Sunday, September 04, 2005

Senate body to take up missing Baloch sisters issue

Mariana Baabar

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Human Rights Committee in its meeting on Monday will decide about taking up the case of Baloch sisters missing since June and about whom the government had denied having any knowledge of their whereabouts before the Peshawar High Court.

A notice was received in the office of Human Rights Committee of the Senate soon after The News report published on Saturday giving full facts of the case. This invoked interest of the senators about the fate of two hapless sisters missing for the past several months, The News has learnt.

The notice by a member of the Committee, Senator Farhatullah Babar of Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians says, "The matter of two young women missing, apparently abducted, for the last several months is a grave matter involving the following serious issues: Firstly, it is the State’s inability to locate missing or abducted citizens and arrest and punish the culprits. Secondly, upholding human rights of the detainees. Thirdly, are there procedures and laws governing the arrest and detention of suspects?

The mover said that the press first reported on June 10, 2005 the arrest of two sisters Arifa and Habiba Baloch in Swat on suspicion of being would be suicide bombers. On August 22, 2005 during hearing in a habeas corpus petition in the Peshawar High Court the respondent government agencies reportedly denied knowledge about the whereabouts of the missing women. The court then advised the petitioners to withdraw their petition and move an amended one if they had got any clue to the whereabouts of the women, he said.

"As of today the whereabouts of these missing women aged between 18 and 20 are still not known," he further said.

Speaking to The News, Senator Farhatullah Babar said, "The issues raised by the disappearance of Baloch sisters have assumed special importance in the light of mysterious disappearance of two brother doctors in Karachi last year for eight months. The state agencies also denied any knowledge about them until they finally re-appeared and it was admitted that they were in the custody of state agencies during this period".

Senator Farhatullah Babar asked the Chairman Human Rights Committee Senator S M Zafar to admit the item for discussion in the requisitioned meeting of the Human Rights Committee on Monday.

When asked Babar confirmed that he had formally asked the Committee chairman to take up the matter in its meeting Monday. He said, "In the wake of 9/11, incidents of human rights violations by state agencies have increased and there is an urgent need to bring them under the scrutiny of parliamentary bodies and legal framework".

He said it was alarming that there was no legal framework to question the agencies in matters relating to abduction and detention of suspects and cited the case of Afzal doctors in Karachi last year who were in detention for eight months.

In 1999, in a case involving a senior journalist, Najam Sethi, the Lahore High Court had rejected the writ petition because "the court had no jurisdiction over a military institution (ISI)", proving the contention that some state agencies operated beyond the purview of normal laws of the land, he said.

He said the PPPP has all along demanded that the state agencies be brought under some legal framework and made accountable.

Sometime back on October 20, 2003 a question was put to the defence minister in the Senate "whether there was any law or statue, and if so to state the law, under which the ISI was authorised to conduct raids and detain and interrogate suspects"? The question was however ‘killed’ in the chamber of the minister and not allowed to be raised in the House on the ground that "the subject matter of this question is of secret and sensitive nature as it asks for information on a matter prejudicial to the integrity and security of the country". The question is therefore "inadmissible under rule 47(xviii) (d) and (xxi) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 1988," the Senate Secretariat said in a letter to the mover.

Subsequently, a resolution was moved in the Senate that said: "This House calls upon the government to enact suitable legislation to regulate the functioning of intelligence agencies and the ISI particularly with respect to issues relating to raids, detention and arrest of suspects in the country".

The resolution was also killed in the chamber and not brought up on the floor of the Upper House because the subject matter of this resolution "was of secret and sensitive nature" and was declared inadmissible under rule 121(4) (f) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 1988.

"It is a measure of sustainable democracy under General Musharraf that the Parliament is not even being given copy of a law let alone allowed to make laws," he said commenting on the decisions to declare the question and resolutions inadmissible.

Babar said the question of disappearance of Baloch women was important from several perspectives. If the women had disappeared on their own or were abducted by non-state actors it reflected poorly on the state’s ability to investigate and recover them. If they were in the custody of agencies it would be a violation of Article 10 sub-section 4 of the Constitution.

"Under this provision of the constitution no person even if detained under any law of preventive detention is to be kept under detention for more than three months unless the appropriate Review Board has after affording him an opportunity of being heard in person, reviewed his case and reported before the expiration of the said period, that there is, in its opinion, sufficient cause of such detention," he added.

Three Mazari tribesmen shot dead

By our correspondent

JACOBABAD: Three Mazari tribesmen were killed in an attack near Sui on Saturday. Three Mazari tribesmen were going to Sui from Kashmore when they reached near Deeni Khat eight unknown armed men intercepted their car and opened indiscriminate fire, killing Haroon Mazari, Ahmed Gul Mazari and Payaro Khan Mazari on the spot. Following the killing, hundreds of Mazari tribesmen blocked the main
Indus Highway
by putting bodies on the road, causing suspension of traffic for four hours Later, the protesters dispersed peacefully. No case was registered till the filing of this report.

