PAKISTAN: Shia genocide — What exactly is preventing the military and the judiciary from performing their duties against militancy? 

After hearing the accusations of covert and overt support for sectarian terrorism and the terrorists the state institutions, like the judiciary and the army are trying to clarify their positions. There is of course, the involvement of the civilian set up that, after a total of 32 years of collision between the army and the judiciary, succeeded in coming to power. The Supreme Court has started hearing the cases of the genocide of the Hazara Shias to determine the cause of the killings after a demand from a budding politician, Imran Khan, who is well known for his relationship with the former chief of ISI, the notorious intelligence agency.

(Photo Source: IPSNews)

The Chief Justice, Iftekhar Choudhry, during the hearing, has placed the sole responsibility for the genocide at the feet of the prime minister and the governor of Balochistan province thereby relieving the military, Frontier Corps (FC) and intelligence agencies who are, in fact virtually ruling the province of any blame. The CJ also kept the reports of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and FC confidential and their contents were not divulged as he said that he did not want to demoralize ‘anyone’.

On the other hand the military has come out with a clarification and denounced its involvement in supporting the religious terrorist organizations. The chief of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Bajwa, claimed that during the last four months the ISI has conducted 130 operations, but in the same breath he said that military has not been stationed in Balochistan province since 2008. He disassociated the military from the carnage of Quetta.

The statement of the spokespersons of the military is actually a confession as to how military intelligence is operating independently as even the Supreme Court was not informed about its activities in the province when the CJ asked the Secretary of Defence to submit a statement about the killings in Balochistan. Even the civilian authorities did not know that so many operations were being carried out in within 120 days which means that more than one operation was conducted in any one single day. The military has also not bothered to mention as to who the targets of the operations were; whether they were against the local population or against sectarian terrorists?

Were those operations were against the Islamic militants or to establish them in Balochistan to create another province which would fall into the hands of banned militant organisations? Has just one single militant network been destroyed? Have any militants been arrested? Indeed, one crucial question is: why there were the attacks against Hazaras successful without any loss to militants.

It is no doubt that the ISI are operating freely in the province without any legal authority against the Baloch nationalists who are secularly free from any religious hate, fighting for the cause of simple autonomy for Balochistan whose resources were always usurped by the military and its forces through their operations. The abductions, extrajudicial killings and the dumping of bodies of Baloch people after arrest have never stopped. The peculiarity of the military and its intelligence agencies is that they do not like any secular or democratic movement and that is why the most democratic section of the population is under attack from military agencies.

It is also no longer a secret that when General Head Quarter (GHQ) of the Pakistan army was attacked in 2010 all the leaders of the sectarian groups and militant organisations were loaded onto a military plane and given a red carpet welcome in the GHQ for negotiations. Among them was also Malik Ishaq, the commander of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) who always claims responsibility for attacks on the Shias and Hazaras. After the successful discussions at GHQ Malik Ishaq, was awarded and the Supreme Court was requested to release him unconditionally — the Supreme Court followed the request from the old masters and he was released in July 2011. What is known is the fact that before his release he announced very proudly that he has killed more than 100 Shias and also managed the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team from inside his prison cell.

The spokesperson has not clarified as to why two notorious killers of the Shias, Usman Kurd and Daud Badini were allowed to escape from the Anti Terror Jail in 2008 which was situated in the military cantonment of the Quetta, the capital of the province. Nor has he explained what actions have been taken against the officials of the military cantonment. The Supreme Court has yet not taken action against the escape of the killers who are in the city and declaring they will never be caught again.

There are many doubts about the Sou Moto action of the Supreme Court on the killings of Hazaras Shia on February 16. The action of the SC will not yield any result as no results have ever been witnessed in such Sou Moto actions. It is rather for the consumption of the galleries. The role of the judiciary is also being discussed in the media about the release of militants just on the excuse of want of evidence. The militants know better how to deal with judiciary and that is why judiciary is spared of any rebound from the militants.

The judiciary and military know full well that if there would be fair inquiry then their role is certain to be discussed and their collusion exposed. Therefore it is wiser to hide their crimes and act quickly to put all the blame on the civilians. This explains as to why the reports of the intelligence agencies are kept secret by the Supreme Court in an effort to save their old masters and the judges themselves for not following the law in order to save their countrymen from acts of terrorism. What exactly is it that is preventing the military and the judiciary from destroying the militants? The only possible explanation is that there is a hidden agenda with regard to terrorists and religious extremism which the military and the judiciary are keeping to themselves.

Blaming the civilians is not the answer as the responsibility for safeguarding the security of the public lies with the military and the judiciary as well. This responsibility is non-transferable. All institutions of the government have to fight against this malaise that is pulling the country down to the level where the people live and die at the whim of the terrorists. The blame game between the institutions is not going to resolve this problem and the only people who are winning are the militants.