This report , compiled by Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), finds major discrepancies between the facts on the ground versus reports in the local media and the one published by the Provincial government in Balochistan. The following report highlights some of the discrepancies of the government's report.
From the records of Home Department as well as concerned Nazim who distributed the cheque to the Victims families, it revealed that only 32 cheques were distributed out of 40. The distribution of remaining 8 cheques was withheld on account of some mistakes in the name or father's name of the victims. The concerned Nazim further intimated that the injured persons will be compensated in near future. Later on, on 8th July, 2004, 159 cheques were distributed out of 232 injured persons. The cases of remaining 73 injured persons were not considered on the ground that they were given treatment in Shafakhana-e-Sahib-uz-Zaman and Ali Hospital. It is believed that authorities of Home Department expressed their skepticism that belonging from Shia Community, these Hospitals might be involved in some kind of manipulation in the numbers of actual injured persons.
Then came another ambiguity, when the Tribunal Report was made public. There was much difference in the reports published in the Local and National Newspapers. As far as response of HDP is concerned, I preferred to translate the original Press Note issued by the HDP instead of what appeared in Local Newspapers.
LIST OF INJURED PERSONS IN THE TERRORIST ATTACK OF 2ND MARCH, 2004.
REFERRAL OF SERIOUSLY INJURED 11 PATIENTS TO KARACHI
1. Mr. Qadir Ali S/O Qumbar Ali.
2. Mr. Danish Ali S/O Ali Baba.
3. Mr. Abdul Razzaq S/O Muhammad Paryal.
4. Mr. Nadir Ali S/O Nauroz Ali.
5. Mr. Abdul Hameed S/O Sheikh Muhammad Dad.
6. Mr. Hassan Ali S/O Sadiq Ali.
7. Mr. Juma Khan S/O Khadim Ali.
8. Mr. Muhammad Juma S/O Qumbar Ali.
9. Mr. Wahid Ali S/O Ishaqu Ali.
10. Mr. Muhammad Sadiq S/O Shahzada.
11. Mr. Javed Ali S/O Muhammad Amin.
Though the C.M.H. authorities recommended a total number of thirteen seriously patients (including following two) to be treated in Karachi, but the Medical Board constituted by the Government dropped the following two patients on the ground that they can be treated in Bolan Medical Complex Hospital, Quetta:-
1. Syed Anwar Ali S/O Syed Jafar Ali.
2. Mr. Zamin Ali S/O Muzafar Ali.
Security Lapses Blamed For Quetta Carnage
Report On Attack on Procession Released
The Balochistan Government on Tuesday (29th June, 2004) released the report of a tribunal which investigated the Quetta Ashura carnage. The report blamed lapses on the part of security agencies for the tragic incident.
It also says that a number of participants of the procession were armed. Provincial Home Minister Mir Shoaib Nausherwani (son of Abdul Karim Nausherwani, former provincial Minister), presented the findings and recommendations of the tribunal at a press conference. Home Secretary Abdul Rauf Khan and Capital City Police Officer Rafi Pervez Bhatti were present on the occasion.
The tribunal was set up by the provincial government to probe into the terrorist attack on the procession in which 40 people were killed and over 150 were injured. The tribunal was headed by the Balochistan High Court Judge, Justice Akhtar Zaman Malghani.
The report said the administration took the entire affair as a matter of routine, ignoring terrorist incidents which had occurred in different parts of the country at that time. They neither had any strategy to combat such a situation nor did they work out a plan after the attack to handle the situation, the report added.
The report said that during the investigation, police was not able to exactly identify any individual or group who had carried out attack. However, the arms and ammunitions recovered had inscription of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which shows that most probably the attack was carried by members of the banned organization.
The procession was attacked by three people who were Brahvi. The tribunal also described the role of Anti Terrorist Force and Police and absolved the A.T.F. from the charge of being involved in the firing on the mourners.
It observed that the A.T.F. personnel had apprehended some of the protesters along with arms and handed them over to Police, which shows that if the A.T.F. carried out any firing, was not without any justification. They were compelled to do so under the circumstances to protect themselves, it added.
According to the report, Mr. Nausherwani said that people who looted, burnt and ransacked property after the terrorist attack were participants of the procession and were armed with different kinds of weapons. Failure of security agencies to prevent the looting and arson was a security lapse, he added.
The tribunal also made recommendations for preventing such incidents in future. The Home Minister said that it had recommended efforts to promote cordial relations among the people belonging to different schools of thought.
The tribunal also recommended that intelligence and other investigation capacity be enhanced in order to trace and punish perpetrators of sectarian violence and preachers of extremism. It also calls for action against members of banned organizations under the Anti Terrorist Act of 1997. It says that the route of the procession be described after consultations with notables and Ulema of both the sects to minimize security threats and at the start of Muharram, certificates be obtained from owners of buildings situated along the procession route and thorough inspections should be conducted by intelligence agencies.
It further recommended that Law Enforcement Agencies and other authorities concerned should after consultations with the Organizers of the procession; ensure that none of the participants of the procession was armed.
