The shocking, graphic images were all over the web. Dead and decomposing bodies piled on the rooftop of the Nishtar Hospital in Pakistan's Multan. The images resembling those in Nazi Germany's Auschwitz when the Allies entered the concentration camp, sparked an outrage in Pakistan and abroad.
An official enquiry had been launched and a six-member Commission formed to probe into the matter. Meanwhile, the hospital replied saying,“ These are the unknown, dead bodies handed over by the police to Nishtar Medical University Multan for post-mortem and if required, could be used for teaching purposes to MBBS students."
According to the sources, dozens of bodies are still rotting on the roof of Nishtar Hospital. On the other hand, news circulating in social media reported hundreds of human body parts that have been recovered from the roof, also covered by Pakistan's Geo News. No government official has yet confirmed or denied the number of bodies.
Corpses Retrieved in Pakistan Frequently
After complete putrefaction, the bones are retrieved from these bodies for medical students. While they are always buried properly, it was yet to be decided how to desecrate the bodies, preserve them and whether need 500 bodies are needed for medical study and examination, and so on.
Nobody, or very few, dared to ask the real question of where these bodies came from and who these people were. And the first answer that many thought was most probably, the bodies might those be of Baloch or Sindhi, or Pashtun missing people.
Earlier, hundreds of dead bodies were found abandoned in Lahore and buried by the Edhi Foundation which has been denied many times to carry DNA tests on the remnants.
And the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) recently noted the continued dumping of mutilated dead bodies of missing Baloch men in Karachi. It further stated that it strongly condemned that there had been no let up in the discovery of dead bodies of missing persons adding that: “While the discovery of mutilated dead bodies is hardly unusual in Karachi, it is a matter of grave concern that in recent months, bodies of men who had gone missing in Balochistan have increasingly been found dumped in Karachi with chits bearing their names left in their pockets for identification.”
In the past years, several mass graves have been discovered all over Balochistan, but 'disappearing', killing and dumping activists, journalists or political opponents from Balochistan and throwing them in Karachi or in Sindh has rapidly become in the past few years 'a new normal' and the vice versa for those missing from Sindh being dumped in Balochistan or in Punjab.
Rising Number Of Missing Cases Reported In Balochistan
The number of people who 'disappeared' in Pakistan at the hands of the Army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) or their proxies criminal squads, is increasing every year with scary regularity.
According to Amnesty International, “Disappearances are a tool of terror that strikes not just individuals and families, but entire societies. This is why enforced disappearances are a crime under international law and, if committed as part of a systematic attack against a civilian population, they constitute a crime against humanity." It also went onto state that Pakistan signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on 17 April 2008 and ratified it on 23 June 2010.
Pakistan is thereby, bound by the ICCPR, in particular Articles 7, 9, and 17, which prohibit torture, protect the right to liberty and security and protect from arbitrary arrest or detention, and prohibit arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family or home.10 Furthermore, on 17 April 2008, Pakistan signed the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), subsequently ratifying it on 23 June 2010.
How Pakistan Escaped Its Genocide Crimes
As a result, the State must prevent and protect all people from torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment without exception. As such, enforced disappearances and the documented torture and ill-treatment of disappeared people are a direct contravention of Pakistan’s obligations under international law. But little to nothing has been done to held Islamabad responsible for the genocide of its own people.
On the contrary, Pakistan has not been really held responsible by the International community: the consequences of all the well-documented reports by Amnesty, UN and other International Organisations don't go beyond 'recommendations' and 'advices'. It is all part of the frankly bipolar attitude the West has towards Pakistan.
The latest example being the American president Joe Biden who, talking to the press, just said: “What I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion” while not so long before the US State Department approved the potential sale of F-16 aircraft upgradation equipment to Pakistan in a deal valued at an estimated $450 million.
The 'nuclear danger' in fact or, better, the fear that nuke weapons will fall into the hands of one of the many groups at Islamabad's service, not only does not prompt America or the rest of the West to sanction Pakistan but apparently pushes everybody, starting from Italy, to pamper the Army and the military intelligence of the country: selling them weapons at discounted prices or/and giving money to corrupted, dictatorial, genocidal regimes.
The F-16 deal has been struck while, in the same days, Pakistan was asking money (with pleas and threats) to the rest of the world to face the consequences of the flooding that destroyed one third of the country. Pakistan has money for weapons, it seems, but not to help its own citizens. Or to set up a decent Disaster Mangement Authority, given that, in 2012, the country has been given mountains of money and assistence for recostruction to find itself, ten years later, even in a worse condition. The news of the dead bodies on the roof have already disappeared from the media but these missing people are not even 'news' any more in Pakistan.
Selling weapons to Islamabad and giving money to the country without conditions, once again, might not be a good idea. If we don't want to be witnessing bodies piled up in graves or rooftops frequently: bodies with no name or face anymore, while their families are still helplessly waiting for their return. The Army of Ghosts, in not so long, will be bigger than the real Army of the country.
(Francesca Marino is a journalist and a South Asia expert who has written ‘Apocalypse Pakistan’ with B Natale. Her latest book is ‘Balochistan — Bruised, Battered and Bloodied’. She tweets @francescam63. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author's own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for his reported views.)