HRCP raises concerns over disappearances, curbs on press in Balochistan

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has sounded alarm over growing public frustration pertaining to enforced disappearances, economic exclusion, curbs on press freedom

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The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has sounded alarm over growing public frustration pertaining to enforced disappearances, economic exclusion, curbs on press freedom, misgovernance and allegations of political manipulation by the establishment in Balochistan, Geo News reported.
A fact-finding mission led by HRCP in October 2022 said that a palpable sense of anger was seen among ordinary citizens, many of whom even called Balochistan as a 'colony' of the state during meetings with the organisation, as per the news report.
The mission raised concern about the state's widespread use of enforced disappearances to stop dissent, a grievance echoed in numerous conversations, as per the Geo News report. The discontent has been exacerbated by the extensive presence of paramilitary check-posts, which people have said has caused a climate of fear, particularly in Makran.
Balochistan continues to be deprived of its fair share of revenues from large development projects amid the serious economic downtown, Geo News reported, adding that the mission also observed that the absence of a healthy legal trading ecosystem between Balochistan and Pakistan's neighbouring nations has enhanced poverty levels in the province.
The mission called for an immediate halt to unwarranted interference in Balochistan's political affairs by the establishment and accountability for perpetrators of enforced disappearances, according to the news report. It further raised a demand for introducing legislation in the Balochistan Assembly to protect the security and independence of media professionals in the province.
The mission said the Haq Do Tehreek's demands for basic amenities must be fulfilled while any ongoing or planned project under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should not affect the Gwadar fisherfolk community's source of livelihood, as per the Geo News report. It feels that the legitimate grievances of the Pashtun population, including those regarding unequal representation in the provincial legislature, must be heard by all political stakeholders.
Earlier in March, Baloch Voice Association, an NGO based in Paris, called upon the United Nations to conduct a thorough investigation into the cases of enforced disappearances in Balochistan and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions.
Speaking at the 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Baloch Voice Association President Munir Mengal said that people have, time and again faced discrimination and marginalization systematically in Pakistan's Balochistan.
"They have been subject to hate speech, violence, and Extrajudicial Killings and even reported by Human Rights Watch as Baloch are facing a slow-motion genocide by Pakistan. This council must acknowledge that this is unacceptable and take action to address these issues," he added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Apr 09 2023 | 10:46 AM IST

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