Balochistan: Army whisked away four family members including two brothers. Father killed in 2016

Four young men of the same family were forcibly disappeared after being stopped at a military check-post situated few hundred meters from their home in Sari Gadagi on June 9, 2020. The area falls within the district of Panjgur. Majid and Zaman, who are among the abductees, are brothers and sons of Mr. Sipahan while the other two, Ahsab Khalil and Abul Hassan Rahmat, are their cousins. Majid and Abul Hassan are both drivers by profession while Ahsab and Zaman are students and were visiting their family during a time when the educational institutions were closed due to the Corona pandemic.

 

Mr. Sipahan, father of Majid and Zaman who is also a political activist was previously forced to migrate from Sari Gadagi Balgathar to Naag Kolwah when work started on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in 2016. The western route of CPEC passes through Balgathar. Sipahan was not the only family who was forced to migrate from Balgathar. Almost everyone who could afford to migrate left the village and settled in other areas as Internally displaced people (IDP). The western route was then completed until Hoshab town but at the cost of dozen of lives, hundreds of enforced disappearance and forced migration of thousands of people whose villages and settlement fell on the route.
In November 2016, military carried out a massive military operation in Balgathar and Kolwah area of Balochistan. As usual, the army cordoned of the area and blocked all the entries and exits of the area. Soldiers carried out door to door searches throughout the week while helicopters carried out indiscriminate shelling in the mountains. Sipahan was one of the victims who died in that shelling in Kolwah.
Sipahan´s elder son gathered the family and once again migrated, this time from Kolwah to one of their grandfather´s area in Zamuran in district Kech. Sipahan´s widow went back to Balgathar instead of going along with his sons to Zamuran.

With the highway also came an increased numbers of military camps and check-posts which the army claims are to protect the highway but are in fact used to harass and suppress the people. The numbers of military camps increased from one to nine while more than one hundred check-posts were installed.

The drivers worked on pick up trucks transporting trade goods from the Iran border into the cities and towns of Balochistan. The border trade had dwindled as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic and hence Majid and Zaman decided to pay a visit to their mother in this idle time. They were returning back after they had paid a visit to their mother when military whisked them away.

Zaman and Majid’s mother along with a few other relatives has been sitting in protest in front of military camp in Balgataar since yesterday. Today Pakistani army soldiers baton charged them which resulted in several people being badly injured.

The fate of all the abductees are unlawfully in the hands of the army and are as of yet to be decided by them. Such incidents which also constitute as collective punishment and are even illegal according to Pakistani constitution are rampant in Balochistan and are the major source of inciting violence.

image_pdfimage_print