In December 2023, the HRCB reported 52 cases of enforced disappearances carried out by Pakistani forces in Balochistan. Most victims, including seven students, were disappeared during raids by the Frontier Corps (FC). Dera Bugti was one of the most vulnerable areas, with 18 cases of enforced disappearances, followed by Kech and other districts. Moreover, there were 22 reported killings, mainly by armed men. These included one custodial killing of a missing person by FWO personnel and the discovery of two dead bodies.
Paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies in Pakistan have made enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings a daily routine, that has significantly impacted the entire region of Balochistan. Despite protests on daily basis by the families of victims to seek accountability and information about their missing loved ones, their voices haven’t been successful in changing the behavior of the armed forces due to the media blackout and censorship in the region.
The tragic killing of Balach Muala Bakhsh, an innocent youth from Turbat, triggered massive protests across Balochistan. Families, this time, sought justice from Islamabad after Balach was falsely killed by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), along with 10 others, in a series of staged encounters in November.
Despite nearly two months of protests extending to Islamabad, the government responded to the situation with harassment, violence, and the arrest of hundreds of participants. The protesters were denied food and other basic necessities by the Islamabad Police, and authorities filed fake FIRs against the protest leaders, including Dr. Mahrang Baloch, Sammi Deen Baloch, Dr. Sabiha Baloch, and Gulzar Dost in Punjab, Khuzdar, Karachi, Kohlu, and other places. These FIRs accused them of conducting rallies without proper permissions, using loudspeakers, and inciting opposition against the state and the army by chanting anti-state and army slogans. Moreover, they were unjustly labeled as terrorists and propagandists of foreign agencies for addressing their basic demands: an end to enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and the release of missing persons.
However, the protests gained widespread support throughout Pakistan, but the army, unfortunately, did not bring about any significant change regarding the core issue of enforced disappearances. December did not only witness these abuses persisting but occurring with even more impunity.
Forces, particularly the FC along with CTD, disappeared a large number of 18 people from the Dera Bugti district during house raids. The victims were identified as Bazo son of Mehran Bugti, Nazar Ali son of Bazir Bugti, Noorullah son of Seidan Bugti, Ali Jan son of Toshu Bugti, Ghulam Mustafa son of Mehr Ali, Mir Ahmad, Nazar Muhammad, Shafi son of Darihan Bugti, Qadir Bakhsh son of Wahid Bakhsh, Iqbal son of Sain Bakhsh Bugti, Rasool Bakhsh son of Ghulam Rasool Bugti, Gulbaz son of Sheer Mohammad Bugti, Sunder son of Rahmat Bugti, Sewa son of Kaleri Bugti, Bazo son of Rehmat Bugti, Khair Jan son of Mihar Marri, Chatta son of Sahib Marri, and Qurban son of Badal Bugti, who were unlawfully detained during house raids in the Sui, Bugti colony and Jantali Kohlu area were shifted to an unknown location.
Five people identified as Mohsin Siddique, Diljan Didar, a singer, Shah Hussain, Yasir Ghulam, and Lala Rafiq including his children were abducted from Gwadar. However, Diljan Didar, Shah Hussain, and Yasir Ghulam were eventually released, while the other two are still missing.
Forces abducted five more people from the Awaran district. The abductees are Mehmood son of Fateh Mohammad, Pirjan son of Ibrahim, Patto son of Rehmat, Bahot son of Khudabakhsh, and Salim son of Abdul Majeed.
Eight individuals were whisked away from various areas of the Kech district. They were identified as Nadil son of Irada, Mohammad son of Pir Jan, Mehraj son of Nasir, Asif son of Khair Bakhsh, Maqsood son of Gwahram, Usman son of Asif, Ismail son of Dad Karim, and Mubarak, a prominent comedian, and TikToker. Only Ismail, Usman, and Mubarak among them could return home; the others remain disappeared.
Forces detained five individuals from Punjab and shifted them to unknown places. Sakim, Zubair Aatim, Salman Lal, and Ameer Jan, students, were detained from Dera Ghazi Khan, while Zulfikar Mulghani, an activist, was whisked away from Taunsa. All of them were later released.
Three individuals were disappeared from Khuzdar. Zakaria son of Qadir Bakhsh was abducted after attending a military camp on the army’s call, while two students and residents named Jibran son of Lawang Khan, and Badin Khan son of Mir Mushtaq Ahmad were picked up during house raids.
Three brothers, identified as Munir, Nadeem, and Faheem sons of Kamal Khan Bangulzai, were forcibly disappeared by the CTD from Shahi Baig road in Mastung.
Three people were abducted from Karachi. Salman Bugti and Sharif Bugti were picked up by the FWO (Frontier Works Organization), a branch of the Pakistani Army, and Sayed Shani Baloch was whisked away by the secret agencies. Later on, Sharif was killed, while Salman and Sayeds’ whereabouts remain unknown.
The forces abducted two youths from the Noshki district. One of the victims was named Balach, a student, and another, Naseer Badini, both taken into custody from Killi Sharif Khan.
Eidu son of Hayat Khan, was abducted by the forces from the Mangochar area of the Kalat district.
During the month, a total of 22 killings were reported from various areas of Balochistan.
Nine individuals were killed in targeted killings by unknown armed men. Three deaths were due to personal enmity and land disputes, while five killings were claimed by Baloch armed groups accusing the victims of serving military interests. Additionally, two bodies were discovered, one in a decomposed state and the other mutilated.
Furthermore, three people were reportedly killed by the FC and FWO. Sharif and Salman Bugti were forcibly disappeared by the FWO from Karachi. Later, Sharif was allegedly tortured to death, his body was found on the roadside, while Salman remains missing. Nasir and Sajid, who were once associated with a pro-freedom group but joined government-backed death squads, were mistakenly killed by the FC in the Zarrenbug Dasht area of district Kech while reportedly aiding the army during an operation.