The year 2021 witnessed a drastic change in human rights situation in Balochistan. Human Rights Council of Balochistan, in comparison to previous years, recorded an increase in fake encounters committed by police’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) killing 47, while there was a rise in cases of enforced disappearances, extra judicial killings, target killings, torture, collective punishment, killing of women for honor.
Students remained the main target of military and its shadow organizations, both in Balochistan as well as in other provinces of Pakistan. A large number of Balochistan’s students were forcibly disappeared in 2021.
Human Rights Council of Balochistan received reports of enforced disappearance of 442 people, out of whom 170 were later tortured and released while whereabouts of 272 people remained unknown at the time of writing this report. A total of 366 people were killed.
Military operations in the pretext of national security also continued unabated throughout the year. In some cases, entire villages were bulldozed and burnt down to ashes. A large number of women and children were detained and shifted to army camps where they were subjected to inhuman torture. Excessive use of force during military operations and bombings caused an increase in the number of internally displaced persons, a burning issue never taken into consideration, neither by state nor international humanitarian organizations.
State sponsored death squads, besides military, also remained active throughout the year and contributed in abductions and killing of political activists and their family members and it further escalated, along with disappearances and killings, the displacement of many families in rural areas of Balochistan.
The Draconian law military imposed in rural areas, which required all male members of family older than twelve to appear in the nearby camp once or twice a month, continued to victimize local populace. Moreover, new restrictions were imposed in these areas; no one is allowed to enter or exit the village without the prior permission of the army. Villagers are to get permissions, if any one travels to another town or city, to buy food stuff and for any other reasons, marriages and burials are to be registered to the military camps in advance. People are starving, as they need the army’s signature for purchasing even 1 kg of flour.
On the other hand, the government gave impunity to the local lords and war criminals for what they do. At least 57 women were killed by their families on the name of honor on alleged adultery allegations and not any single culprit was arrested and brought to justice. Due to the ineffectiveness of local remedies and culture of impunity, the culprits always get away with the murder of women. Honor killing is one of the most underreported issues in all over Pakistan and in Balochistan it is even worse.
The government of Pakistan failed to fulfill its promise and obligation to outlaw enforced disappearances. Moreover, the Senate Standing Committee on Interior proposed amendments which would allow state actors to behave with impunity. The amendments would also allow criminal charges to be brought against anyone who fails to prove involvement of state institutions in abductions with a penalty of up to five years imprisonment alongside a fine of PKR 100,000. These amendments instead of criminalizing enforced disappearances in the country would rather encourage the perpetrators to continue disappearing dissidents and their families with absolute impunity while discourage the victims’ families from reporting cases on the other hand.
In addition, the Standing Committee has also not involved civil society, victim groups and human rights organization on board. The amendment bill also doesn’t specify under which legal structure victim families will be able to file a complaint and how compensation will be determined.
Enforced disappearances have long been practiced as widespread policy of military to silence human rights defenders and political dissidents’ voices. It was initiated in Balochistan but having absolute impunity, military was encouraged to adopt the same policy for the political dissents in other provinces too. The bill to outlaw enforced disappearance brought hopes to the families of victims of enforced disappearances but the proposed amendments would not only add the impunity to the perpetrators but also bare victim families from reporting enforced disappearance cases. The Bill was anonymously passed by the National Assembly and is due to pass from Senate to gain constitutional status. However, the ministry of Human Rights stated that the bill itself disappeared from Senate.
In the year 2021, Human Rights Council of Balochistan received partial report of at least 442 cases of enforced disappearances. The victims include women, children, elderly people and families of activists and human rights defenders. Out of 442 people, 170 people were released while whereabouts of other 272 people remained unknown. None of the enforced disappeared persons were charged of any crime or illegal activity in front of any court. Families of victims are also kept in dark about the whereabouts and condition of their loved ones.
The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances is formed in March 2011 to trace the whereabouts of the disappeared persons and hold the responsible accountable for this heinous crime. But, in its nine years, the commission has failed to hold a single perpetrator accountable or address the impunity. Moreover, the families have reported harassment and misbehavior during the hearings of the Commission.
