Barkhan tragedy

The presence of a private jail in Barkhan district of Balochistan and the alleged killing of its three inmates solicit a suo motu action

The premises belong to BAP MPA and minister, Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran, and he has time and again been summoned by law to make clear his position on cases pertaining to forced marriages and detaining people in solitary confinement

The issue has resurfaced as bodies of a woman and her two sons were found in a well in Sonmiani, and the same were identified as captives of Khetran

A video too had hit social media recently, wherein the woman — identified as 40-year-old Granaz — was seen pleading for her release

The fact that the deceased’s father had lodged a complaint with police on January 18, and no action was taken to this day is shameful on the part of law-enforcement authorities

This confirms a jaundiced and criminal mindset in our midst, wherein the powerful flaunt law at impunity, and the system stands by as a mere spectator

Khetran, the incumbent provincial minister for communication and works, will surely have tales to tell to absolve himself, and he is doing so

He points a finger at his own son, and blames him for framing him to further his political designs — something that in itself points towards a weird father-son relationship

That, however, does not exonerate Khetran from the horrendous crime of retaining a private prison — as alleged — and captivating and torturing poor villagers, who are at the mercy of the feudal for socio-economic reasons

It is pertinent to recall that Khetran was summoned by the Supreme Court in November 2006, as he was accused of forcing minor girls into wedlock and abduction, besides running a private jail

Police and Anti-Terrorism Force had also raided his lands in January 2014

The bitter truth is that Khetran and his illegal nexus of human detention had survived all these years, making it a laughing stock of law, morality and human values

It is a must to net Khetran, probe him for the homicide, and bulldoze the detention camp in Barkhan

Surely, there will be many such prison camps elsewhere in the country, as unfortunately we are a feudal-cum-regressive society in this new age

Barkhan’s incident has come as an opportunity in disaster to go deep into the social trial of such premises, especially in Balochistan and Sindh provinces, where the land-wielding classes exercise daredevil political clout and get away with literally anything under the sun

Not different is the case with Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces, where clans and tribes have their own nomenclature of societal confines, instantly leading to human rights excesses

The civil society should lead from the front in tracing such dens and freeing human souls from the clutches of callous criminals who freely operate in the garb of public representatives

Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2023

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Date:24-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link