August 2, 2023
By Xari Jalil
In a press conference held at the Quetta Press Club on August 1, the Baloch Solidarity Committee recounted the human rights violations that took place in Balochistan during the month of July. The conference was led by student activist Mahrang Baloch.
“In total, more than 43 people were forcibly disappeared this month, while the mutilated bodies of more than 6 people were recovered,” she said. “Apart from this, the killing of a woman by the so-called Jirga in Chagai, extortion by death squads, killings of people in Wadh, use of police force on students in Khuzdar, frequent operations in Karachi, causing problems for people in the area of Kech Absar, and so on.”
“We have been pleading to each and every state institution, every time we gather against these rights violations in Balochistan,” she said. “And yet instead of putting a stop to them, violations of unconstitutional rights and other injustices are increasing. Balochistan is currently facing severe issues that stem from the state’s security agencies, the government’s death squads, state-sponsored criminal gangs, and direct state repression. This is not counting the other types of illegal activities here – daily raids on houses, trampling of basic human dignity in the name of operations, enforced disappearances, fake encounters, target killing, torture, humiliation at check posts, kidnapping for ransom by criminals, etc.”
Baloch said that an uncertain situation had risen in Balochistan due to the state’s ‘tyrannical policies’ which affected every part of the province. While protests and demonstrations carry on continuously across the province, no one from the media or judiciary takes any notice of what is happening, she said.
Mahrang Baloch presented data for the month of July that her organization had collected.
According to Mahrang Baloch, in the beginning of July, Isa son of Jangi Khan was killed by a state-backed group in Mushkay. A child was also injured in the firing incident. Isa had also been a victim of enforced disappearance by the security forces four times before he was killed.
A series of enforced disappearances took place in Balochistan immediately after Eid, she said.
Saalim Baloch, a history graduate from Punjab University who supported his widowed mother, was forcibly taken from his home in Turbat Absar during a raid on the night of July 4.
On the same night in a raid at another house, a man named Ikram Baloch was also abducted and detained. However after three days of torture, Ikram Baloch was released, even after a month, Saalim Baloch remains in the custody of the security forces. This is despite there being demonstrations held by Amnesty International, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), and family and fellow students for his recovery. “His life is seriously threatened as he is being detained illegally and possibly tortured in cells,” she added.
In another operation on July 4, security forces personnel illegally detained Gulab son of Jamal Baloch, a resident of Kech Dasht Balangur district, from the border area, and forced him to disappear. The family remains anxious for his safe release as no information is being provided to anyone about him.
On the same date, an operation was carried out in Karachi, where Mohammad Rizwan son of Mohammad Ramzan Nithwani, a resident of Khuzdar, was illegally detained and transferred to an unknown location, and unknown to the family, which poses serious threats to his life.
“In the custody of security forces, the lives of all the persons are at grave risk,” said Mahrang. “They can undergo fake encounters at any time, and have their mutilated bodies dumped any place.”
On July 5, sources from the related families revealed that two people Muhammad son of Mahmood and Asim son of Muhammad Azam, both residents of Khuzdar and living in Karachi, were picked up on June 17 and detained by the security agencies during an operation later being transferred to an unknown location. The family has demanded their safe recovery from the state agencies.
Yet another family came forward the next day to reveal that on June 15, Abdul Waheed son of Abdul Hameed was picked up by the security forces during a raid in Quetta.
On July 10, during a raid from Tump Dazan, security forces personnel alledged to have forcibly disappeared local resident Farooq son of Hameed Baloch and transferred him to an unknown location.
On July 10, families of missing persons from Mangchar, including Naveed Baloch, Shahan Baloch, Kifayat Baloch and Qazafi Nachari, blocked the Shaal (Quetta) to Karachi main highway and demanded the recovery of their loved ones who later ended their sit-in on the assurance of the local administration that their families would be released from illegal detention as soon as possible.
On the night of July 11, Hikmat Ali, the 17-year-old son of Master Barkat, was abducted by FC personnel during an illegal raid from Tump and forcibly disappeared.
In another raid on the night of July 11, Abdul Sattar Baloch, a member of organization Baloch Raj and a political activist from Dera Ghazi Khan, was forced to disappear by the security forces during the raid. Abdul Sattar Baloch has been a victim of the enforced disappearance policy of security forces in Dera Ghazi Khan in recent days and was released after being illegally detained, tortured and intimidated for almost five days. Political struggle has been banned in Balochistan due to which political activists are subjected to atrocities by state forces.