The tribunal also suggested establishment of a central command and control center with an adequate number of wireless sets for communication with all the forces deployed along the route. After the devolution of power, ASP/DSP authorized to open fire as a last resort in order to disperse assembly, but in Balochistan this power was entrusted to DAOs and ADAOs under amended ordinance, the tribunal observed and recommended that that either this power be re-entrusted to SPs, ASPs/ DSPs or the presence of DAO/ADAO should be ensured on such occasions so that in case of any ugly situation, appropriate and timely orders could be given. The Police force deployed on such occasions should also pay attention to the aspects of crowd control in case of terrorist attack and for this purpose, a sufficient force in the form of reserves equipped with tear gas, a public address system, anti-riot equipment was required, the tribunal further recommended.
Replying to a question the Home Minister said that the Government would fully implement the report and suggestions of the tribunal. He said that action would also be taken against those whom the tribunal had held responsible for the incident.
Comments On the Findings of Tribunal
This Tribunal was constituted at the behest of the Provincial Government and no one can deny the fact that the Judiciary in Pakistan has never been free from the clutches of political influence. Since Pakistan gained its independence, there are countless instances of political influence inflicted upon Judiciary in order to get their desired results. Amongst others two very prominent cases can be mentioned here of which Maulvi Tamizuddin case gained world attention during which Doctrine of necessity was for the first time introduced in Pakistan; secondly Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah case is relevant when the then Prime Minister's supporters ransacked the Supreme Court proceedings, just because the above named Chief Justice was not about to tolerate political influence.
The prime aim of the Tribunal Inquiry was to exonerate the high-ups in the Provincial Government. This notion is not confined to this single incident because from the very inception the successive Governments constituted Inquiry Committees in order to shift their responsibilities/shortcomings on others shoulders. This trend is applied from the first Inquiry Committee of Justice Hamood-ur-Rehman and they are still pursuing the same policy. In the incident of 2nd March, 2004, District Administration & Law Enforcement Agencies were held responsible for security lapses, but ignored mentioning the inefficiency of the Provincial Government.
If District Administration & L.E.A. are blamed for security lapses then the Provincial Government is more responsible for not dismantling the terrorist networks. The L.E.A. and Intelligence Agencies ascertained the fact that whose network is involved in these tragic incidents, but the Provincial Government's lukewarm attitude is a great impediment in the way of bringing these terrorists to the justice.
It is to be kept in mind that Prime Minister, Provincial Chief Minister (Balochistan), Provincial Home Minister, Head of the so-called Tribunal Inquiry and the terrorists all belonged to the same racial background. Whenever such terrorists act occurred, the above named dignitaries kept stressing that foreign hands are involved in these incidents. They never bothered to mention that there are a number of local Jihadi outfits who are carrying out such attacks. In such a given situation, how can a sane person expect that justice will be done without any racial, religious and linguistic bigotry?
The Tribunal recorded statements of 260 Eye-witnesses about the extra-judicial killings of the mourners at the hands of A.T.F. But ridiculously according to the Tribunal's Report, all these statements were rejected on the ground that the Eye-witnesses belonged to aggrieved Hazara community, therefore, can not be considered impartial. Very strange argument, isn't it?
It is regretted to note that the Provincial Government spared no time to compensate the shop owners and cheques to the tune of Rs.15 crore, 13 lacs were distributed without any further delay, but the families of victims and injured persons were compensated after long delay and a tiny amount to the tune of Rs.3 crore, 38 lacs were distributed amongst them.
The fact of matter is that the Government of Pakistan as well as the International Community should take into account that by carrying out such heinous crimes, these Local Jihadi Groups will convert into International Terrorist Organization. By carrying out such terrorist acts on local level, they are just aimed to enhance their expertise, enabling them to conduct terrorist acts at the international level. Wisdom demands that these religious fanatic Terrorist Organizations should be eradicated at the first stage where ever they are.
The authorities of C.M.H. recommended that 13 seriously injured persons may be shifted to Karachi for further treatment. The Government constituted a Medical Board to decide whether their cases are genuine or otherwise. The Board recommended 11 seriously injured persons to be treated in Karachi and an amount of Rs.20, 000/- each released for their transportation charges. Though the Provincial Health Department vide its Memo dated 17th March, 2004, directed that the seriously injured persons may be admitted in Liaquat National Hospital. It is to be noted that earlier they were admitted in Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center where thorough medical care is almost impossible. But when I contacted some of the relatives of seriously injured persons, they complained that due to the shameful indifferent attitude of Balochistan Government, their patients were not given medical care to the extent they required. Resultantly, they treated their patients on their own expenses.
Soon after the terrorist attack on 2nd March, 2004, when the rescue operation was in its full swing, the HDP delegation under the supervision its Chairman Jawad Isar, rushed to the different Hospitals for possible help. When the delegation reached to the Civil Hospital, there was scores of injured persons lying on the beds unattended. Upon enquiring from the injured persons about the medical care, they complained that the Doctors are not paying due attention towards them because of over-crowded patients. The members of HDP. spared no time to shift majority of the injured persons to C.M.H. and personally took part and supervised the whole situation. Later on, the delegation on more than one occasion visited C.M.H. and Ali Hospitals in this connection. During this process, the delegation witnessed that all these three Hospitals were over-crowded with injured persons. In order to share the burden, a number of injured persons were also sent to Shafakhana-e-Sahib-uz-Zaman. But the extremely deplorable attitude of the Government is self-evident from the fact that the remaining 73 patients who were hospitalized in Shafakhana and Ali Hospitals were excluded from the list of compensation.
