Pakistan: Upsurge in Killings in Balochistan – HRW July 13, 2011

Hold Military, Paramilitary Troops Accountable for Abuses 

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(New York) – Pakistan’s government should immediately act to end the epidemic of killings of suspected Baloch militants and opposition activists by the military, intelligence agencies, and the paramilitary Frontier Corps in the southwestern province of Balochistan, Human Rights Watch said today. 

Across Balochistan since January 2011, at least 150 people have been abducted and killed and their bodies abandoned – acts widely referred to as “kill and dump” operations, in which Pakistani security forces engaged in counterinsurgency operations may be responsible. Assailants have also carried out targeted killings of opposition leaders and activists. Human Rights Watch has extensively documented enforced disappearances by Pakistan’s security forces in Balochistan, including several cases in which those “disappeared” have been found dead. (See appendix.)

“The surge in unlawful killings of suspected militants and opposition figures in Balochistan has taken the brutality in the province to an unprecedented level,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should investigate all those responsible, especially in the military and Frontier Corps, and hold them accountable.”

In the first 10 days of July, nine bullet-riddled bodies, several of them bearing marks of torture, were discovered in the province, Human Rights Watch said. On July 1, the body of Abdul Ghaffar Lango, a prominent Baloch nationalist activist, was found in an abandoned hotel in the town of Gadani, in the Lasbela district. The local police told the media that, “The body bore multiple marks of brutal torture.” Lango had been abducted by men in civilian clothes in Karachi, in Sindh province, on December 11, 2009. When Lango’s relatives tried to lodge a complaint about his abduction, the police refused to take it. An officer told the family that Lango had been detained because he was a BNP leader and that the “authorities” wanted to restrain him from participating in politics.

Hanif Baloch, an activist with the Baloch Students Organisation (Azad), was abducted from the town of Hub, Lasbela district, on July 4. His body was found in Mach, Bolan district on July 6, with three bullet wounds to his upper body. On the same day in Kech district, the bodies of Azam Mehrab, a resident of Tump, and Rahim, a resident of Mand, were found dumped in Juzak, on the outskirts of the town of Turbat. Both had been shot dead under unknown circumstances.

While Baloch nationalist leaders and activists have long been targeted by the Pakistani security forces, since the beginning of 2011, human rights activists and academics critical of the military have also been killed, Human Rights Watch said. Siddique Eido, a coordinator for the highly regarded nongovernmental organization Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), was abducted with another man by men in security forces uniforms on December 21, 2010 from the town of Pasni in Gwadar district.

The bodies of both men, bearing marks of torture, were found in Ormara, Gwadar district, on April 28. HRCP said that “the degree of official inaction and callousness” in response to Eido’s death amounted to “collusion” in his killing. Earlier, on March 1, an HRCP coordinator for the city of Khuzdar, Naeem Sabir district, was shot and killed by unknown assailants.

On June 1, Saba Dashtiyari, a professor at the University of Balochistan and an acclaimed Baloch writer and poet, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the provincial capital, Quetta. Dashtiyari had publicly backed the cause of an independent Balochistan.

“Even the cold-blooded killing of human rights defenders and academics has not moved the Pakistani government to seriously investigate, rein in, or hold the security forces to account in Balochistan,” Adams said. “The government’s failure to open a credible investigation into the killing of someone as prominent as Saba Dashtiyari only adds fuel to the fire of anger and suspicion in the province.”

Armed militant groups in Balochistan are responsible for killing many civilians and destroying private property. In the past several years, they have increasingly targeted non-Baloch civilians and their businesses, police stations, and major gas installations and infrastructure. They have also attacked security forces and military bases throughout the province. Abuses by militants in Balochistan were documented by Human Rights Watch in a December 2010 report “Their Future is at Stake.

Human Rights Watch called upon the Pakistan government to take immediate measures to end killings in Balochistan. The Pakistani authorities should conduct prompt, impartial, and transparent investigations into alleged extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances and ensure that all those responsible, regardless of rank, are fully prosecuted, including as a matter of command responsibility. Victims of abuses by government security forces should be provided appropriate redress.

