, that the world community does pay attention to it. India is part of the world community and India is part of the region and I hope that not only India but other countries do pay attention".

"So what is happening in Baluchistan is grave enough to take notice of."

The world needs to take notice of what is happening in Baluchistan. The complete infeasibility of state judicial response in a military dictatorship means that for the Pakistani war criminals, international courts have to take over and do their duty under international law on war crimes.

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