Last but not the least; an Inquiry Committee was also constituted when the tragic incident of Phudgali Chowk occurred on 9th February, 2001. The Committee was given the task to probe into the incident that who were responsible for the killing of seven persons who were traveling from Hazara Town towards Alamdar Road. It is extremely deplorable that the Committee instead of pinpointing the miscreants involved in the shooting, fixed responsibilities of damages to the shops on the Hazara Mohajirin living in Hazara Town. The content of the Inquiry Report clearly indicates that the Committee deliberately avoided finding out the actual terrorists and they mainly concentrated on the damages of the shops. The people were blamed who faced the brunt of the terrorists. Human Rights Organization can take into the account this attitude of the Government of Pakistan and are in a position to use their good Offices for the amelioration of the situation.
HDP Response to Tribunal Report
From the very beginning, Hazara Democratic Party has been expressing its reservations over the impartiality of the Tribunal. In response to Tribunal's Report, in its Press Release, HDP. raised suspicion that unearthing of selected portion of the Report clearly indicates that Tribunal's prime aim was to cover up the inefficiencies of the Provincial Government. It reveals provincial Government's maligned intention to mislead the people and keep them oblivious about the factual position of the carnage of 2nd March, 2004. While on the other hand, the Tribunal was aimed to exonerate the Anti Terrorist Force from the charges of extra-judicial killings. It is noteworthy to mention here that according to the eye-witnesses, A.T.F's indiscriminate firing on the crowd resulted in more loss of lives compared to the terrorist attack.
The HDP. categorically rejected the contents of the Report in which it was maliciously claimed that the A.T.F. personnel opened firing on the crowd as a last resort and the purpose of the firing was to prevent the miscreants from looting and plundering the shops and public properties. In its Press Statement, HDP. pointed out that previously the Government as well as the L.E.A. used to negate the fact that any personnel were involved in the firing. The HDP. further elaborated that it is clear for everyone that after the terrorist attack, the mourners were busy in rescue operation and none of the mourners even think of attacking on the properties of innocent people. The fact of matter is that the burning and looting of shops and properties started when the procession left the area. While A.T.F. shooting started soon after the terrorist attack. The HDP. stressed that this loophole in the Inquiry clearly corroborate our principled stance that A.T.F. personnel were involved in firing on the mourners without any justification and they must be brought to justice.
The HDP. once again reiterated Government's failure in combating terrorism effectively and dismantling their networks. Even the Provincial Government failed to apprehend the Proclaimed Offenders involved in these tragic incidents. Soon after the formation of Inquiry Tribunal, the HDP. predicted that this Tribunal is aimed to exonerate the Government as well as the A.T.F. personnel from extra-judicial killing of the mourners. In its Press Release, HDP strongly demanded that A.T.F. personnel involved in the indiscriminate firing should be brought to book, terrorist networks should be dismantled and all terrorists/culprits involved in the tragic incidents must be apprehended immediately.
Second Press Release of HDP
On the occasion of first annual ceremony of massacre carried out by the trigger-happy religious fanatics on 4th July, 2003, HDP, expressed its deepest concern and dissatisfaction over the role of the Government, who failed to eradicate terrorist's network. Despite the occurrence of repeated tragic incidents, the Government never bothered to comprehend the sensitivity and ever-growing menace of communal violence. This indifferent attitude of the Government resulted into carnage on 2nd March, 2004, in less than a year.
Government's false commitment for the destruction of the terrorist network can easily be gauged from the fact that after the tragic incident of 4th July, 2003, the Provincial Government totally failed to take concrete steps in order to avoid such incidents in future. As a result, series of tragic incidents occurred one after another due to negligence of the Government.
The HDP. reiterated its principled stance that the diversification of human being on the basis of religious belief is unacceptable in its all form and manifestation. The Party condemned the role of Government and expressed its abhorrence over the ever-growing communal violence in the country in general and in Balochistan Province in particular. As the Party strongly believes in secularism, therefore, expressed its commitment in joining hands with all secular forces in order to wipe out religious extremism from our society.
The HDP once again rejected findings of the Inquiry Report and demanded that an impartial Inquiry Committee consisting of public representatives from all secular parties can effectively probe into the tragic incidents. The Party has pointed out that as the Tribunal Inquiry was conducted under the auspices of the Government, therefore, the said Tribunal deliberately underestimated, ignored and even protected the inhuman excesses of A.T.F. and other Law Enforcement Agencies, which has further raised skepticism in the mind of the common people over the impartiality of the Tribunal.
The HDP reiterated its demand that an impartial inquiry commission comprising of public representatives should be constituted in order to ascertain/dig out the factual position about the serial tragic incidents.
Last Changed: Jan 15, 2009
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