Balochistan: Woman journalist among 18 killed, 28 disappeared in September

Balochistan: Woman journalist among 18 killed, 28 disappeared in September

Woman journalist Shaheena Shaheen, 25, was shot dead in Turbat on September 5. Two men left her body at the Civil Hospital and fled the scene. Her family registered a murder case against her husband, Mehrab Gichki.

Gichki belongs to a powerful and influential family. The Gichki tribe was once considered the chief tribe of Makkoran — a division comprising the districts of Kech, Gwadar, and Panjgoor — having strong ties with other influential tribes of Balochistan such as Mengal, Marri, Bugti and Aliani. Current chief minister of Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan, is the chieftain of the Aliani tribe.

Shaheens was raised by a single mother and was the eldest of five sisters. She was a journalist, an anchor-person, an artist, poet, the editor-in-chief of a literary magazine and head of a local NGO, which campaigns to uplift women and encourage them for quality education. Her cruel murder not only highlights a deeper social problem but also the negligence of the law enforcement agencies when it comes to safety in a town from which it is almost impossible to escape as every exit route is manned by security forces. Turbat is full of army check-points.

This ghastly culture of violence on women is further strengthened by a lack of prosecution in such cases. Local authorities must ensure that the murderer of Shaheena Shaheen is arrested and tried.

In another case, a woman Dur Naz and her husband Mohammad Bakhsh were shot dead reportedly by the woman’s brother in Nasirabad, Balochistan, on September 1. The murderer was identified as Abdul Hameed. The killer went into hiding and the law enforcement agencies have failed to locate him.

On September 10, locals of Dalbandin found human remains buried in a deserted area of the region. People gathered and the remains were recognized as Hafeezullah Mohammad Hasani.

The security forces forcefully disappeared Hafeezullah Mohammad Hasani from Dalbandin, Chaghi, four years ago. Family members of the abducted joined Voice for Baloch Missing Persons’ camp in Quetta, Balochistan, to highlight the case of his enforced disappearance. The family accused one Naveed, a major in the Pakistani army, for Hafeez’s kidnapping and demanding twelve million ransom money for his release. In August 2019, the officer of the Frontiers Corps’ Dalbandin Rifles was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military court for taking 5.7 million rupees as bribe from the victim’s family for his safe release. But, he appeared dead.

The remains were later shifted to Prince Fahad Hospital. During the medical examination it could be ascertained that the deceased was shot three times in the chest and one time on his leg, according to Dr. Iqbal Baloch of Prince Fahad Hospital. Hafeezullah’s body was recognized by his brother from a tailor’s badge and two artificial teeth. the Levies force has launched an investigation but has failed to make any progress.

On September 6, Hameed Anwar, a torture victim, succumbed to the injuries inflicted on him during his illegal detention after he was forcibly disappeared by the security forces. He was once abducted in March 2019 and was released after severe torture. This time he was picked up, tortured, and released only to succumb to the injuries in the hospital.

During the month, five individuals were shot dead in the Awaran district only, one in Harnai and four persons in district Kech.

Khuda Bakhsh of Dera Murad Jamali went missing from his hometown on September 9. He was later found dead on September 12. The motive behind his apparent abduction and the consequent killing couldn’t be ascertained nor the perpetrators were found.

A large-scale military operation has been going on in the Gichk area of district Panjgur for more than a month now. During the month of September, 23 individuals were forcibly disappeared by security forces from the area. Moreover, at least 50 women and children were also shifted to a military camp. This Intense and brutal military operation has subjected more than a hundred individuals to enforced disappearance and several villages were set ablaze. Most of the victims were released in the course of the month while the whereabouts of the others still remain unknown.

Ubaid Amin, Nisar Aslam, Muslim Aslam and Raheem Majeed of Buleda district, Kech, were abducted by the forces from Kech on September 29.

Mehrab Jatoi, a resident of Sibi, was whisked away by the security forces in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, from a military check-post on September, 6.

The army shot dead Irfan Ghulam Mustafa and Noor Khan Noor Bakhsh during an encounter. The military buried their corpses in the absence of their families. The families of both the deceased staged a protest in front of an army camp and demanded corpses of the deceased. Shehla, sister of Irfan, held a press conference in Press Club Turbat and appealed to the government to provide the dead bodies of their loved ones for proper burial.

Ghulam Mustafa, the father of Shehla, had been extrajudicially killed by the army during the general election of 2013.