ISLAMABAD - The Senate on Saturday welcomed the release of women and children including the wife and daughter of a Baloch separatist leader and head of the outlawed Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) by security forces.

Home Minister Balochistan Sarfaraz Ahmad Bugti in Quetta on Friday announced the release of the wife of BLF chief Dr Allah Nazar Baloch along with three other women and three children. Bugti had said that they were earlier detained by the security forces on October 30 while crossing the Pak-Afghan border near Chaman. 

A spokesperson for the Senate in a statement quoting Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani said that there was a contradiction in the official response of the federal government. “First, the interior ministry had informed the Senate that the women and children were taken into custody by the security forces while crossing the Pak-Afghan border but, later, it said that they were under investigation in connection with the law and order situation in Balochistan,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson welcomed the release of the women and their children belonging to district Awaran, Balochistan and appreciated the collective efforts carried out in this regard.  “The Senate had taken the notice of the issue of the missing women along with their three children in a strange manner and directed the government for taking measures for their recovery and apprise the House accordingly,” he said.

 The spokesperson while giving details of the efforts of the Upper House of the Parliament said that in the Senate sitting held on October 31, the lawmakers raised the matter of the missing of women along with their three children who were in Quetta in connection with a medical treatment. 

The Senate chairman had directed that a calling attention notice already given by the members shall be placed on the orders of the day, out of turn, the next day.

Accordingly, on November 1, Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini on his behalf and on behalf of senators Farhatullah Babar, Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar and Sardar Muhammad Azam Khan Musakhel, drew the attention of the minister for interior towards the missing of women and children.

 The Senate chairman had asked the interior minister to apprise the House of the point of view of the government on violation of Articles 4, 9, 10, 10A and 14 of the Constitution in this regard. The Senate chairman had also taken note of a letter written by a joint secretary of the Ministry of Interior to make an attempt to declare it a provincial matter.

Minister of State for Interior Talal Chaudhry had made a statement in response to the calling-attention notice and admitted that they have been arrested by the law enforcement agencies during an attempt to illegally cross the border. He had said that further information was being sought.

The Senate chairman had directed the minister to gather complete information from the agencies concerned and apprise the House the next day.

In the Senate sitting held on November 2, Talal Chaudhry informed the House that the missing women and children had been detained by security agencies and they were being investigated as some leads had been established with regard to the law and order situation in Balochistan.

On the statement of the state minister, Rabbani pointed out the contradiction saying previously the House was informed that they had been arrested due to the illegal border crossing and now they were under investigation. “How can innocent children sabotage the law and order situation? There is a contradiction in the stance,” the spokesperson said while quoting the Senate chairman.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal had also made a statement in the House and assured to take measures and take the House into confidence. “In view of this development, the Senate chairman was not satisfied with the response and had directed interior minister to apprise the House of the concrete response of the government to the situation till next Monday,” the spokesperson said adding that in the meanwhile, the missing women and their children had been released.