August 14th, 2020
By Hamid Riaz
A student of Karachi University (KU), Muhammad Hayat Baloch, was shot dead in Turbat, Balochistan on Thursday, August 13, giving way to a wave of deep concern among civil society.
There has been a little independent investigation into the killing of the student, but an interview with his brother Murad Baloch reveals that according to an FIR registered at the Turbat City police station, some personnel of the FC Corps were behind this incident and two of these have been arrested and are behind bars now.
“They deliberately killed my brother,” says Murad. “He was an innocent boy with no controversial links, yet they dragged him to the road side and beat up there and then brought him home and killed him in front of my parents. Both my parents are in shock and my mother has fallen sick because of the shock.”
Murad says he is not aware of any similar cases have happened before but he says this was indeed a deliberate killing on part of the FC personnel. He claimed that Hayat was gunned down by FC personnel as an act of retribution for the explosion.
Several eyewitnesses also confirmed Hayat’s brother’s account of the incident. One eyewitness said that the incident happened after a Frontier Core (FC) convoy passing through the Absar area of Turbat and was attacked by a roadside bomb injuring three FC personnel.
Initially, the Baluchistan police maintained that Hayat Baloch was killed by the roadside bomb targeting the FC personnel, as published in English Daily Dawn.
But once the outpouring of anger on social media went viral, authorities were forced to change their stance. The new reports claim that Muhammad Hayat Baloch was mistakenly killed by FC personnel when they were conducting an area sweep following the attack on the convoy. The authorities also claimed that an investigation had been launched into the incident.
Eyewitnesses “I saw the FC personnel beating him near the main road,” said an eyewitness. “Whenever he tried to speak, they would hit him even more.”
Mahrang Baloch claims that this is a regular feature, and whenever an act of terrorism takes place, young men especially university students were picked up by the FC on baseless suspicions and tortured. Mahrang has been part of the students’ rights protests and has faced the wrath of the authorities herself in the form of unwarranted arrest.
“His body was then shifted to the Turbat district hospital but was not handed over for the longest time to the family until the community people protested,” she added. “There is also no FIR until now that has been public and the police have been saying that if they do file an FIR, it will be against unknown persons.”
His friends and teachers have taken to Twitter to condemn the killing of a bright and empathetic student.
The Human Rights Council of Baluchistan (HRCB) also reiterated these claims. According to the spokesperson Abdullah Abbas, Hayat was killed after being tortured by security personnel. Abdullah outrightly rejected the official claim that Hayat was killed in crossfire.
Ammar Rashid, an Islamabad based human rights activist, claimed in his tweet that “Hayat was working in a date field with his family when he was dragged away by FC personnel, who suspected him of setting off the bomb. The personnel tortured him on a roadside and later shot him around eight times in front of his parents.”