Persecution of Students:
For years, students had remained the prime target of enforced disappearances. In 2021, military and its shadow organizations forcibly disappeared at least 38 students, abducted from different areas of Balochistan. However, 18 students were later released while whereabouts of remaining 20 students remain unknown at the time of writing this report. It is pertinent to mention that all the victims of enforced disappearances were subjected to inhuman torture during interrogation.
On Jan 07, Mukaram Akbar, a student of Physiotherapy of University of Balochistan was whisked away from Barori road of district Quetta. Mukaram Akbar is a resident of Panjgur and had been staying in Quetta for his studies.
On Jan, 13 Balach Khan, another student was forcibly disappeared by security forces from Quetta, capital of Balochistan. Since then, there is no further information about his whereabouts and wellbeing.
On Feb 21, Siraj Washdil, a student of 8th grade and a residence of district Panjgur was forcibly disappeared by security forces from the Kohi Goth area of district Malir, Karachi. He had rented an apartment in Kohi Goth and was staying at the address to pursue his education in Karachi. However, he was released after three days without an explanation.
On Mar 09, Ijaz Baloch, a student of Bolan Medical College Quetta was abducted by security forces from his hometown, Nushki.
Moreover, on same day Naveed Qadir, a Chemical Engineering student was forcibly disappeared by security forces, while he was travelling from Quetta to his home town Turbat, district Kech. He was studying in Lahore, Panjab. Both were released few days later.
On Mar19, Naik Bakht, a residence of Kolwah and a student of University of Turbat was abducted by the military during a raid in Absar, district Kech. .
On April 31, two students, Sohail and Faisal, residents of the Shahrak area of district Kech, were abducted by security forces. According to their family members, they went for hunting from where forces whisked them away. Both were later released on May 06.
On May 23, Osama Baloch, a seventeen years old student of seventh grade was forcibly disappeared by the military from Hub city of district Lasbela. He is a resident of Gomazi area of district Kech.
On May, 23 Talal Baloch, student was forcibly disappeared for the second time in three years by security forces. Once he was whisked away in 2018 and was reappeared after three months. However, this time he was released after five weeks.
On Mar, 27 Sayad Hasil was forcibly disappeared by security forces from Uthal’s Zero Point, while he was travelling from Quetta to Karachi for his medical checkup. He is a patient of Thalassemia. Sayad Hasil is residence of Kalatuk, area of district Kech. However, he was released after six months.
On Jun 08, Qasim Baloch, student of BS Chemistry and Bilal Baloch, student of Economics were forcibly disappeared by forces from Bolan Medical College in Quetta. Both are students of University of Balochistan. According to Qasim’s family they were abducted after they participate in a rally for the safe release of enforced disappeared persons. Both students are resident of district Kech. They were later released on July 01.
On Jun 19, Shah Mir Baloch, a student of University of Balochistan and brother of Dr. Sabiha Baloch, Chairperson of Baloch Students Action Committee was forcibly disappeared by security forces. He was released after months of protest and demonstrations.
On Jun 22, Imam Baloch, a student of Atta Shad Degree College was whisked away by death squad members from Talimi Chawk of Turbat, district Kech.
Similarly, on same day Fida Baloch, a student of and a residence of Buleda, district Kech was abducted during a military raid in Kallag, district Kech.
On Jun 22, Shahmir Baloch, a student of Atta Shad Degree College and a resident of Kallag, district Kech was forcibly disappeared by security forces. His whereabouts remain unknown.
On Jul 10, Akbar Barkat, a student of Naval Technical College and a residence of Nodiz, district Kech was forcibly disappeared by the military at Talar security check-post between Gwadar and Turbat.
On Jul 10, Shakir Baloch, a student of University of Balochistan was abducted by security forces from the main city of Turbat, district Kech and was released after two days without any explanation.
On the same day, Mehraj Aslam, a student was forcibly disappeared by the military during a raid on his house. No information has been provided about his crime and whereabouts.
