SPO organized a roundtable meeting regarding socio-political situation in Balochistan to mark Human Rights Day in Islamabad. Dr. Tufail M khan, Chairperson SPO presided, Naseer Memon Chief Executive SPO welcomed the invitees. Zafarullah Khan, a leading policy analyst, was invited to moderate the discussion. Speakers, participants and the subjects covered are listed below;
Dr. Tasnim Ashraf, Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch, Dr. Naimatullah Gichki, Mr. Abdul Khalique Hazara, Mr. Faseeh Iqbal, Adv. Zahoor Shahwani, Dr. Ameer Bakhsh, Mr. Abdul Razzaq Sabir, Mr. Nasrullah Zeray, Ms. Jahanara Tabassum, Ms. Jamila Kazi, Dr. Prof. Karamat Ali, Syed Abid Rizvi, Mr. Mohammad Amin ,Mr. Javed Jabbar ,Dr. Tufail Mohammad Khan,Dr. Taj Baloch,Ms. Rukhshanda Naz, Ms. Farida Tahir Nowsherwani, Ms. Zeenat Yaqoob Yousafzai, Mr. Mukhtiar Chhalgari, Mr. Tanveer Ahmed.
Speakers identified the negative impact on the social, cultural and economic aspects of society and called for urgent remedial actions and reforms both by the civil and military institutions under the control of the Federal Government and by the Provincial government. There was complete consensus that while there are some examples of continued functioning of certain institutions and while there is wide-spread demand for quality education, health care and security, in most respects the situation is alarming and deserves concerted and comprehensive improvement. It was agreed that Balochistan has become a subject of regional geo politics and receives global attention and is no longer merely an internal problem. There is still time to stem the decline and to begin altering conditions for the better to fulfill the fundamental human rights of the people of Balochistan who want to build a peaceful, pluralist , democratic Pakistan that respects human dignity and ensures human security. While missing persons, sectarian attacks, kidnappings, targeted killings, corruption and mis- governance in Balochistan are already widely known and reported by media, a great silent tragedy is also unfolding every day directly impacted by the decline of law and order.
This tragedy is evident in the virtually non-functional sections of primary education in particular, in public health services, in lack of access to basic infrastructural services by rural as well as several urban settlements, in the disempowered status of the large majority of women in the Province and the dis- engagement of most of the youth from the pursuit of education.
Women and children have become the worst victims of continued neglect and worsened conditions. Whereas the maternal mortality rate in Pakistan is about 272 per 100,000 births, the same rate in Balochistan is over 600 per 100,000 births. Doctors have been specially targeted in past two years, eg. 27 killed, 16 kidnapped, 40 tortured and about 100 who have migrated from the province. Along-with the ongoing confrontation with the Provincial government, the health care system is virtually paralyzed. Deep concern was expressed at the freedom being given to religious extremists and to death squads to perpetrate threats and violence as well as conduct killings, kidnappings and destructive actions.
SPO will prepare a report for publication and circulation to the Federal and Provincial governments, to the Judiciary, to civil society and to the media.