In October, Balochistan witnessed 48 reported killings, with six mutilated bodies recovered from different areas, and 33 civilians forcibly disappeared by the security forces of Pakistan, with students making up the majority of the cases. The abductions mainly occurred during house raids, with Kech and Awaran being the most affected regions. Unfortunately, only three people among these victims could return home after their disappearance.
Disappearance of students
Seventeen students have become victims of forced disappearances at the hands of security forces. One such case that gained significant attention was the disappearance of Fareed Baloch, a young Master’s student at Punjab University in Lahore. He was abducted on 27th October by secret agencies from the university gate in broad daylight. Fortunately, this incident was caught on camera, which helped generate public pressure demanding his release. Although he hasn’t been released, he reappeared in Garden Town Police station on false drug-related charges.
This is not the only incident, Baloch students both inside and outside Balochistan have been targeted for years, resulting in their forced disappearances and killings.
However, Unlike Fareed Baloch, the other 16 students were not fortunate enough to have their disappearances documented on social media and hence remained disappeared.
Balach, son of Molabakhsh, and Nawab, son of Hasil, both residents of the Absor area in district Kech, were detained and transferred to unknown locations during separate raids by the security forces. Both were the sole breadwinners of their families. Balach worked as a part-time tailor to support his family, and Nawab, with family responsibilities, was set to marry next month. Since then, no one has heard of them.
Similarly, two other students and residents of the same locality, Sarfaraz son of Ayub, and Yousuf son of Pathan, were taken away by the security forces. It should be noted that both of them were previous victims of enforced disappearances, who were abducted once last year on October 8, 2022.
Six students were abducted from Tump, and one from the Singanisar area of Kech on different occasions. The victims are Balach son of Mohammad Khalid, Chakar son of Akhtar, Nasram son of Pirbakhsh, Pazir son of Ghani, Ghaffar son of Sadiq, Brahamdagh son of Nawaz, and Abdul Haq son of Abdul Hafeez. The cousin of Abdul Haq, named Asad Baloch, is also missing since March 2014. Among these victims, only Abdul Hafeez and Nawab have been released.
Muhammad and Asim, residents of district Khuzdar, were abducted from Karachi, while Jahanzaib Imam, resident of district Awaran, was whisked away from district Hub. Furthermore, two others, namely, Shaheem Imam and Adil, were taken away from their hometown in Awaran.
Four civilians were abducted from New Kahan area of district Quetta. Security forces, along with intelligence agencies, conducted a search operation in New Kahan and forcibly disappeared Ali Gul, son of Haibat Khan, Amanullah, son of Wazir Khan, Manzoor Ahmed, son of Hajo, and Muhammad Qasim, son of Haji Gul Khan Ahmed. This marked the second such operation by Pakistani forces in New Kahan that month. During the previous operation, forces confiscated documents, identity cards, passports, and cash from many houses.
Due to threats from state forces, some families do not come forward to discuss the disappearance of their loved ones, and some cases do not come to light due to the unavailability of internet services.
Zafar and Inayatullah, residents of the Kodasak area of Khuzdar, were summoned to the nearby army camp of their residence and have not returned since.
Zafar Ali and Imdad Ali were taken away from their medical store in the Dasht area of Mastung. According to locals, they were residents of Dera Murad Jamali and served as primary providers for their families.
Muhammad Usman, the father of young Masood Ahmed, who tragically lost his life in a house that collapsed due to an explosion two days before in Kan Zangi, was unlawfully detained and subjected to forced disappearance by security forces.
During three house raids in Jhao and Kolwah areas of Awaran, six people were detained and then disappeared by the forces. The abductees were identified as Asadullah, Faheem, Alam Shakir, Ghamani Bahot, Muhammad Akbar, a teacher, and Amir Amjad, an oil trader. While Amir was later released, the others remain missing.
Furthermore, a Hindu girl was kidnapped by unknown armed men in Lasbela. The Hindu community of Lasbela has expressed concern over the negligence and failure of the Bela police in her recovery and the protection of minorities in this district.
Similarly, two laborers from Naseerabad and a civilian from Quetta were abducted. Their identities have not been confirmed yet.
Throughout the month, 48 killings took place in various regions of Balochistan. Among these, 37 victims have been identified, while the identities of 11 individuals, including five women, remain unconfirmed, and six dead bodies were found mutilated.
Most of the murders were carried out by unknown assailants in targeted killings, fueled by old personal enmity and tribal hostilities.
Baloch separatist groups killed eleven people. Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF), and Baloch Liberation Army (Azad) claimed responsibility for these targeted killings. These victims included six residents of the Punjab province. According to these groups, they were involved in espionage, facilitating the forces in attacks against separatists, forcing Baloch women to work for the army, killing and instilling terror among the people, and drug trading.
Frontier Corps claimed to have killed two separatists and members of BLA, who were later acknowledged and owned by the group.
Moreover, two people lost their lives in fake encounters carried out by CTD. The victims were identified as Mohammad Yusuf Nichari, who was forcibly disappeared on August 26, and Shafi Bangulzai on August 13 during a house raid, along with his brother Mohammad Salman, who is still missing.
In a tragic incident, Niaz Muhammad Bugti was forcibly abducted at gunpoint by two unidentified men on motorcycles in Karachi and then killed. Niaz had fled his hometown in 2006 due to military operations. His father, Mesk Ali Pirozani Bugti, a poet, had previously been killed by Pakistani forces in Dera Bugti.