PAKISTAN: The intelligence agencies target nationalists groups to cover up the activities of Taliban in Sindh province and their inefficiency 

Notorious intelligence agencies have started a campaign against the nationalist groups of Sindh province in the effort to divert the national and international pressures on them and to provide intelligence reports on the activities of the religious fundamentalist groups who operate under the patronage of law enforcement agencies. In the past months the Taliban and religious extremist groups have increased their activities such as target killings against particular sect of Islam and the Shia community, bomb blasts, abduction and forced conversions of Hindu girls, attacks on religious minorities, extortion from the citizens for Jihad, the holy war, and abduction for ransom.

Due to the worsening of the circumstances regarding target killings, the law and the order situation, the Supreme Court has taken its personal interest in monitoring the work of law enforcement authorities and intelligence agencies, which are much more involved in political maneuvering rather than in guaranteeing the respect of the law and keeping the order, and which therefore represent another serious concern.

In its effort to divert their inability to monitor the activities of the Muslim extremist and terrorist groups, the intelligence agencies and particularly the Pakistan rangers, stationed in Sindh province since three decades, have found a soft target by implicating Sindhi nationalists groups who are striving for more autonomy on the resources of the province. They have followed the same pattern of Balochistan where Islamic extremist groups particularly Taliban are involved in sectarian killings of a Shiite tribe, the Hazaras, the abduction of doctors for ransom and killings but the intelligence agencies and Frontier Corp (FC) blame on the nationalist groups who are fighting for the rights of Balochi people.

The Asian Human Rights Commission has received the intelligence report from the Pakistan Rangers file which was also published in some sections of the print media. The report says that a Sindhi nationalist group, the Jeay Sindh Mutehida Mahaz (JSMM) has planned to blast oil and gas pipelines in the province along with some sabotage activities in order to create disturbance and insecurity.  Please see this link signed by Lieutenant Colonel of Pakistan Rangers;

In the report of the intelligence agency it is stated that there was a meeting in Mehar town, Dadu district, Sindh, where the activists of JSMM gathered. The meeting was also attended by its leader, Mr. Shafi Barfat and other people from the hard core. Plans to blasts the gas pipelines were chalked out. The report pointed out the names of the ‘hard core’ members including its chief who came and remained there for some time. The report proves to be a fake considering that in another report, which was published earlier this year, it was mentioned that Mr. Shafi Barfat, the chief of JSMM, has taken asylum in Kabul, Afghanistan, along with some of his friends. The names of those friends who have taken asylum in Kabul were also mentioned as the participants of the meeting.

The report also mentions these ‘fugitives’ have spent nuch time there but no one in the Pakistan Rangers was inquired about this detail by the intelligence officers when they were there. Therefore the question is: “why have these ‘fugitives’ not been arrested?”. If an informer has reported from the meeting then he must have known the whereabouts of their hide out.

The nationalist groups suspect that intelligence agencies might have made plans to blast gas pipelines so that Sindh may be converted in to another play ground for military and intelligence agencies as Balochistan has been made. Maybe there could be plans of Taliban but intelligence agencies know that the Taliban network is stronger than them, therefore it is better to put the blame on any other nationalist group so that they can claim before the courts and authorities that they had already provided the information.

It is apprehended by the nationalist and political groups that the report would lead to the justification of another operation in the province as they did in 1980s when military forces assassinated hundreds of students, nationalist and political workers and bombarded the Sekhat and Sakrand, two sub-districts of district Hyderabad and Nawabshah.

In Sindh province more than 100 nationalists were abducted and disappeared after 9/11, many were extra judicially killed and their tortured and bullet riddled bodies were dumped on the streets. Alone, from JSMM 13 people are still missing. Its former leader, Mr. Muzzafar Bhutto was two times abducted and kept in military torture cells where he succumbed to his injuries during the second time detention. The JSMM’s five people were targeted and killed in 2010 while they were traveling by car in order to attend a public meeting. These people were later declared as robbers.

The Pakistan Rangers and the intelligence agencies have become a burden on the Sindh provinces as they have been operating in the province for the past three decades. In fact, the law and order situation in the province is getting worse in comparison with the past. The Rangers and intelligence agencies always produce such reports but have not contributed to control the subversive activities. It is noted that whenever the contract of the Rangers expires the target killings and terrorist activities increase and when it is settled, then the situation calms down. The Rangers are running business by stealing water from the main pipe lines and bottling it with international brands of drinks. They also grabbed a vast land and constructed illegal structures acquiring those buildings meant for schools and colleges.

The intelligence agencies and the Pakistan Rangers failed to control the influx of Taliban and militant groups into Sindh from the war torn areas. Not a single day in Karachi, the capital of the province, goes without violent activities of militant groups. The arrested target killers have made clear many times their hide outs and training centers but they have never been smashed by the Rangers who have the same power the police have, since actually the existence of these groups provides the justification of the presence of the Rangers and intelligence agencies. Almost no militant activities were found in the whole province except from Karachi but the Rangers are willing to shift the operation to the other peaceful parts of Sindh.

The government must desist to take violent action against the Sindhi Nationalist groups and give the way to the intelligence agencies and Rangers to convert the Sindh province into another battlefield. The government must adopt the proper political and legal measures to solve these problems rather than depending on such reports or using them in order to deal with the situation. It must be kept in mind that such matters have never been solved by military government during the last eight years. It becomes then clear that keeping relying on the reports of intelligence agencies will only lead to further militancy.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-264-2012
Countries : Pakistan,
Issues : Extrajudicial killings, Judicial system, Military,