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Barbarism in Balochistan: Pakistan’s story of oppression

Balochistan, the most restive province of Pakistan, has entered a new era of violence and dissent. Inputs of atrocities being committed on innocent civilians by the Pakistan Army and its sponsored terrorists are coming out frequently despite an attempt to keep the situation under wraps. The root of the problem lies in the fact that the people of Balochistan have never accepted their forcible merger as a province of Pakistan. The beleaguered nation has been fighting for independence for many decades. Thousands of Baloch have been killed, disappeared, tortured by Pakistani state agencies. Some of them are released but majority of them have been killed and dumped while thousands are still missing and no one knows their whereabouts. Burning human rights situation in Balochistan needs to be highlighted where massive violations of basic human rights are taking place on a daily basis.

On March 27, 1948, a few months after partition between India and Pakistan, Pakistan invaded and occupied Balochistan. The Pakistan Army arrested the elected representatives of Balochistan, abolished the Baloch government, and illegally merged it as a province of the new Nation. Thus, Balochistan was forcibly inducted into the state of Pakistan. Ever since, the province has been struggling for its rights; this struggle has taken the form of open rebellions and demand for independence. Many have lost their lives, honour and property in an environment of deplorable violations of human rights. Leaders and activists, including Mir Suleman Dawood Jan, the 35th Khan of Kalat, are living in self-imposed exile and fighting in international forums for the rights of their oppressed people.

Baloch Battles On

As the Baloch resistance refuses to die down in this small-sized state even after a decade long bloody, military crackdown in the name of Islam, a prominent Baloch journalist, and a famous Baloch singer have fled Pakistan after facing death threats. The two, Razzaq Sarbazi, 39, and Hafeez Ali Baloch, 40, both said goodbye forever to the “Land of Pure” last year and are now seeking asylum in Sweden. Balochistan has had the dubious distinction of being the world capital of enforced disappearances where more than 2,000 journalists, singers, teachers, lawyers have been forcibly abducted, tortured, killed and dumped since 2009 – in just five years. To deal with the situation, an association for peaceful protest formed by some of the families of those missing, called the International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (IVBMP) was also formed. The studies by IVBMP say that up to 18,000 Baloch are currently unaccounted for. That figure is much higher than data from other NGOs and human rights organizations, but the IVBMP says it will be publishing details of all its data soon.

Last year alone, as many as 455 people, who were forcibly abducted, were tortured and killed by the Pakistani security forces and intelligence services, and their bodies dumped, according to Nasrullah Baloch, president of the Baloch Voice for Missing Persons. The British rulers had said “honour the Baloch”, but the Pakistan’s Punjab army dominated rulers seem to be interested in dishonoring even the Baloch dead. At least 48 people were forcibly disappeared and 12 killed in Balochistan in January this year. They are the latest victims of a military operation launched in Balochistan in the early 2000s to curb a separatist Baloch insurgency. Thousands have gone missing and hundreds murdered since then. Human rights groups, Pakistan’s own judiciary and a number of parliamentarians have held the powerful military responsible for such human rights abuses in Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Horrid facts

On Dec 27, security forces whisked away two people — Shakir son of Rafiq and Mullah Rahmat son of Majeed — from Balnegwar, Dasht, district Kech when they were traveling from Karachi to visit their families.

On Jan 4, the forces took away Muheem Jan son of Sakim and Ashiq son of Noor Muhammad during separate raids in Balnegwar.

On Jan 6, they raided a house in Bal area of Dasht, district Kech and took away 50-year-old Ibrahim, son of Brahim. Soldiers also harassed and assaulted the house’s women and children during the raid, injuring a young girl.

On Jan 13, in raids in various areas of district Harnai, the security forces took away seven people and shifted them to undisclosed locations. The abductees were identified as Shareef son of Khair Muhammad Marri, Wazeer son of Wahab Marri, Parvaiz son of Shakar Khan Marri, Murad Khan son of Daulat Khan Marri, Tothi son of Bando Marri, Alim Baig son of Meri Marri and Jango Marri.

The same day, they also raided a house in Tertij, district Awaran, and forcibly disappeared Saeed Baloch son of Allah Dad.

On Jan 16, they carried out a raid in Gishkore Gazzi, district Awaran, and took away Faiz Muhammad son of Bijjar, Allah Dad son of Faiz Muhammad and Saleem son of Muhamad Khan.

