Balochistan: 41 disappeared, 20 killed in December

The human rights situation during the month of December remains worrisome. Enforced disappearance, extrajudicial execution and honor killing continued unabated. Human Rights Council of Balochistan received reports of the enforced disappearance of at least 41 people including eight students, abducted by Frontier Corps and the extra-judicial execution of twenty people including two women during the month.

Moreover, a massive crackdown was carried out against the leaders of Haq Do Tehreek in the Gwadar district of Balochistan resulting in the arrest of more than a hundred people and imposition of section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1898, a colonial times law that prohibits large gatherings and social occurrences and curtail constitutional rights of peaceful assembly and association.

Haq Do Tehreek:

Haq Do Tehreek was first formed in November 2021 after local fishermen, traders and people who rely on border trade came together against illegal trawling in the sea, restrictions on fishermen to access to the sea, closure of the Pakistan-Iran border and installations of military check posts. The month-long strike ended after negotiations between the organizers and the government of Balochistan. But, a year later when the government failed to fulfill its promises, Haq Do Tehreek once again went on strike and for the last two months, had been protesting in Gwadar.

Police Crack Down:

On December, 26, the police force arrested Hussain Wadhela, one of the movement’s founding members with his companions resulting in an eruption of clashes between the protestors and police. A police constable Yasir and 19 years old Dosta died in the clashes. The government imposed section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for one month and blocked communication networks for more than a week to clamp down on the protest. Moreover, the forces detained more than a hundred active members of Haq Du Tehreek from Gwadar and Kech districts. The locals alleged that during the raids, forces beaten up women and children, houses were looted and the right to privacy and dignity was violated.  The victims published videos on social media showing their wounds to back their allegations. Other disturbing videos were also found on social media where forces can be seen beating up shopkeepers and protestors before dragging them to their vehicles.

The charges against some of the detainees were later dropped and several others were released on bail, however, at least forty-one people still remained in the custody of the police.

Mr. Hussain and his companions were held incommunicado for ten days and later produced in the Crime Branch of police in Quetta. Mr. Hussain alleged that the judge of Session Court Gwadar abuses his power when he questions them in the police car in the middle of the night on the express highway to grant their custody to police and later conducted two hearings in his residence instead of court.

Later, Balochistan High Court handed over Mr. Hussain and his companions to the police for physical remand for seven days.

Enforced Disappearances:

On 01 December, forces abducted Qasim son of Khaleel Ahmed from the Tasp area of district Panjgur and shifted him to an unknown location after FC and intelligence agencies raided his house.

On December 2, Sumair Baloch son of Nasir, a  student from Singo Lane, Liyar Karachi, disappeared from Karachi. His family has alleged that he was abducted by security forces as he had been receiving threats from the forces.

On 03 December, Habib son of Guhram, a resident of Kolwah Siggak was abducted by forces from his current residence in Turbat district Kech. Habib migrated from his native area after continuous military operations and the psychological trauma he and his family went through.

On 03 December, Afzal son of Abbas, and Noor Khan son of Ali forcibly disappeared from the Gresha area of Khuzdar district. According to reports, Afzal and Noor Khan were detained by government-backed armed men from their homes late at night.

On 08 December, Noor Khan, a resident of district Kech, was abducted by security forces from the Issa Nagri area of Quetta. He is a student of computer science at Quetta.

On 09 December, Sohail son of Abdullah, and Chakar son of Rasool Bakhsh, were whisked away by forces from district Kech and shifted to an unknown location. Sohail was abducted from the Dazan area of Tump and Chakar from Kohad. Their whereabouts remained unknown.

On 15 December, Ghulam son of Nazar Muhammad was forcibly disappeared by forces during a raid in the Gomazi village of Tump. According to eyewitnesses, a military convoy carried out house-to-house searches women and children were beaten and Ghulam was taken away.

On 23 December, Shabbir son of Jumma, a resident of Mashkay, was abducted by the local death squad and later handed him over to security forces. His whereabouts remain unknown.

On 24 December, Pakistani forces raided Marasham area of Geshkore district Awaran and abducted Mayar Ahmed son of Seth Janghian. During the raid, forces ransacked houses, and beat women and children. Forces also took the mobile phone of the victim’s family with them.

On 25 December, security forces raided a football ground in the Dazan Tump area of district Kech and abducted Niamatullah son of Abdul Ghafoor and Abdullah son of Hafeez.

On 27 December, forces raided the Meri Kallag area of Turbat district Kech and abducted Ijaz son of Miadad Asa from his house.

On 30 December, Nadil, a student, and resident of Balgetar was abducted by security from his room. He was working part-time at Buledai Trading Company to bear the expenses of his studies

On the same day, Faizullah, a driver was forcibly disappeared by forces when he was traveling from Kharan to Nushki.

On 31 December, Two students, Siraj Noor son of Noor Muhammad resident of Ispakanri, and Muhammad Arif son of Ghajian resident of Sarrech Greshag were abducted by security forces. Among the victims, Siraj Noor is a 6th-semester student in the Law Department of Sargodha University, while Muhammad Arif completed his MA in 2022 from Balochistan University.

On 31 December, In the Randak area of Mashkay, the leader of the local death squad, Khudaidad son of Abdul Karim, summoned Ali Sher son of Karam Khan resident of Gorkhai to his house and handed him over to the forces camp, after which his whereabouts are unknown.

On 31 December, forces raided the home of Baba son of Shafi Mohammad resident of Gorkhai and forcibly disappeared him after taking him into custody.

On 31 December, Shehzad son of Peer Bakhsh, a resident of Shapuk, was abducted by Pakistani security forces from the Ziarat area of Turbat district Kech.

On 31 December, forces whisked away a student Sabzal son of Wajdad from Turbat district Kech. He is a resident of the Gaddagi area of Balgetar district Panjgur.

Extrajudicial Executions:

During the month of December, the Human Rights Council of Balochistan received reports of the extrajudicial executions of twenty people. Among the victims, six people were killed in the name of honor, ten people were targeted and killed by unknown gunmen, three people were killed by one of the Baloch armed natioanlists, Balochistan Liberation Front, one person was shot dead by coast guard and Imran Babu was killed in the custody and his dead body was dumped.

Imran Babu, a resident of the Kolwah area of district Awaran and labor by profession was summoned to the military camp in Gushanag Village of district Awaran on December 24, 2022. He was detained and the family was informed that he is in the custody of the army. On December 29, 2022, his bullet-riddled dead body was found dumped.

Security forces are committing crimes on mass scales in Balochistan with absolute impunity. Enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions of activists and students have drastically increased in recent months. The use of excessive force to quell a peaceful assembly is unacceptable. Therefore, we call upon the government to carry out an impartial investigation into the use of brute force on protestors, women and children by police, the fabricated cases must be dropped and those responsible for violation of human rights must be held accountable.

Human Rights Council of Balochistan (Hakkpaan) is a non-profit and non-partisan human rights group based in Balochistan and Sweden. It collects reports from Balochistan, a region Pakistan government does not allow any media and HR group to visit and report. Human rights violations in Balochistan is not a new phenomenon, but it got its worst levels after the Military coup de tat of Pakistan in 1999. Thousands of Baloch have been reported missing, hundreds killed in fake encounters and so-called kill and dump policy of the military. HRCB collects the data from Balochistan itself, through its network of volunteers and supporters, organizes and reports them to the human rights mechanisms of the world.