“President Asif Ali Zardari should recognize that ignoring abuses in Balochistan amounts to giving a green light to the army and intelligence agencies to commit abuses elsewhere in Pakistan,” Adams said. “By failing to hold the security forces accountable for abuses in Balochistan, Pakistan’s government will feed into a cycle of violence that may haunt Pakistani democracy for years to come.”

Background on Balochistan and Human Rights Abuses

Balochistan has historically had a tense relationship with Pakistan’s national government, in large part due to issues of provincial autonomy, control of mineral resources and exploration, and a consequent sense of deprivation. Under Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s military ruler from 1999 until 2008, the situation deteriorated markedly, culminating in a crackdown on Baloch nationalists by the security agencies controlled by the Pakistani military and its lead intelligence agency in the province, Military Intelligence (MI).

Since 2005, Pakistani and international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, have recorded numerous serious human rights violations by security forces, including extrajudicial executions, torture, enforced disappearances, and forced displacement of civilians.

Militancy in Balochistan has been fuelled by ethnic Baloch anger over the Pakistani government’s moves to harness local mineral and fossil fuel resources, maintain large numbers of troops in the province, and construct the Gwadar deep-sea port at the mouth of the Persian Gulf with non-Baloch workers. The Pakistani military claims that Baloch militants receive arms and financial support from India but has provided no evidence to support the claim.

In December 2009, Pakistan’s newly elected civilian government, in an effort to bring about political reconciliation in the province, passed a package of constitutional, political, administrative, and economic reforms. Nonetheless, doubts persist within Baloch society about the Pakistan government’s intentions. Divisions among Baloch nationalists have exacerbated lawlessness and violence in the province.

As the violence in Balochistan has intensified, atrocities have mounted. While the Pakistani military and Baloch militants readily exploit the misery of civilians for their own political purposes, they have failed to address these grievances or to accept responsibility for them.

Recent Extrajudicial Killings in Balochistan 

Human Rights Watch has investigated cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in Balochistan. Below are recent cases of killings that indicate involvement by the Pakistani military, its intelligence agencies, or the paramilitary Frontier Corps. There has been a notable failure by the federal government in Islamabad and the Balochistan provincial government in Quetta to investigate these cases and hold perpetrators accountable.

Enforced disappearance and killing of Abdul Ghaffar Lango

On December 11, 2009, a group of unknown men abducted Abdul Ghaffar Lango, a prominent Baloch nationalist activist, outside a hospital in Karachi in Sindh province.

At 3 p.m. that day, Lango was leaving the Institute of Surgery and Medicine, a hospital in Karachi, with his wife, who had just been discharged after surgery. Lango’s wife told Human Rights Watch that as the couple reached the main gate, two white Toyota Vigo pickup trucks drove up at high speed in front of them and suddenly stopped. About 10 men in civilian clothes approached the couple. One beat Lango unconscious with the butt of his rifle, and Lango fell to the ground. The men then dragged him into one of the cars and drove away. Lango’s wife said there were many witnesses to the incident since it took place in a crowded area in broad daylight.

Later that day, Lango’s relatives tried to lodge a complaint about his abduction at the Garden police station in Karachi, but the police refused to accept it. A police officer at the station told the family that Lango had been detained because he was a BNP leader and authorities wanted to restrain him from participating in politics. But the police would not provide any information on his whereabouts.

The family filed a petition with the Sindh High Court on January 12, 2010. On January 15, the court ordered the deputy attorney general and advocate general of Sindh to submit a report on Lango’s whereabouts within two weeks. On March 3, Sindh Deputy Attorney General Umer Hayat Sindhu told the court on behalf of the director general of the Intelligence Bureau that Lango had not been detained or arrested by the Intelligence Bureau, which, he explained, was “only an intelligence agency that does not detain anyone for interrogation.” Police representatives also told the court that Lango was not in their custody. No other security or intelligence authorities reported on Lango’s whereabouts.