On Jan 17, paramilitary Frontier Corps personnel whisked away dozens of residents of Mazar Goth, district Awaran, but we were able to confirm the identity of only 18 abductees. They are Jameel son of Khuda Bakhsh, Ather son of Mehrab, Ganj Bakhsh son of Peer Muhammad, Manzoor son of Brahim, Saeed son of Muhammad Bakhsh, Waidhi son of Bazaidh, Muhammad Yar and Naikaal sons of Waidhi, Sheer/Sher jan son of Mohammad Bakhsh, Qadir Bakhsh son of Ganguzar, Atha and Basheer sons of Nazar Muhammad, kamalan, Charshambe son of Murad Bakhsh, Noor Muhammad Ghani son of Rustom, Allah Bakhsh son of Kareem Dad, Noor Bakhsh and his som Hoth Umeed.

On Jan 22, the forces raided the house of Master Kareem in Khalilabad area of Turbat, and whisked him away along with his son Malok.

On Jan 25, they took away two cousins, Bilal son of Hamza and Shakar son of Dawood, from Turbat, district Kech.

On Jan 28, they carried out a raid in the Soro area of Mand, district Kech, and forcibly disappeared four people — Hafeez son of Majeed, Salim son of Hussain, Jahanzaib and Nadeem sons of Elahi Baksh.

Separately, on the same day, the forces abducted Lal Jan son of Khuda Bakhsh from his house in Hub Chowki, district Hub.

On Jan 29, four persons were taken away during a raid in Ragey Thangi, district Washuk. The victims were identified as Zahoor son of Sadiq, Rafiq son of Mama Anwar, Khuda Rahim son of Qadir Bakhsh and Hamid son of Badal.

Murders

On Jan 1, a decomposed body was found in Garbi bypass, Kuchlak, which was moved to hospital by the police. The deceased was identified as Noor Ahmad son of Abdul Hameed Sulemani. According to medical reports, his body bore marks of torture.

On the same day, the body of Waheed Muhammad Hasni was found in Taftan, district Chagai. He had been abducted by unidentified gunmen five days before the body was found.

On January 4, unidentified gunmen opened fire on Saeed, a police constable, a resident of Sagar, district Panjgur, and killed him for reasons not clear to us. Another person was wounded in the firing.

An unidentified militant shot down a person in Darbar, district Kalat. The body was taken to hospital for examination, but the identity could not be confirmed till the filing of this report.

On Jan 20, the security forces shot down two unidentified persons. According to the forces, they had been involved in several bombings.

On Jan 26, a man and a woman were killed by unidentified armed men in Zaidi, district Khuzdar. The reason behind the murders remains unclear.

The same day, two other people were killed in Thorger, district Harnai. Their identity could not be confirmed either.

On Jan 28, a decomposed body was recovered near Jabal Noor and was later moved to hospital for autopsy.

On Jan 30, security forces killed Essa Bugti son of Shahzaman Bugti in a ‘staged’ encounter. The forces had taken away Essa on 14 January and demanded an unaffordable amount from the family for ransom

The torture of Baloch rights campaigners remains routine. Promises of military de-escalation are contradicted by continued army incursions and airstrikes, which have resulted in many civilian casualties, and by the shooting death of peaceful Baloch protesters. Heart touchingly, the women and children have also been kidnapped and killed. Many of them have been raped by Pakistani military personnel. Baloch are systematically kept backward so that they cannot get proper education. In many villages, there is only one school and there is no transport system in place so the pupils have to walk for hours to reach to school.

Viewpoint

The Baloch observe November 13 as “Baloch Martyrs Day” and pay respects to those who attained martyrdom in the very legitimate fight for independence. Thousands of Baloch political activists, including women and children, have been killed in the decades-long freedom struggle. A large number are missing – allegedly lodged in detention centers by police and army. The media blackout and state sanctions against free press in Balochistan have emboldened the forces to commit more atrocities and suppress Balochistan’s democratic voice.

To sum up, the international organization and human rights activists should send their fact-finding teams to Balochistan to find out and witness the gross human rights violation by Pakistan. The civilized world has a dogmatic view about Pakistan that the religious state is involved in world terrorism. The only solution to stop this evil is to support the people of Baloch. Once Balochistan becomes independent, no one can further threaten the world because an independent Balochistan will not only promote regional peace and security but it will also join hands with international community to work for world peace.

21 Feb 20/Friday                                                                     Written By: Saima Ibrahim

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