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Mass graves discovered in Pakistan

Rights group calls for investigation of killings

ucanews.com reporter, Quetta

ucanews.com reporter, Quetta

Published: January 29, 2014 04:25 AM GMT

Updated: January 28, 2014 07:32 PM GMT

Mass graves discovered in Pakistan

A prominent rights group on Tuesday called for a thorough probe into the discovery of 15 badly decomposed bodies from two mass graves in Pakistan's insurgency-hit Balochistan province.

In a statement, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan called upon federal and Balochistan governments to quickly establish the identity of the deceased and their killers. The graves were discovered on Saturday.

"The bodies were far too decomposed to be recognizable. So far there was no information about who the deceased were and who killed them. Initial reports suggested that 15 persons had died around a month earlier and parts of their bodies had been eaten by wild animals," the statement said.

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The government has dismissed some media reports which say more than 160 bodies were discovered.

A thorough probe must be initiated and all efforts made to establish the facts in the case and bring the perpetrators to justice. If necessary, DNA tests should be conducted to identity the dead, it said.

"Such an investigation is all the more vital in view of the spate of violence, targeted killings and enforced disappearance and dumping of dead bodies of missing persons in Balochistan in recent years. [The commission] also calls upon the government to facilitate relatives of missing persons who are keen to learn if the deceased include their dear ones."

The commission also urged the federal and provincial governments to find a solution to the violence, lawlessness and killings in Balochistan and stressed that such a solution must respect due process and human rights and that emphasis should be placed on finding political means to address the challenges.

Deputy Commissioner Abdul Waheed Shah told ucanews.com that the bodies were found buried in the Totak area in Khuzdar district. A local shepherd spotted some body parts and alerted local law enforcement, he said.

Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik pledged that government would launch a probe.

"So far according to official figures, 13 bodies have been discovered from Khuzdar," Malik told reporters in Quetta, the provincial capital. "I have asked for a detailed report about the incident. Once I get the report, I will be in a better position to tell more about this," he said.

The mineral-rich Balochistan is Pakistan’s most underdeveloped province. Baloch separatist groups regularly accuse Islamabad of stealing Balochistan’s natural gas and mineral wealth. They have been waging a low-scale insurgency for decades.

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