Silenced for speaking the truth

Published: December 20, 2012
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Dr Shah was beaten up by the police when he had resisted being whisked away. The police denied they were behind Dr Shah’s manhandling.

How easy is it for a person to tell the truth when he knows it could cost him his life? In Balochistan, the truth is seldom allowed to surface.

If it does, it’s often distorted. However, I find it fascinating that there are people who speak up knowing that truth would endanger their life.

Despite the terrible state of law and order and a deep sense of insecurity in the province, a less-known but brave doctor stood up for justice and told the truth, which ultimately resulted in his assassination. A year ago, police surgeon Dr Baqir Shah, a key witness of the Kharotabad incident, was assassinated in broad daylight.

Dr Shah was a police surgeon at the Bolan Medical Complex (BMC) Teaching Hospital in Quetta. He had carried out the autopsies on the corpses of the five foreigners who were gunned down by Frontier Corps (FC) and police personnel. The latter described the victims as “well-trained terrorists”.

He was a courageous man who performed all his professional duties till the last minute of his life. Giving a testimony to the committee set up to probe the killings, he showed his work ethics as a professional and his personal valour. As one of his good friends, I really enjoyed the conversations with Dr Shah. In the wake of the Kharotabad incident, I advised him to be careful since this was a very sensitive case given that security forces and police were involved.

“I am not scared of anyone and I will not lie at any cost. I am not an ordinary man,” he told me after having given the testimony to the committee.

After a few weeks, Dr Shah was beaten up by the police when he had resisted being whisked away. The police denied they were behind Dr Shah’s manhandling.

I fail to believe his fair autopsies of the Kharotabad victims led to his cold-blooded murder. He had also fearlessly been unveiling autopsies of missing persons whose mutilated and bullet-riddled bodies were turning up almost every other day in Balochistan.

Since his killers will probably never be uncovered, we should at least comfort ourselves in the knowledge that there are still people amongst us who won’t ever cower down and stick to the truth no matter what.

Read more by Shehzad here. 

Shezad Baloch

Shezad Baloch

A research journalist and former Express Tribune correspondent. He tweets as @shezadbaloch (twitter.com/Shezadbaloch)

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