Delhi vows to push on with Iranian gas pipeline

TEHRAN: Energy-hungry India said on Saturday it would push on with plans to build a $7 billion gas pipeline from Iran, undaunted by the increasing threat of United Nations sanctions against Tehran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency on Friday said questions remained about Tehran’s atomic activities and confirmed Iran had resumed its nuclear fuel work, setting the scene for a possible referral to the UN Security Council.

When asked what effect such political pressures could have on the pipeline project, Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters: "We have an interest in taking it forward, India needs gas."

Sarna was speaking during a visit by Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh to Tehran. India has to tread a tightrope in pipeline talks, trying to satisfy it ravenous appetite for hydrocarbons while not upsetting Iran’s arch-foe Washington.

India has expressed hope Pakistan, Iran and it could hold a joint meeting to straighten out terms of the deal before the end of the year. Sarna said no venue had been chosen.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the new government, which took over last month, was as committed to the pipeline project as its reformist predecessor.

UAE offers to invest in gas pipeline project

Muhammad Saleh Zaafir

ISLAMABAD: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has offered to invest in any of the gas pipeline projects from Iran or Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India.

Trans-Asia of UAE is prepared to come forward for building the pipeline that would cost US $ 4.2 billion. The interest has been conveyed to the authorities concerned here.

Ali Muhammad Al-Shamsi, UAE ambassador while talking to The News exclusively in his diplomatic enclave office here Saturday said that UAE has taken a deliberate decision to make investment in Pakistan in a big way in the backdrop of the longstanding brotherly ties between the two countries. Presently, Pakistan is the biggest destination for UAE foreign investment.

The envoy said his country understands that investment in Pakistan is secure and the country has no problem with regard to the stability and security. "My country has resolute faith in the vision of Pakistan’s leadership that is determined to proceed ahead on the path of progress and prosperity," he said.

The ambassador who has just returned from Abu Dhabi after having consultations with his government, said that UAE has invested more than US $ 9.5 billion in Pakistan during the last four years and its investment will reach US $ 15 billion by 2007. Major investment has been made in real estate including housing projects, construction of shopping malls and telecommunications. The amount in real estate investment has surpassed US $ 4 billion and in telecommunications sector US $ 3 billion. The ambassador mentioned setting up of Lahore Sports City with special reference and said the Federal Government and Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervez Illahi have provided admirable assistance in the development projects.

The existing boost in the investment came in March 2004 when Sheikh Hamadan bin Zahid Al-Nahyan, deputy prime minister of UAE visited Pakistan. He is a very keen friend of this country, the ambassador added. He said UAE investors are also waiting to come in a big way to Pakistan for investment in the oil and gas sector.

To a question, Ali Muhammad Al-Shamsi said the most sophisticated two German power plants that were installed in Abu Dhabi would be shifted to Karachi soon. UAE government has gifted to Pakistan the 300 Megawatt capacity plants as a gesture of goodwill and brotherly sentiments.

The governments of Pakistan, the UAE and Wapda have already entered into an agreement for shifting of the plants to Pakistan. The plants would be dismantled first and then reinstalled in Pakistan. Wapda experts are inspecting the plants so that technical expertise for the shifting could be made available, the ambassador said.

To yet another query, Al-Shamsi said his government would provide complete assistance to Trans-Asia for achieving the purpose of investment in the field of oil and gas since the government believes that such strategic projects could greatly help establish stability and harmony in the region.

The proposed gas pipelines from Iran and Turkmenistan would be having the potential to improve the political atmosphere of the area, he asserted.

To a question about Pakistan-Israel contact, the envoy said that his government has always been kept on board by Pakistan in the process of consultations regarding important developments. "It did not come to us as a surprise".

The decision taken by Pakistan is well within the purview of its sovereign rights. Every nation has the right to serve and safeguard its national interests in the best possible manner. The interaction should help the cause of Palestinians and Muslims in realisation of their demands, he viewed.

Pipeline blast

LAHORE: A gas pipeline near Kashmore, Sindh blew up on Saturday night, suspending gas supply to Kashmore, Guddu city and some areas of Rahim Yar Khan, the Geo news channel reported. daily times monitor


At 5:16 PM, Blogger Travel Business opp. said...

Will the new Civic Hybrid beat the Prius in MPG?
While perusing TCC's reports on the new Civics from Honda, we noticed a paragraph tucked away under the heading "The Hybrid" in which Honda says the Civic Hybrid will get 43.6 mpg in real-world driving, a ...
Hey I was just blogg surfing and I found you. Great blogg, keep it up. If you are interested in Make money fat go visit, it is the best stuff I have seen on the net


Post a Comment

<< Home