On Aug 08, Nawaz, a student of Atta Shad Degree College and Allah Bakhsh were forcibly disappeared by the military during a raid. Later Allah Bakhsh was released whereas, whereabouts of Nawaz remain unknown. According to the local people, women and children were also tortured during the raid.
On Aug, 28 Noor Khan a residence of Shapuk, district Kech was forcibly disappeared fort he second time by the security forces. Initially, he was abducted on May 12, 2019 but was released after months of incommunicado detention. However, this time he was framed in fake cases and handed over to Bawalpur police in Punjab.
On Sept 04, Muneeb Baloch, a student of FSc of Quetta Degree College was forcibly disappeared by security forces and personnel of intelligence agencies during a raid on a house in Shafi Colony of Quetta. However, he was released on Oct 05.
On Sep, 13 Salman Mengal, a student of Nushki Degree College, was forcibly disappeared by intelligence agencies from district Nushki.
On Nov 05, Sohail Ahmed and Fasih Baloch, resident of district Noshki and students of University of Balochistan of were forcibly disappeared by the military from their hostel’s rooms in a late night raid.
Students of the University of Balochistan, protested and boycotted the classes against the abduction of students from University premises. Their whereabouts remain uknown.
On Nov, 05 Zubair Zehri and Adnan Mengal and Khuda Bakhsh, the students of Quetta Polytechnic College were forcibly disappeared by intelligence agencies, from a shop on post office road in Hub city. Both are residence of Hub Chawki. They were released on November 26. They were subjected to brutal torture in detention.
On Nov 07, Aslam Baloch, a student was forcibly disappeared by the security forces during a raid from Allahabad town of Hub city. No one heard of him since then.
On Nov, 09 Bilal Zehri, a student and a resident of Zehri, district Khuzdar, was abducted by security forces from Hub city. His whereabouts remain unknown.
On Dec, 01 Jamil Sadiq and Ramez Akhtar, two students of the Gwadar campus of Turbat University were forcibly disappeared by the personnel of intelligence agencies during a raid at campus hostel. According to eyewitnesses the hostel was surrounded by dozens of gunmen during the raid, and students were blindfolded and tied before taking them away.Both abductees are from Pishokan, district Gwadar.
On Dec 15, Shah Ur Rehman, a medical student of Bolan Medical College and a residence of district Panjgur was forcibly disappeared by the security forces from the capital city of Balochistan. He was staying in Quetta for his studies.
On Dec 23, two relatives, Shiraz Baloch and Sari Baloch were forcibly disappeared by the military from their home in Srinkin, district Kech.
Sari Baloch is a student of fourth-year of Physics department at University of Balochistan. According to his family he came home for vacation. Both were released after 2 months of incommunicado detention.
On Dec, 29 Iqbal Baloch and Dosta Baloch, were abducted by the security forces during a late night raid in Tijaban, district Kech.
On Dec, 24 Ikhlaq Pir Bakhsh, a student f Bolan Grammar School was abducted by security forces from Dashti Bazar, Turbat, for the second time. He was previously disappeared for 17 days and then reappeared in August last year.
This time he was released after three weeks. He was brutally tortured in detention.
Extra Judicial Executions:
Human Rights Council of Balochistan received reports of extrajudicial executions of at least 366 people in the year 2021. According to detail, Frontier Corps, a para-military force killed 50 people, Police CTD killed 47 people in fake encounter, Baloch Militants killed 44 people whereas, 57 women were killed on the name of honor. Moreover, 43 mutilated dead bodies were found, 134 people died in target killing incidents, 31 people died in bomb blasts, 14 people were killed in the custody of forces and 14 people were shot dead on site.
In the year 2021, the Frontier Corps (FC) personnel killed a total number of 50 people including women and children. Among the killed ones, 24 were Baloch militants who died in clashed with FC, 13 people including women and children were shot dead by FC personnel during military operations and bombardment whereas, 11 people were killed in custody and later their dead bodies were either dumped or handed over to hospitals.
On May 28, Frontier Corps carried out a military operation and abducted two people, Asa and Bola from Hoshab area of district Kech. Later, the forces brought the dead bodies of both abductees to hospital and left. Both were civilians.
