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Enforced disappearances: Chief Justice says 95% of cases involve the FC

Note: Below are links to recent coverage of Frontier Corp (FC) involvement in the disappearances of Baloch citizens. The last link (via Salon.com) relates to developments in Guatemala where invaluable evidence has been provided to human rights activists and investigators, including 'a 54-page army log that revealed the fate of scores of people who were “disappeared” by security forces during the mid-1980s. The log included photos of 183 of the victims, along with coded references to their executions.'

In Pakistan police recently produced a video that shows three disappeared Baloch persons being picked up in an FC vehicle. We hope sources in Pakistan will find the courage to come forward with evidence/information that will enable the courts to recover missing persons and determine the fates of those tortured and killed under the notorious 'kill and dump' policy.

By Azam Khan

ISLAMABAD: Not a single attacker has been arrested through investigations by police and the Frontier Corps in the nearly 2,000 terrorist attacks across Balochistan since 2011.

The disclosure was made in the Supreme Court on Monday by the Frontier Corps Inspector General Major General Obaidullah Khattak, who claimed that those in FC custody had either surrendered to the authorities or confessed to their involvement in around 886 terrorist attacks.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, resumed hearings in cases pertaining to the law and order situation in Balochistan and the missing persons issue in the province.

The chief justice observed that the alleged involvement of the FC was present in a whopping 95% of the missing persons cases. Meanwhile, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain observed that even though the FC and security forces once enjoyed the trust and respect of the public, the situation had taken a horrible turn due to their flawed strategies.

On Monday, Major General Khattak appeared before the Supreme Court in three cases in which the FC was allegedly being held responsible for abductions. He informed the three-judge bench of the apex court that efforts were under way to trace the missing persons. The court, however, was not won over by Khattak’s arguments and told him to keep the FC’s activities within the law’s ambit.

During proceedings, a video was also aired showing FC personnel arresting a boy who is now missing. Major General Khattak denied the charges, saying that there was a possibility that unidentified miscreants had used the FC uniform during the kidnapping, adding that as per the FC’s standing operating procedures (SOPs), at least two vehicles operate side by side in the province.

The court raised several questions after watching the video but the FC IG could not satisfy the court in this regard. Khattak was dumbfounded as to why the vehicle was not stopped at the checkpoint by security officials, but said that the checkpoint did not belong to the FC. The chief justice went on to ask whether the FC and police were on same page regarding the maintenance of the law and order situation in the province.

“Mr General, if the FC is also not aware about whereabouts of missing persons, then tell us whether … aasman kha gaya ya zameen nikal gahee.”

The court then gave the FC and police chiefs 30 minutes to form a strategy for the recovery of the missing persons. After the joint conference, the Inspector General Police (IGP) Balochistan and FC IG assured the court that they realised their duties and they would ensure the recovery of missing persons before May 21 — the next date of hearing. The court asked both top officers to make joint efforts for the recovery of missing persons.

“Mr General, keep in mind your briefing about other cases of law and order and missing persons when this bench convenes in Quetta on May 21 to hear this case.”

General Khattak gave assurances of progress to the court and said that it had become the ‘common objective’ of the courts and law enforcement agencies to stabilise the situation in the province.

Balochistan DIG Hamid Shakeel reiterated his earlier statement before the court that traffic police officials had witnessed FC personnel abduct Mehran Khan, son of Murad Khan, in broad daylight.

* * *

Enforced disappearances: Pressure builds on FC in missing persons’ cases

By Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: All eyes are now on the Frontier Corps, as more and more fingers, however reluctant, are pointed towards them in ‘missing’ persons’ cases.

A two-member bench of the Supreme Court, hearing a case on missing persons, was informed by the police on Friday about a video showing the alleged involvement of the FC in missing persons’ cases in Balochistan.

DIG Operations Balochistan Police Hamid Shakeel informed the court of the existence of CCTV footage of a private hotel, where an FC vehicle picked up three missing persons.

