KARACHI: The role of law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in the disappearance of publisher and author Abdul Wahid Baloch cannot be ruled out, vice chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)’s Sindh chapter, Asad Iqbal Butt, alleged on Monday.
This was the crux of a report prepared by a fact-finding mission formed by the HRCP on Aug 3 after Wahid Baloch was allegedly picked up by two men in plain clothes from a bus at the Super Highway toll plaza on July 26, he said.
The HRCP representatives met officials of police and Pakistan Rangers and family of Wahid Baloch as part of the three-member mission.
According to Mr Iqbal, the SHO of the Gadap police station, situated right next to the toll plaza, admitted that he did not register a first information report (FIR) about the disappearance of Wahid Baloch. But he had an excuse. “He said that the family wanted to include in the FIR names of intelligence agencies, which according to the SHO is a broad term, without specifically mentioning the authority under which they acted.”
Wahid Baloch was allegedly picked up by two men in plain clothes from a bus at Super Highway toll plaza on July 26
Mr Iqbal said the SHO asked the family to either “lodge an FIR against unidentified persons or meet SSP Rao Anwar, who may help them with their case. But the family refused, preferring to file a petition in the Sindh High Court.”
According to the report, the SHO also admitted that registering a case against law enforcement agencies would put them (police) in trouble. That is why they refrain from registering such cases.
Officials at the Rangers check-post, located next to the toll plaza, told the mission “no other agency can work here without informing the Pakistan Rangers about its operation and it is highly unlikely that a man was picked up from the place.”
The admission, Mr Iqbal said, took them to Sabir Ali Sabir, Wahid Baloch’s friend who was sitting next to him during the bus ride from Digri, to identify the specific place from where Wahid Baloch was picked up. Reiterating his earlier statement, Mr Sabir alleged that Wahid Baloch was kidnapped from the toll plaza.
“No one else can operate in the area other than law enforcement agencies. We came to this conclusion through our visits and admissions of police and Rangers,” Mr Iqbal said.
The report will be sent to the HRCP head office on Tuesday (today).
Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2016