Sex slavery: Pak army says its hands clean
After two weeks of Baluch national outrage and Asian condemnation, Pakistan military --fourth largest in the world and armed with nuclear weapons-- has said it has loads of professionalism and blamed anti-state elements for maligning its reputation, though historic track records prove otherwise.
The Pakistan Army is a highly professional and disciplined organisation and is well-known for its self-accountability mechanism. The news item refers to an incident which happened in 2006.
The military did not deny the existence of torture cells, however. There are at least 52 known illegal torture cells in Pakistan.
- In Balochistan province there are dozens of military detention centres, where people after their arrest, are detained and tortured to force confession statements about their alleged activities against the army in the province. Most of the detainees are local residents of the above named districts. They are charged with mutiny against the 'army control' of the districts, blowing up of the main gas supply line to the other parts of the country, sabotage, bomb attacks on military installations, affiliation with different nationalist parties and association with the Balochistan Liberation Army.
For more than two weeks now, the army had kept mum over the fate of a Baluch comfort woman -- NowPublic was one of the first to carry the news --, in spite of reporters' endeavors to get the records straight. The woman was allegedly last seen at a military torture cell in Karachi, commercial capital of Pakistan, two years ago.
Recently the Asian Human Rights Commission bared the story of 23-year-old schoolteacher Zarina Marri, who has been forced into sex slavery by Pakistan military. The soldiers had abducted her from Kohlu, stage of a militant Baluch uprising against 61 years of Pakistani occupation.
In spite of the military's contradiction, a leading Pakistani journalist and general secretary of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Mazhar Abbas, conceded Pakistan has a very poor human rights record. "Such barbarism is nothing new," Abbas told the Baluchi radio channel, Gwank, broadcast from Sweden.
Abbas is younger brother of Major General Athar Abbas, spokesman for the Pakisan army. Hectic efforts of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan are underway to have Zarina Marri released.
Pakistan military said no FIR has been lodged against it: no police station in Pakistan can accept a complaint against the army. Not even the parliament, neither the president nor the prime minister can ever question how the military spends taxpayers dollars.
Prior to action in Baluchistan, Bangladesh paid a heavy price for their freedom from Pakistan military yoke in 1971, when three million people were said to be killed and 450,000 women raped.
Now Bengali children are learning what happened 37 years ago. Their story is being keenly followed in Baluchistan, the renegade southwestern province of Pakistan, where people are keenly awaiting the fall of Quetta.
In particular, former military coup leader-turned-president General Pervez Musharraf, never took the matter of sex slavery of Baluch women seriously as his mother was herself a dancer from Lucknow: an Indian city known for its brothels eversince the Mogul rule.