Unrest in Balochistan: Senators seek report on ‘foreign hand’


ISLAMABAD: 

A senate panel on Wednesday sought a report from intelligence agencies on the alleged involvement of foreign hands in the troubled areas of Pakistan, particularly Balochistan.

“Why is it generally believed that India and Afghanistan are funding ‘Ferrari camps’, if any, in Balochistan,” asked Senator Fateh Muhammad Hasni. “It’s the right time to take up this issue seriously,” he observed.

Senate Standing Committee on Interior was discussing the worsening law and order situation in volatile areas when chairman of the panel, Senator Talha Mahmood directed Secretary Interior Javed Iqbal to invite all law enforcement and intelligence agencies for their input on such burning issues.

“We lawmakers have a serious concern over foreign infiltration—it’s creating more  of a mess in bordering areas,” Mahmood observed.

Senior police officers from all the provinces informed the panel that in the last three years, some 48 cases of kidnapping had been reported in Islamabad, 370 in Sindh, 350 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 7 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and 2 in Gilgit Baltistan (G-B); while 400 cases had been registered in Balochistan in last two years.

“Kidnapping for ransom has become a lucrative business now—putting the life of every rich man at risk,” observed Inspector General Police Sikandar Hayat.

The police officers admitted that among the law enforcement agencies there was a lack of coordination, which sometimes halted collective operation against criminal gangs, who had links even in neighbouring countries like India and Afghanistan.

Talking about Karachi, a senior police officer from Sindh said there was zero documentation of criminal record in the port city. “Criminal gangs fully equipped with modern weapons are the major cause behind Karachi’s unrest,” Sindh Police Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Forensic Department Munir Sheikh said.

He stressed on the revision of laws on criminal justice, which according to his observation, had totally flopped and only favoured the criminals.

Committee’s Chairman Senator Talha Mahmood directed the interior secretary to submit details regarding national security plan being prepared after meeting of top agencies with interior ministry officials. He also sought report on Islamabad Safe City Project which, according to him, should be reviewed to make the city more peaceful. All these details will be presented to the committee in first week of September.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2013.