Balochistan: 65 disappeared, 27 killed in March

In March 2021, Pakistan’s security forces forcibly disappeared 65 people from different areas of Balochistan. Fifteen of them were later released while the whereabouts of others remain unknown till the time of this report. As many as 27 were killed in the month. Four mutilated bodies were found, two of them decomposed beyond recognition, and four were shot dead in a fake encounter by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD).

Enforced Disappearances:

On March 03, the Frontier Corps (FC) raided the house of Dr. Khuda Bakhsh, a political activist, in Baghbana area of district Khuzdar and whisked away his two sons, Abdul Waheed and Nisar Ahmed. Since then their whereabouts are unknown. For years the security forces have been engaged in targeting family members of political activists to force them to quit their activism and in many cases where the activists refused to comply, their family members were killed. Abdul Waheed had been taken into custody by the forces in the past too. During the previous detention, he was brutally tortured and later framed in a bogus case and handed over to the police.

On March 05, the FC raided a house in Menaz Buleda, district Kech, and whisked away Pir Bakhsh and his nephew Obaid Siddiq. Pir Bakhsh was later released while the whereabouts of Obaid remains unknown.

On March 08, Zarin Khan Azizo was ordered to appear in the military camp of Badra, district Sibbi. He was detained and since then no one has heard of him. In several areas of Balochistan, the forces have imposed rules where every male member of the area has to appear once or twice a month to military camps. Last year, a teenage boy Murad Jan was tortured to death for not being able to speak Urdu during a summoned investigation in district Awaran.

On March 07, two persons were whisked away by the forces from Nushki city. The abductees were identified as Riaz Badini and Changaiz. Changaiz works as a security guard at the Muslim Commercial Bank, Nushki branch.

On March 09, FC personnel abducted Jan Baig Rind and Sultan Rind from Dhadar area of district Kachhi. They remain disappeared to this date.

On March 11, Ayaz Bangulzai was abducted by unknown gunmen in front of his home. He works in Quetta and had returned to his hometown in Sibbi for his brother’s wedding.

The FC raided a house in Dor Gatti area of district Gwadar and forcibly disappeared Chirag Murad Bakhsh and his guest Akbar Sayad. The forces also took away a motorcycle and valuables from the house.

On March 12, the forces forcibly disappeared seven people from Menaz Buleda. The abductees were identified as Abid Siddiq, Munir Shambay, Abdul Ghafoor Hameed, Javed Asumi, Waseem Asumi, Basit Abdul Hameed, and Wahad Abdul Hakeem.

On March 17, Zubair Gwahram was once again forcibly disappeared by the forces during a raid at his house in Mand, district Kech. Last year in May, he and his elder brother Javed Gwahram were detained by the forces in the FC camp in Mand. Javed Gwahram succumbed to torture injuries and passed away in a hospital in Karachi after he was released. Zubair was later released in October 2020 but brutally tortured and traumatized. His whereabouts remain unknown after he was abducted by the FC this time.

On March 19, the forces raided a house in the Tump area of district Kech and forcibly disappeared a football player Mirjan Kamalan for the fourth time, this time after a few hours of his release. He was picked by the FC personnel on 15 March, the last time, released on the noon of 19 March, after torture, and then picked again.

Separately, the forces raided a house in Absar Turbat of district Kech and whisked away Naik Bakht, a student of the University of Balochistan. He belongs to Kenichi Kolwah and had been staying at his relative home for his studies.

On March 21, Waseem Muhammad Essa was abducted by the security forces from his home in Panjgur. Previously, in 2016, he was forcibly disappeared and kept incommunicado for a year and later released without any explanation.

On March 24, forces abducted five people from Khalidabad Mashkay area of district Awaran. The abductees were identified as Dad Rahim Murad, Badal Karim Dad, Rafiq Azim Khan, Saddam Jan Muhammad and Naiksal Shah Murad.

On March 26, Sayad Hasil, a student, was taken into custody by the forces from Uthal’s Zero Point, when he was travelling from Quetta to Karachi. Sayad Hasil is a resident of Kalatuk and a student in Quetta. He is suffering from Thalassemia and was travelling to Karachi for his medical checkup. His family is worried about his well-being, as he needs medical assistance regularly.

On March 31, the forces raided a house in Srenken area of district Kech and picked up Ali Haider Diljan. He is the seventh disappeared person in his family.

Four youths of the same family were whisked away by the forces from a shop in Dumb area of Surab. The abductees were identified as Muhammad Asif Reki, Allah Din Reki, Muhammad Irfan Reki and Zulqarnain Reki. Muhammad Irfan and Zulqarnain were later released in Karachi while the whereabouts of the rest are unknown. Muhammad Asif and Allah Din are nephews of Mama Qadeer Baloch, renowned human rights activists and the Vice Chairman of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. Mama Qadeer claimed that the police are hesitant to register a case against the military, and the abduction of his nephews is to pressurize him to stop his activism and constitutes collective punishment.

Extrajudicial Killings:

On March 08, the Counter-Terrorism Department in a statement claimed to have killed five members of an armed nationalist group during an intelligence-guided raid on a hideout in Mastung. The deceased were identified as Samiullah Pirkani, Jamil Pirkani, Arif Marri, Yousuf Marri and Shah Nizar. In truth, all of them had been abducted by the security forces and were reported as enforced disappeared persons.

Fake encounters are another tactic widely used by the military to silence dissenting voices. Dozens of political workers, teachers, student activists are abducted from their houses and killed in staged encounters in front of witnesses, at times in broad daylight. These killings have traumatized the families of the missing persons.

All the five persons that the CTD said they killed in an encounter had in fact been in the illegal custody of the Frontier Corps.

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.