Balochistan: 75 forcibly disappeared, 73 killed in February

Balochistan: 75 forcibly disappeared, 73 killed in February

State authorities continued the policy of intimidation to silence the voices of activists. In this regard, a case was filed against Nasrullah Baloch, Chairman of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), Mama Qadeer, Vice Chairman of VBMP, Seema Baloch, sister of missing activist Shabir Baloch and Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani, a political leader. In addition, sedition charges were made against Imaan Hazir Mazari, a human rights defender and lawyer, Mohsin Dawar, member of National Assembly along with several Baloch students for organising a peaceful protest rally for safe release of their fellow students Hafeez Baloch who was picked up by forces from Khuzdar district.

The Human Rights Council of Balochistan received reports of 75 cases of enforced disappearance during February, while 73 incidents of killing were reported from different parts of Balochistan. The disappeared were either activists or family members of activists and were abducted by the paramilitary Frontier Corps or intelligence agencies and death-squad groups.

Over 30 people were whisked away and three were killed by the security forces in the first week of the month after the attacks by Baloch separatists on two Military Camps in Noshki and Panjgur districts of Balochistan. The attackers claimed to have killed nearly two hundred soldiers. It’s an undeniable reality that since the military’s deployment to counter the ongoing insurgency in the province, the civilian population and the forcibly disappeared persons have always faced the aggression of the military whenever the forces have come under the attack of the separatists.

Following the recent attacks, two residents of Chitkan area of Panjgur and one from Kech were extrajudicially killed by the Frontier Corps on February 3, and their bullet-riddled bodies were found dumped near the area. One of the victims was identified as Ehtesham son of Master Ghulam Muhammad who was a student of Islamic University of Islamabad and had come home for holidays. The family claims that he had gone out to receive some guests from the bus station when the frustrated forces detained and shot him in the head. The other victim was a mentally disabled person known as Naeem Abdal who was shot dead by the FC.

The same day, the forces claimed to have killed Altaf Jadda during a clash in the Balgetar area of district Kech and later dumped his body. Altaf Jadda was in fact a forcibly disappeared person abducted by a local death squad from Tijaban a day before he was killed.

On February 12, personnel of the Frontier Corps raided several houses in Teertej village of district Awaran and forcibly disappeared Mohammad Ali son of Dinar and his brother Wahid Dinar. The following night army officials summoned elders of the village and informed them that Mohammad Ali had died in their custody and he was buried outside the military camp, while Wahid Dinar was released in a critical condition.

The forces killed four and injured four others during a raid in Killi Shahabzai, Zhob, after a heated exchange of words between the residents and security forces erupted during the raid.

Six students and two teachers were forcibly disappeared from Quetta and other areas of Balochistan. Saud and Suder Sarparrah, and students of grade 10th and 11th were picked up during a raid in Faizabad, Quetta, on February 7. The same week, their brother Farhad and two cousins Haroon Waleed and Saqib Zaib Sarparrah were picked up by personnel of the Frontier Corps from Quetta.

Hafeez Baloch, a student of M.Phil in Physics at Quaid-e-Azam University of Islamabad, was abducted from his hometown Khuzdar. He was picked up in front of his students who he was teaching voluntarily during his holidays to educate the deprived children of his society. Similarly, another student Dilip Baloch who was travelling to Quetta from Punjab, was forcibly disappeared by the forces. He was doing Masters in English literature at Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Punjab, and was abducted from Kahaan. He was released after two days.

The security forces and personnel of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) raided a house in the Hoshap area of district Kech and forcibly disappeared three people. One of the victims was identified as Azad son of Jumma Khan, a student from Hoshap, while the other two could not be identified till the filing of this report.

Two teachers, Kifayatullah Langov, a resident of Mastung, and Razaq, a resident of Kech, were forcibly taken away during separate raids by personnel of the FC from their hometowns. Meanwhile, a social media activist, Malik Meeran, who always exposed the ground realities and human rights violations committed by the powerful paramilitary forces in Balochistan, was forcibly disappeared on February 7 from Panjgoor. Similarly, the forces abducted an artist, Waris Wafa who was a YouTube Comedian, from the Mand area of district Kech.

Moreover, three Baloch laborers were abducted by the intelligence agencies from Lahore. The abductees were identified as Jamal Khan Balkhani, Muhammad Nawaz Balkhani, and Farooq Khan, all residents of Radasham area of Koh-e-Sulaiman, district Dera Ghazi Khan.

Twenty-five people were picked up by the Frontier Corps from different areas of district Kech and Panjgur; Akhlaq son of Nabi Bakhsh, Bilal son of Haneef, Bilal son of Sudheer, Ismail Iqbal, Saeedullah Faqeer, Waseem Gul Muhammad, Nadeem, Shamim Maqbool, Naeem, Noroz, Bilal Ahmad Saeed, Yasir Nasir, Wajo Mazar, and Nabeel Liyaqat were abducted from Kech, while Balach, Aqil, Shabir, Akram, Ahmad, Yahya Raees, Rajab Dilmurad, Basit Hassan, Masroor Omar, Hameed Mureed, and Muhammad Qadir Bakhsh were picked up from Panjgur. However,  four of them, Masroos Omar, Ismail Iqbal, Saeedullah Faqeer, and Waseem Gul Muhammad, were later released.

Personnel of the Frontier Corps abducted six residents of Awaran. Ashraf Deen Mohammad, Amjid Adam, Majeed Wahid Bakhsh were forcibly taken away during a military operation in the Marastan area of Kolwah, while Bashir Ahmad, Ghami Wajo, and Rashid Lal Muhammad were abducted during a raid.

Six others namely Shandar Domki, Muhammad Hussain, Abdul Hameed, Hayat Zangi, Atwar Gorgaij, and Hashim Domki were forcibly disappeared from district Sibbi. However, Hashim Domki was shot dead the same day after detention by the security forces and his body was found dumped in Machh.

Moreover, during military raids, three people, Muhammad Khan, Bakhtiar and Sahib, were abducted from Dera Murad Jamali, two people, Ali Haidar Sajo and Nazir Ahmad, were whisked away from khuzdar, Dur Muhammad from Harnai, Mohammad Ghaos from Bolan, and Mohammad Akram from Quetta.

Personnel of the Frontier Corps and the intelligence agencies forcibly took away three people, including a central committee member of the National Democratic Party, Dr. Jamal Baloch, from Barkhan. The other victims were identified as Naseem and Shahzain Baloch.

Furthermore, five people were abducted during raids in district Noshki. The abductees were identified as Fareed Muhammad Aslam, Sami Abdul Ghafar, Karim Bakhsh, Waheed, and Asim.

Seven of the abductees still remain unidentified, whereas only five of the total victims have been released till this report. The whereabouts of the remaining abductees are yet to be ascertained.

During the month, a total number of 73 people were reportedly killed in different incidents across Balochistan. Ten cases of extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the paramilitary forces, and eight cases of honor-killing were reported in various areas of Balochistan. Nine people lost their lives in target killings, and three dead bodies were found.

An increase in cases of honour killing has also been witnessed in recent months. Eight cases of honour killing were reported from different areas of the province in February. Tribal conflicts and honour killings are two major issues that are widely practiced. These killings are mostly encouraged by state’s non-interference policy which lead to perpetration of such crimes without fearing prosecution. These crimes barely face legal procedure as the authorities never interfere in such cases-leaving it ‘personal’ between tribes and families.

Moreover, 34 militants from Baloch Nationalist groups were killed in clashes with the forces, while five of the security forces were killed by the separatists, and three police constables were killed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.