On July 1, 2011, Lango’s body was found in an abandoned hotel near the Lakbado area of the town of Gadani, in Lasbela district of Balochistan. The local police, represented by the station house officer of the Gadani police station, told the local media: “The body bore multiple marks of brutal torture. The cause of death was stated to be a severe wound in the head, caused by a hard rod or some other hard or sharp object.” Lango appeared to have been recently killed.

Enforced Disappearance and Killing of Siddique Eido and Yusuf Nazar

Siddique Eido, a coordinator for the highly regarded nongovernmental organization Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), and Yousaf Nazar, a tailor by profession, were abducted by men in security forces uniforms on December 21, 2010 from the town of Pasni in Gwadar district. Eido and Nazar were returning from Gwadar to their native Pasni after appearing in court in a criminal case lodged against them. Seven other co-accused and four police officers were travelling with them when their van was stopped by three unlicensed vehicles. The assailants, who were in Frontier Corps uniforms, abducted Eido and Nazar at gunpoint in the presence of the police officers. The bodies of both men were found in Ormara, Gwadar district, on April 28, 2011. Both bore marks of torture.

In response to the killings and the authorities’ failure to seriously investigate the case, HRCP said: “The uniforms of the abductors and the vehicles they had used gave credence to the belief that state agents were involved. Siddique had been abducted in the presence of several policemen, but despite such clear evidence no action was taken to publicly identify abductors or secure release.” HRCP added that “the degree of official inaction and callousness” amounted to “collusion” in Eido’s killing.

Enforced Disappearance and Killing of Naseer Kamalan

Naseer Kamalan was abducted at gunpoint on November 5, 2010 from a passenger van on the Makran Coastal Highway near Pasni in Gwadar district. Kamalan’s fellow passengers told Human Rights Watch that his abductors were in Frontier Corps uniforms and were driving a jeep of the type commonly used by the Frontier Corps. Kamalan’s body was found on January 17, 2011, dumped on the Makran Coastal Highway.

Enforced Disappearance and Killing of Jamil Yaqub

Jamil Yaqub was abducted in the town of Turbat on August 28, 2010 by a group of men in Frontier Corps uniforms, who had arrived in a jeep with military markings and insignia. Family members described to Human Rights Watch how they hid from the Frontier Corps personnel and then watched helplessly as Yaqub was abducted during daylight hours. Yaqub’s body, bearing marks of torture, was found on February 10, 2011, on the outskirts of Turbat.

Other Killings Verified by Human Rights Watch

According to eyewitnesses, Hanif Baloch, a Baloch Students Organisation (Azad) (BSO-Azad) activist, was abducted from the town of Hub on July 4, 2011, by armed men in military uniform. His body was found on July 6, with three bullet wounds to his upper body.

On July 6, two bodies bearing multiple bullet wounds were found dumped near Juzak on the outskirts of Turbat in Kech district. Turbat District Headquarters Hospital authorities identified them as Azam Mehrab, a resident of Tump, and Rahim, son of Muhammad Yousaf, a resident of Go Kurth area of Mand, in Panjgoor district.

On June 18, the BSO-Azad junior joint secretary, Shafi Baloch, was abducted from the Lakhpass area of Mastung district. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that Baloch was going to Mastung from Quetta in a passenger van for medical treatment when uniformed, armed men in three cars made him disembark and abducted him at gunpoint. His bullet-riddled body was found dumped near Mach, in Bolan district, 60 kilometers from Quetta.

On June 1, Prof. Saba Dashtiyari, a professor at the University of Balochistan in Quetta and an acclaimed writer and poet, was killed after being shot repeatedly by unidentified gunmen on Sariab Road in Quetta. Dashtiyari was the author of several books on Baloch culture and language and was a scholar on Islam. In recent years, he had publicly backed the cause for an armed struggle to achieve an independent Balochistan. No one has claimed responsibility for Dashtiyari’s killing.

