We strongly condemn the media trial and smear campaign against Mahal Baloch and her family

We strongly condemn the police CTD smear campaign against Mahal Baloch prior to the court trial and reject the police’s statement on the matter and the forced confession of Mahal Baloch in the custody. Any confession in the custody has no legal base and is not considered admissible evidence. Therefore, the police instead of issuing false statements in the media to defame Mahal should prove the allegations before a court of law.

Moreover, the police CTD failed to provide any substantial evidence on the allegations against Mahal Baloch after thirty-five days of physical remand. And yet, the police began a defamation campaign against her and her family to back its fabricated charges. It is undeniable fact that Mahal Baloch was detained during a raid on her home in Satellite Town Quetta rather than from a park on February 17.  No bag or any illegal material was found in her home. The bag and suicide jacket which police are claiming to recover were brought by the police officers themselves.

After thirty-five days of Mahal’s custody, the police instead of filing a charge sheet in the court began a media trial to defame Mahal Baloch and her family. Mahal’s case is not the only case where the police have violated the law but it has a long history of framing activists and their families in bogus cases and killing victims of enforced disappearance in fake encounters.

Bibi Gul Baloch is a well-known human rights defender and the Chairperson of the Human Rights Council of Balochistan (HRCB). Affiliating Bibi Gul with Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) is to restrict the reporting of HRCB on human rights violations being perpetrated by the army, FC, and Police. The Human Rights Council of Balochistan has long been the target of the army. In 2017, Nawaz Atta, the then Information Secretary of the then BHRO was abducted by military intelligence, and held in incommunicado detention for more than two years where he was subjected to inhuman torture. The website of HRCB is partly blocked and inaccessible in Pakistan for the last several years without any explanation.

The police approach towards Mahal Baloch’s case is highly concerning. We expect the court to consider all the pieces of evidence in the case and hold police accountable for their involvement in framing activists and their families in bogus cases and the killing of victims of enforced disappearance in fake encounters. If the court fails to uphold the constitution and ensure justice is delivered, we are afraid that the people instead of approaching local remedies would incline more toward violence.

Human Rights Council of Balochistan (Hakkpaan) is a non-profit and non-partisan human rights group bases in Balochistan, Sweden, UK and France. 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.