On July 12, the mutilated body of missing Tahir Khan was recovered from Nushki. Likewise, a mutilated body was also recovered from Dalbandin. These incidents have not been investigated transparently, said Mahrang Baloch.
On July 12, an operation was launched in Dera Bugti district of Balochistan, as a result of which many people were forced to disappear, while bombing and firing were also carried out in many areas, which severely damaged the livelihood of people. Several people were forcibly killed during the operation The targets of the attack include Dera Roshan Hotkani, Tariq son of Safar Khan Bugti, Juma son of Uluddin Bugti, Haso Bugti, Mari Bugti, Khaira Bugti, Tharo Bugti, Ahmed Ali Bugti, Hasino Dadan and Pinhal Bugti.
On July 13, the body of Allah Bakhsh, a shepherd, was found mutilated in Barkhan district after a month of enforced disappearance. However, no action was taken by the government.
During a raid in Quetta on July 14, the security personnel forcibly disappeared Zahoor Ahmad son of Jam Khan, a resident of Dhadar, and Azam son of Allah Dad, a student resident of Awaran. His family is worried that he has been locked up in a torture cell and is unaware of his location.
Meanwhile, 70-year-old Dinar was also abducted. He is one of those whose sons and cousins have returned from detention as mutilated corpses including Dadbaksh’s sons Ali Muhammad and Zabad, during a late-night operation by security forces in Awaran on July 14. The son of Sakhi Bakhsh was severely tortured and forced to disappear. “The abduction of 70-year-old Dinar shows that even the elderly are not immune to violence and violation of human rights,” said Baloch.
On the night of July 18, in another operation, security forces illegally picked up two more people from Tump, Farooq son of Murad and Pir Bakhsh, and forcibly transferred them to an unknown location, about which the family has no knowledge. “In such state raids, people are routinely picked up and disappeared and their mutilated bodies are dumped, but no one questions these crimes,” Mahrang said.
On July 18, during a raid in Kech, Saghir, son of Shaheed Kegad Baloch, and Rahim son of Abdul Samad, were forcibly abducted and disappeared. They were also reportedly abducted before, and in one of the raids, their mother had died.
On July 19, security forces forcibly disappeared a Kharan resident and teacher Hafiz Aurangzeb. His family has been suffering severe mental agony since then.
On July 19, security forces picked up and moved Shahid son of Charshambe, a 10th class student, to an unknown location. Shahid was taken in broad daylight from Turbat city’s Kolwah stop.
On July 22, Tufail Baloch, a resident of Mand, and Dinar, son of Muhammad Iqbal, a resident of Mashke, were forcibly disappeared from Karachi.
On July 23, another youth, Rashid Baloch, was forcibly abducted from Tump and transferred to an unknown location.
According to another case that came to light on July 24, Faqir Muhammad son of Naseer Ahmed was abducted after being picked up by the security forces on his way from Nasirabad in his Zamyad vehicle. The family sources said that three months had passed by yet there was no news about him.
During a raid in Islamabad on the night of July 25, two Baloch students, Jawad Iqbal and Zaid Baloch, residents of Pasni and Turbat, who had been studying in Islamabad, were forcibly disappeared.
Muhammad Azim son of Muhammad Azam was forcibly disappeared by state-sponsored death squads in Awaran.
During an operation, a student Jabbar son of Haji Aslam from Gwadar was forcibly disappeared by security forces.
Mahrang Baloch informed journalists at the press conference that even during the presence of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the Army Chief in Gwadar, a total of 4 persons including Jabbar, Farooq, Altaf and Kambar, were taken into custody and transferred to an unknown location. She demanded that all students who have been picked up should be released at once.
Baloch said that these were the cases that were reported but there were many others that went unreported.
“The increasing number of suicides in Balochistan is also disturbing, but in many cases local death squads force them to do so through pressure and blackmail,” she said. She added that through the press conference, the Baloch Solidarity Committee wanted to draw the attention of the media towards these incidents of ongoing human rights violations and demand the government and related institutions that a peaceful solution to the problems Balochistan is facing must be found.