Source: Human Rights Watch

Pakistan urged to investigate murder and torture of Baloch activists

26 October 2010: The Pakistani government must investigate the torture and killings of more than 40 Baloch leaders and political activists over the past four months, Amnesty International said today. Activists, politicians and student leaders are among those who have been targeted in enforced disappearances, abductions, arbitrary arrests and cases of torture and other ill-treatment. The violence takes place against a backdrop of increasing political unrest and Pakistan army operations in Balochistan, south western Pakistan.“The Pakistani government must act immediately to provide justice for the growing list of atrocities in Balochistan,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

“Baloch political leaders and activists are clearly being targeted and the government must do much more to end this alarming trend.”Among the latest victims of the ongoing violence are Faqir Mohammad Baloch and Zahoor Baloch, whose bodies were discovered in the district of Mastung on 21 October 2010. Faqir Mohammad Baloch, a poet and member of the Voice of Missing Baloch Missing Persons, was abducted on 23 September.Zahoor Baloch, a member of the Baloch Student Organization-Azad was abducted on 23 August. According to media reports, both received a single bullet wound to the head at point blank range and showed signs of being tortured. The discovery of the two men’s bodies is part of a growing trend of “kill and dump” operations. Bullet-ridden bodies of those who have been abducted, many showing signs of torture, are increasingly being found across Balochistan. Previously, the bodies of missing persons were rarely recovered.Other recent victims of the violence include Mir Nooruddin Mengal, a member of the Balochistan National Party’s (BNP-M) Central Executive Committee was shot dead by unidentified men near his home in Gharebabad, near Kalat Bazar on 13 October. Yasin Baloch, a member of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons and brother of Mujeeb Baloch, senior member of BSO-Azad, who had also been abducted, was shot by unidentified gunmen near Roshare Kalat on 10 October.

The victims’ relatives and activists often accuse the Pakistani security forces and intelligence agencies of carrying out these violations. A previously unknown organization, Sipah-e Shuhada-e Balochistan, has also claimed responsibility for some of the killings.“The Pakistan government’s ongoing failure to prevent abuses has emboldened the perpetrators behind these atrocities,” said Sam Zarifi.“The Pakistani government must show that it can and will investigate the Pakistani military and Frontier Corps, as well as intelligence agencies, who are widely accused of playing a role in these incidents.”Amnesty International warned that the rise in enforced disappearances and kill and dump incidents has aggravated political tensions in Baluchistan and led to reprisal killings by Baloch armed groups. On 14 August 2010, 17 people from Punjab province were killed in Quetta.

The Balochistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility, saying that the killings were in response to the killings of Baloch missing persons.Amnesty International urges all sides in the conflict to respect human rights and stop all torture, enforced disappearances, abductions, targeted killings and indiscriminate attacks.In November 2009, the Pakistani government announced a package of proposed policy and legislation reforms for Balochistan, and promised to resolve the cases of enforced disappearances, but it has so far failed to do so.Other prominent killings of Baloch activists since July include:On 11 July, Maula Baksh Dashti, a key figure in the Balochistan National Party and a former district Nazim (Chief Official) of Kech (Turbat) District was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in his native district.On 14 July, former Senator Habib Jalib Baloch, Secretary General of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) was assassinated in the Parkaniabad area of Quetta, by three gunmen on a motorbike. He received seven bullets in the neck and chest and had been receiving threats.On 20 July, a leading member of the BNP-M, Liaqat Mengal, was shot dead on by three gunmen on a motorbike near his house in the Kalat district of Balochistan. 

On 26 July, the bullet riddled bodies of two cousins, student Ashfaq Ahmed Mullahzai and Muhmmad Farooq Mengal, were recovered in Quetta, in the Kili Qambrani area.  Their relatives claim they had been abducted in May 2010.On 6 September, the body of Baloch lawyer Zaman Marri was found in Mastung.  He had received a single bullet to his forehead and his body showed torture marks. The lawyer was reportedly abducted by intelligence agents near his place of  work in Quetta on 18 August.On 23 September, the bullet riddled body of missing Baloch lawyer Ali Sher Kurd was found in Khuzdar district.  Kurd was reportedly abducted by Pakistani intelligent agents three days before.  His neck was broken and he showed marks of torture.Balochistan has a history of insurgency with local groups advocating greater autonomy. Four waves of violent unrest took place in 1948, 1958-59, 1962-63 and 1973-77.