On June 2, Frontier Corps, during a military operation in Keelkore area of district Panjgur raided several houses and in one if the houses they arrest Pir Jan Ahmed. He was subjected to brutal torture and left him critically injured. Later that day, Pir Jan succumbed to injuries and died.
On June 5, Frontier Corps personnel shot dead a person in Keelkore area of district Panjgur. The person was identified as Basham Sakim.
On June 14, Frontier Corps personnel forcibly disappeared Gwharam Nadil in a raid from Konshkalat area of district Kech. The next day, one of the officers of FC informed the viticm’s family to come and take back dead body of Nadil Gwahram.
On June 16, forces entered the house of Peery Ahmed in the village of Geshtri, Keelkore area of district Panjgur. Forces tried to rape his daughter. On resistance, Peery was shot dead.
On July 24, during a raid of forces, an elderly woman, Kegad died of cardiac arrest. Her family had remained a target of the forces for a long time. During the raids, Kegad’s family was tortured and valuables were looted. During one such raid, Kegad’s sons were forcibly disappeared and kept in the dungeons for months where they were subjected to torture. One of Kegad’s sons was brutally tortured which resulted in permanent damage to his mental and physical health.
Kegad was also traumatized by multiple raids and had been under medical treatment for the last few years. The sudden raid of forces triggered Kegad’s past trauma due to which she suffered a cardiac arrest and succumbed.
On July 30, Ghulam son of Shehi, who was forcibly disappeared during a raid in Sangabad area of Kech district, was killed by the forces in custody and his body was shifted to hospital. The man was also mentally unstable.
On November 11, security forced detained 5 people including Anwar Mehmood from Mashkay area of district Awaran. Later on, November 22, forces informed family of Anwar Mehmood to come and collect dead body of Anwar. His body bore severe sign of torture.
On the same day of November 22, Akhtar Raza, a resident of Mashkay, district Awaran was ordered to appear in the military camp, a military imposed law in rural areas of Balochistan where every male member of villages from age 12 have to appear once or twice in the military camp. During the summon, he was detained and tortured to death. His dead body was later dumped in a nearby desolated area.
On December 07, Frontier Corps personnel brought three detainees on the border of Pakistan-Iran and shot them. They were identified as Asad Nasir, a resident Nokain Kahn Mand area of district Kech, Ghulam Qadir Abdullah, resident of Killi Qambarani area of district Quetta and Khan Mohammad Shahwani, resident of district Khuzdar. Asad Nasir and Ghulam Qadir Abdullah died on the spot whereas, Khan Mohammad Shahwani was critically injured. The injured was later shifted to a hospital in Iran. According to his account, all three were brought to border by FC personnel and shot them. Asad Nasir was forcibly disappeared during a raid on his house on July 01, 2019 and since then he was kept in incommunicado detention. In the past, his younger brother Yasir Nasir was also forcibly disappeared on October 14, 2010. Five months later, on March 8, 2011, his bullet-riddled body was found dumped.
Similarly, Ghulam Qadir was also forcibly disappeared by forces few years ago whereas, Khan Mohammad Shahwani was arrested by Levies force from Zehri area of district Khuzdar on June 17, 2019. He was later handed over to army and since then his whereabouts were unknown.
On February 09, security forces bombed a village in district Kohlu. As a result, two people Moran Marri and Miran Marri died. Later, the ground forces entered the village and detained women and children if the said house and shifted them to unknown location. Moreover, while leaving, forces burnt down the entire village into ashes.
On October 10, Frontier Corps fired a mortar which landed on the backyard of Mehrab Khan home in Hoshab area of district Kech. As a result, Mehrab Khan´s grandchildren, seven-year-old Sharatoon and five-year-old Allah Bakhsh, were killed while another child was wounded. According to the details, the kids were playing in the backyard of their house when a mortar fired by the FC landed near them. The girl died on the spot while her brother passed away later in the hospital. Another child, Miskan Wazir, is injured and still under treatment.
Shoot on Site:
On April 03, the Pakistani army launched a military operation in Kodi Peshi area of Kahan, where three people were killed and one was injured from forces firing. Nine-year-old Ali Dad son of Jando and his father Jando were among the killed people. Jando another 15-year-old son Ghulam Muhammad, was forcibly disappeared along with his cousin.