The bench ordered him to present the video before it and warned that on failure to do so, the corps commander would be summoned.

During Friday’s proceedings, the court also gave a stern warning to Inspector General of Balochistan Obaidullah Khattak that strict action would be taken against him if he failed to show up before the court.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that it has been proven that the missing persons were picked up by the FC and regretted that the IG had not appeared before the court, despite summons.

The chief justice reminded that Khattak had been ordered to present missing persons during the last hearings. “Why haven’t they been brought before the court?” he said, and asked for the IG to tell exactly what time he would appear before the court.

FC Major Sohail said that Khattak was busy, to which the chief justice said: “This is the Supreme Court; not a joke.”

He further warned that the court would pass an order in case the IG failed to appear.

The bench ordered that three missing persons be presented before the court during its next hearing and summoned IG Police Balochistan and IG FC to the next hearing scheduled for May 14.

If the IG FC does not want to appear himself, he should at least present the three missing persons before the bench, the chief justice said.

The Balochistan advocate-general informed the court that the FC was under the control of the federal government.

The chief justice said that the federal government was not taking any interest in the affairs of Balochistan.

During a hearing on the case of Balochistan’s deteriorating law and order situation in Quetta on May 5, the Supreme Court was informed that the police registered cases against serving FC officials for their involvement in missing persons’ cases.

The police submitted the copies of the FIRs in which an FC major and colonel were nominated for allegedly abducting two persons from Khuzdar and Wadh.

Justice Khilji Arif Hussain noted the considerable step, saying that earlier people were merely levelling allegations against security forces, whereas now a major and colonel have been nominated in FIRs.

However, Chief Justice Chaudhry remained unsatisfied with the slow progress and gave a final ultimatum to the police: recover missing persons in two weeks, or else face action under the Constitution.

* * *

How Kate Doyle pursues war criminals in Latin America

By Jefferson Morley

Note from CrisisBalochistan: While Balochistan is not the subject of this article, we are posting a link to the story because the work that Kate Doyle does is important to all who are concerned with extra-judicial abductions and killings. It is our hope that one day sources will come forward in Balochistan and Pakistan, as they have done in Guatemala, to help reveal the fates of those who have been disappeared and/or been murdered.

Please click to read full article at salon.com

'Kate Doyle’s job isn’t exactly journalism, though she’s nailed more big stories than many Pulitzer Prize winners. Her work does not quite qualify as law enforcement either, though a few bad guys living in confined quarters rue the day she came into their lives. “Human rights detective” sounds flippant, so she prefers “forensic archivist.”

Whatever you call it, war criminals have to pay attention. Last month Doyle, a senior analyst at the non-profit National Security Archive, testified as an expert witness in the Peruvian government’s prosecution of Vladimir Montesinos, the country’s former intelligence chief, who is on trial for ordering the execution of 14 captured leftist guerrillas in 1997. Doyle authenticated a declassified CIA cable she had obtained that included a first person account of Montesinos’s actions.

...In the late 1990s, a source gave Guatemalan human rights activists a 54-page army log that revealed the fate of scores of people who were “disappeared” by security forces during the mid-1980s. The log included photos of 183 of the victims, along with coded references to their executions.

For the families of the victims, the results of the discovery of the so-called “death squad dossier” were close to miraculous. Not only are the officers named in the documents now under investigation, but thanks to Peccerelli’s DNA work, the bodies of five of the victims were identified and returned to their families, who had never known what had happened to their loved ones 30 years ago.

In 2009, another source gave Doyle a set of internal military documents about the scorched earth campaign of the early 1980s that were so damning in their details that the source recommended she immediately leave the country. “This person was worried that anybody who had possession of such incendiary documents would be targeted,” Doyle said.

The documents will be used by prosecutors in the trial of Rios Montt. “We have a very strong case,” Doyle says. But the continuing power of the Guatemalan military means the 86-year-old retired general may be able to avoid justice...'


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