Tyrant rulers have always adopted hostile methods to choke the voices against them. Any person who protests against their totalitarian regime is singled out as a lesson for others. The protestor thus becomes a victim of naked aggression of state governed and institutionalized terrorism. medrx-one.com
This principle of dictatorial regimes still serves as a ruling foundation in Pakistan with its blatant malice, despite all the claims of unchecked, chieftain to supporting freedom of expression and safeguarding human rights. However this time around, the application of this gagging principle is done in a different fashion by the Musharraf regime.
General Musharraf has invented and pioneered a new method of cruelty. Besides the sham reverse engineering he did to produce the fascist versions of “enlighten moderation” and “liberalism” in the laboratory of GHQ. This contemporary method of gagging is a practice to magically disappear a person from the scene of commonality who objects to the illegitimate rule and struggles for human rights.
Before the year 2001, this was not the usual method used to suppress the rising voices. This technique, along with other pretentious reforms was implemented in Pakistan by the military governments as a result of the so called war on terrorism by the U.S. This method of abductions has succeeded like the sham version of enlighten moderation of General Musharraf. Because people can point fingers to the government, however, they cannot produce empirical evidence that these mysterious abductions are done on the orders of the government and government easily avoids the burning questions by giving a lame excuse of judicial inquiry in this issue.
In the beginning, rulers adopted this approach to increase its revenues. According to the report of Amnesty International hundreds of Pakistani citizens and foreigners were abducted from different regions of Pakistan and sent to Guantanamo Bay. Many people were arrested without warrant, declared terrorists without investigation and sold to the Unites States for US$5000 each. Furthermore, Amnesty International adds that human rights were badly abused while making these arrests. Detainees were transferred to the torture cells of Guantanamo from Bagram airbase and no information was released to their families and relatives. Families of many detainees still have no clue concerning the whereabouts of their beloved ones. Amnesty International also argues that Pakistani government is responsible for the imprisonment of these detainees at Guantanamo without any charge, concrete evidence and due process of law.
The common people affected by the US war against terrorism are not the only category among the detainees at Guantanamo. In fact, the critics of government, journalists, scholars, political workers and even the students have become the prey of this savage cannibalism and man hunt. Some of these abducted people, who were released, appeared on the public forum after few months and then they were stopped from giving statements by additional torture and threats of government agencies. However, majority recorded their statements and confirmed that they were kidnapped by the government investigation agencies, interrogated at unknown locations and tortured physically and mentally in the most inhumane and despicable ways.
Muhammad Saleem Baloch, Senior Vice President of Jamhori Watan Party was arrested in March, 2006 at the charge of protesting against the military operation in Balochistan, outside Karachi Press Club, and then kept in detention at an unknown location. Saleem Baloch was released from Rawalpindi after eight months of illegal detention. After release Saleem Baloch issued a statement that he was detained by the government law enforcement agencies and was tortured in a brutal manner. According to Saleem Baloch these agencies have many other people in their custody who are ostensibly known as missing.
The operation which is being carried out in Balochistan has been used as a justification by the government to restrict the exercise of basic rights by the people to obtain information. Neither a Pakistani newspaper nor a TV channel can air the news about the plight of the people of Balochistan. As a result outsiders do not have any idea about Balochistan’s internal turmoil. Munir Mengal who lived in Bahrain had decided to start a television transmission from Bahrain to expose the plight of Balochistan to the outside world. Revealing the crimes of the government is itself considered an unforgivable sin. Mengal was taken in custody by the investigation agencies upon his arrival in Pakistan, right from the airport on 7th April, 2006 and since then his family members are waiting to see him.
A young journalist Hayat Ullah-Khan who dared to go to the tribal border areas for the news reporting of American activities was also accused of committing the crime because his reports were in contradiction with the reports released by the government. This young journalist was kidnapped by the agencies in December, 2005 and then his dead body was discovered months after he went missing. According to the eye witnesses who discovered the body, Hayat was savagely tortured to death and such torture could only be carried out by Pakistani investigation agencies.
Saleem Baloch, Munir Mengal and Hayat Ullah Khan are just the very few examples. The circle of this state bedevil is expanding with each passing day. Whether it is a journalist or political worker, critic of the government or student of Islamic school, anyone can be declared as Islamic militant and legitimate target for kidnapping by the government agencies. There is no need for a warrant, investigation or evidence or due process of law because being a critical of the government Pakistani citizen is more than enough of a reason to be held guilty.
According to the report of Human Rights Watch more than four hundred people became the target of this extra judicial arrest routine. More than seventy people were abducted from Karachi only. Among these people are included journalists, political workers, scholars, doctors, students and people struggling for their basic rights. These four hundred missing people are not among those who became the direct prey of the war against terrorism. There is no information available regarding the whereabouts of these people. Eye witnesses stated in majority of these cases of “forced disappearances” that the victims were kidnapped by the government agency officials. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organization have condemned this attitude of Pakistani government.
Human rights agencies demand the Government of Pakistan to pay attention to the deteriorating situation of human rights. Pakistani officials respond to these requests in the form of baton charge over the peaceful protest rallies of the families of the detainees. Family members of these missing people have been protesting for the release of their beloved ones for a very long period. The participants of the protest rally of 28th December, 2005 among which the majority were children and female relatives of these detainees were treated with the baton charge and welcomed with tear gas. The pictures of this savageness, which were published in the newspapers around the world, sent shivering waves down the spinal of everyone man and woman with the slightest regard for humanity.
One picture in particular gained lofty reputation for Pakistani police. In this picture a fifteen year old boy demanding the release of his father is shown. He was punished for this disobedience when he was stripped naked right on the road and received cans of police on bare buttocks. Moreover, this picture also illustrates a young, twelve year old girl who is helplessly crying for mercy from concept dictator who doesn’t know the concept of mercy. The Supreme Court of Pakistan issued a warning to the government after the publication of these pictures. However, will any warning be ever effective on a dictatorial regime like this?
According to the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Charter of Human Rights the security of the public is the responsibility of the government. However, when a regime becomes the enemy of its own people, when it sells its citizens for US$5000 each, when the criticism on government policies becomes an unforgivable crime how then can one protest and to whom? Given the fact that the very existence of such government contradicts with the constitution, how can it be expected that this government will respect the constitution?
These mysterious, “forced disappearances” is a grave problem and its severity is soaring with each passing day. This dilemma does not only concern the detainees but it is also a crisis for their family members who have been waiting for their beloved ones since ages. The family members of the detainees are also doomed to suffer the state of torture every day. It is the responsibility of all Pakistani citizens to carry out an organized protest before government targets another citizen for abduction, torture and possible murder.