International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture in Balochistan

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Baloch nationals protesting with photographs of
Baloch nationals protesting with photographs of "Missing" people of Balochistan. The missing people in these photographs have disappeared due to Pakistan's "kill and dump" policy in Balochistan. (Representative image)

There are thousands of innocent Baloch including women, girls, lawyers, doctors, students, teachers, human rights activists and ordinary persons who are in illegal custody in the concentration and internment camps of the Pakistani security forces. Torture, ‘enforced disappearances‘ and extra-legal executions in Balochistan is the order of the day. We have raised the vital issue of torture before the Committee against Torture and the committee reprimanded the representatives of Pakistan and warned them that to eradicate the imprescriptible crimes, practice of torture and this impunity must to put an end.

It’s imperative to point out here that Pakistan ratified the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading or Punishment on June 23, 2010. After an inordinate delay Pakistan submitted its report before the Committee against Torture. According to established mechanism of United Nations Council the Committee against Torture has provided opportunity to the International NGOs to submit their shadow or additional reports in the progress report of Pakistan. We, therefore, availed the opportunity as the others NGOs, and then we prepared a comprehensive additional report wherein we exposed Pakistan with correct facts and figures and cogent reasons, therefore our additional report was approved and we were invited to come to Geneva and shed light verbally on it on April 18, 2017. We did the needful with perfect preparation and the Committee was further convinced by our argument and the other NGOs and particularly Reema Omar, the legal advisor of South Asia of International Commission of Jurists, endorsed our version.

Chairman of the Committee rebuked the representative of Pakistan saying that the paramilitary forces of Pakistan with all kinds of impunity are involved in widespread and systematic ‘enforced disappearances’ of the innocent people which is a serious issue. But unfortunately this abominable and unconscionable practice is extremely prevalent and continues unabated. Rather than submit the report and have a discussion on it, the security forces of Pakistan are not bothered to take cognizance of the recommendations of the Committee and are exacerbating and increasing tortures on one hand, and the Committee against Torture is not monitoring the conscience shocking situation of Pakistan, in particular Balochistan.

Pakistani security forces are committing these elements of unimaginable atrocities across Balochistan. Torture, enforced disappearances, summary and custodial executions are inherent to government by terror. They are part and parcel of Pakistan government’s security strategy, which are their effective instruments and are being widely used political tools to control the population, especially the Baloch nation that is struggling for its right for self-determination in toto according to the Articles 1 and 55 of the United Nation Charter.

Unfortunately human rights organizations without applying the peremptory norms of general law (Jus Cogens) particularly Article 4 (2 and 3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right and they endorse the national security and national interests blindly, which encouraged the deep state as such Pakistan’s State agencies are justified or can be condoned, the condemnation and impunity the security forces of Pakistan are enjoying, in fact destroying the fabric of democratic institutions.

Whereas Article 2 of the Convention Against Torture clearly says that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, even if these be of a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as justification of cases of torture. Article 2(3) of the Convention further warns that an order from a superior officer or a Public Authority may not be invoked as a justification for for torture.

Regrettably the security forces of Pakistan are seriously violating the great Covenant Article 4(2&3) and Article 2 and 2(3) of the CAT, but the United Nations and its sister organizations, in particular the Committee against Torture are silent.

Keeping in view the aforesaid prevailing conscience shocking situation of Pakistan and especially Balochistan, June 26 is the Day Against Torture. I being a human rights lawyer appeal to International States Community , UNO, Committee against Torture and International Human Rights organizations to initiate appropriate measures to put an end to the impunity of Torture, enforced disappearances, summary and custodial executions in Pakistan at the hands of security forces and law enforcement agencies, on humanitarian grounds.

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