On April 04, Pakistani forces killed two people and left two others missing during an operation in Lehri area of district Sibi. According to the information, a large number of forces opened fire indiscriminately during an operation in the Lehri area, killing two persons identified as Abdul Hameed and Abdul Haleem.
On September 21, Taj Bibi and her husband went to collect firewood nearby their home in Askani Bazar of Turbat, district Kech where forces in nearby military camp opened fire. As a result, Taj Bibi died on the spot as she received the bullet in her head while her husband got critically injured.
Fake Encounters by CTD:
Fake encounters are another tactic widely practiced 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 but in the year 2021, Police Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) was brought forward and remained engaged in killing enforced disappeared persons in fake encounters. This left families of victims of enforced disappearances in trauma and anguish.
The CTD was first introduced in 2010 after revamping the Crime Investigation Department, another police department. But the CTD soon gained a reputation as an encounter specialist squad due to the sheer number of fake encounters it carried out in the province. In 2021 alone, the CTD has killed at least 47 people in Balochistan, 21 of whom were identified so far had already been registered as disappeared persons, all of whom abducted by personnel of Law Enforcement Agencies.
According to details, On January 18th, 2021, the Eagle Force of Balochistan, claimed during a press conference that they had arrested Jameel Pirkani and Sami Pirkani having found two hand grenades in their possession. Officials claimed that both the detainees were handed over to the CTD. The two detainees were cousins.
On March 07, 2021, the CTD claimed to have five Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) members killed in a shootout near Mastung on the outskirts of Quetta, Balochistan. The five “alleged terrorist” were identified as Sami Pirkani, Jameel Pirkani, Arif Marri, Yousuf Marri and Shah Nazar. After investigation, it was found that not only Sami Pirkani and Jameel Pirkani but the other three also had been in the custody of the security forces and had been registered as enforced disappeared persons on the dates of their disappearances.
Yousuf Marri was arrested by security forces from Sibbi on November 27, 2020, whereas Arif Marri was detained from his shop in Hazar Ganji, Quetta, on February 28, 2021. Similarly, Shah Nazar was also forcibly disappeared.
On June 18, 2021, the CTD claimed to kill four “terrorists” during a search operation in Marwadh, Balochistan. The alleged terrorists were identified as Ali Baig s/o Dhai, Murad Khan s/o Nihal Khan Mazarani Marri, Khairo s/o Shah Meer and Murad Bakhsh s/o Noor Khan. All four of them were enforced disappeared persons who were abducted by forces from different areas on different dates.
According to the details, security forces raided Ali Baig’s home during a military operation in March 2021 and detained his brother and two sons. Later, a Frontier Corps Colonel asked Ali Baig and another person Jamal Khan s/o Nazar Mohammad to appear before him in return of safe release of their loved ones. They had no option but to oblige but when they went to see the colonel, both of them were detained and remained missing since then. Ali Baig was shot dead by the CTD on June 19 while Jamal Khan’s whereabouts have been unknown since then.
Similarly, Murad Khan was forcibly disappeared by security forces two years ago from his home in Jattak Stop, Quetta, whereas Khairo was abducted in March 2021 during a military operation from Kahan area of Balochistan. Murad Bakhsh s/o Noor Khan was also forcibly disappeared by forces during an operation from Shahrag area of Balochistan in November 2018.
On July 05, The CTD once again claimed that five people were killed in an alleged encounter in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. A CTD spokesman said that the operation was carried out in the Hazar Ganji area on the outskirts of Quetta. During the operation, there was an exchange of fire between CTD personnel and armed men. The officer did not provide any information about the identity of the killed people. However, the only person who was identified among the killed was Qudratullah son of Muhammad Waris Mulazai, a young man from Kharan district of Balochistan. Qudratullah was reported forcibly disappeared by security forces from his home in Kharan on March 19, 2021. The remain four bodies were buried as unidentified people.
Moreover, Police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) has claimed to kill 23 people in three separate incidents during the month of August. Seven of them who were identified were people the security forces had abducted and forcibly disappeared in the past and had been in the custody of forces.
On 10 August, Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) have claimed responsibility for killing five people in an alleged encounter. The bodies of the slain were shifted to the civil hospital where three of them were identified as Jamil Ahmed, Shoaib Atta Mohammad and Mohammad Khan. The other two could not be identified.
According to details, Jamil, a resident of Gichk, was abducted by Pakistani forces from Panjgur on March 19, 2021, while Shoaib, resident of Gramkan, a laborer in the United Arab Emirates, was returning to his hometown for a holiday when forces detained him at Karachi airport whereas, Mohammad Khan was resident of Surab who was detained by security forces from Panjgur city of Balochistan two years ago.
On August 26, A spokesman for the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) said that an operation was conducted on the basis of intelligence reports about the presence of terrorists in the Kohar Dam area where seven terrorists were killed in a clash. We independently investigate into the background of the killed people who were identified and concluded that among those killed, Ghani Baloch was abducted on October 20, 2017 from Pasni Zero Point and Saddam Hussain on April 24, 2018 by Pakistani forces and intelligence personnel in the Malir area of Karachi. Abdul Ahad was abducted by forces in January 2021 from his home in the Parom area of Panjgur. Sajid son of Mohammad Sadiq, a resident of Washbod, Panjgur district, was forcibly disappeared by Pakistani intelligence in 2018. All of them were already in the custody of military.
On 22 October, CTD claimed to conduct an operation in the Roshi area of Mastung on the information of the presence of teroorists where 9 alleged persons were killed in the exchange of fire. One of whom was identified as a forcibly disappeared person Yar Mohammad who was abducted by Pakistani security forces. Yar Muhammad son of Dada Khan was originally a resident of Marwar who had moved to Quetta after being affected by military operations in the area. Yar Mohammad was forcibly disappeared from Hazar Ganji area of Quetta in March 2016 and other eight are still to be identified.
On November 09, Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) killed two people who have been identified as Raza Muhammad son of Wahid Bakhsh and Hayat son of Naseeb of Pirandar, Awaran district. Both were affiliated with Balochistan Liberation Front, a militant organization who were arrested by Intelligence personnel in a raid on a house at Daro Hotel Hub ten days after they surrendered in October 2021. They remained disappeared for a month and later killed in a fake encounter and their bodies were dumped in the hills of Sassi Punno in Hassan Pir Sakuran Hub area of district Lasbela.
Moreover, CTD officials have been registering fake cases against previously disappeared persons.
On August 14, Balochistan Police’s Counter Terrorism Department claimed to arrest two terrorists from Awaran district of Balochistan. In the statement issued to media, CTD claims that the department ceased arms and ammunition in the possession of the alleged terrorists, intended to attack Independence Day celebrations in the province. The identities of alleged terrorists were disclosed as Siraj Ahmed and Hassan Jan.
Given the ill-famed reputation of CTD, Human Rights Council of Balochistan investigate the names and found that both, Siraj Ahmed s/o Wahid Bakhsh and Hassan Jan s/o Rahmat were among the forcibly disappeared persons. Both minors were taken into custody by Army officials on June 11, 2021 and since then remained in incommunicado detention.
According to details, officials in Gishkore Army Camp threatened families of Siraj Ahmed and Hassan Jan to present them in the camp to clear the doubts military had against them. Disobeying the officials would invite military wrath. On June 11, 2021, families brought Siraj Ahmed and Hassan Jan to army camp where soldiers tortured them in front of families before detaining them. The families were sent back with the assurance that they would interrogated and released.
Meanwhile, the army accommodated parents of Siraj Ahmed and Hassan Jan to visit them in the military camps multiple times. However, two days ago, the families were told that Siraj Ahmed and Hassan Jan were sent to Khuzdar for further investigation and it could take six months before they return back.
Siraj is mentally challenged and 15 years old whereas Hassan Jan is 17. CTD false claim to arrest them and framing them in fake charges after two months of their detention furthers the fears of the families of any possible harm to their lives as both families had remain victims of state brutalities in the past.