Local people in Balochistan are demanding a bigger share of the revenue generated by the province’s natural resources, principally natural gas, which they believe now disproportionately benefit other provinces.Some Baloch groups have resorted to violence, while others are campaigning peacefully. The Pakistani national government has attempted to suppress this opposition by increasing the military presence in the region.Many people have died at the hands of the security forces in extrajudicial executions and deaths in custody, and thousands of people are reported to have been subjected to enforced disappearance. The confrontation between Baloch nationalists and the state is characterised by human rights abuses committed by all sides.

Courtesy: Amnesty International

Pakistan: Security Forces ‘Disappear’ Opponents in Balochistan – HRW REPORT July 28, 2011

Government Fails to Confront Military, Intelligence Agencies on Abuses

(New York) – Pakistan’s government should immediately end widespread disappearances of suspected militants and activists by the military, intelligence agencies, and the paramilitary Frontier Corps in the southwestern province of Balochistan, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Several of those “disappeared” were among the dozens of people extrajudicially executed in recent months in the resource-rich and violence-wracked province.

The 132-page report, “‘We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years’: Enforced Disappearances by Pakistan Security Forces in Balochistan,” documents dozens of enforced disappearances,in which the authorities take people into custody and then deny all responsibility or knowledge of their fate or whereabouts. The report details 45 alleged cases of enforced disappearances, the majority in 2009 and 2010. While hundreds of people have been forcibly disappeared in Balochistan since 2005, dozens of new enforced disappearances have occurred since Pakistan returned to civilian rule in 2008.

“Pakistan’s security forces are engaging in an abusive free-for-all in Balochistan as Baloch nationalists and suspected militants ‘disappear,’ and in many cases are executed,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The national government has done little to end the carnage in Balochistan, calling into question its willingness or ability to control the military and intelligence agencies.”

The report is based on over 100 interviews by Human Rights Watch in Balochistan in 2010 and 2011 with family members of “disappeared” people, former detainees, local human rights activists, lawyers, and witnesses to government abductions.

Human Rights Watch investigated several cases in which uniformed personnel of the Frontier Corps, an Interior Ministry paramilitary force, and the police were involved in abducting Baloch nationalists and suspected militants. In others cases, witnesses typically referred to abductors as being from “the agencies,” a term commonly used to describe the intelligence agencies, including the military Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intellilgence, and the civilian Intelligence Bureau.

In all the cases Human Rights Watch documented, the security forces never identified themselves, nor explained the basis for the arrest or where they were taking the person. In many cases, the person being arrested was beaten and dragged handcuffed and blindfolded into the security forces’ vehicles. Withoutexception in the cases Human Rights Watch investigated, released detainees and relatives able to obtain information reported torture and ill-treatment of detainees. Methods of torture included beatings, often with sticks or leather belts, hanging detainees upside down, and prolonged food and sleep deprivation.

In some cases relatives told Human Rights Watch that senior government officials, including the Balochistan chief minister, Nawab Aslam Raisani, had freely admitted that intelligence personnel were responsible for the disappearance but expressed an inability to hold the abductors accountable.

Those targeted for enforced disappearance were primarily Baloch nationalist activists or suspected Baloch militants.In several cases, people appeared to have been targeted because of their tribal affiliation, especially when a particular tribe, such as the Bugti or Mengal, was involved in fighting Pakistan’s armed forces.

Little information is available about what happens to people who are forcibly disappeared. Some have been held in unacknowledged detention in facilities run by the Frontier Corps and the intelligence agencies, such as at the Kuli camp, a military base in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan.

“Pakistani security services are brazenly disappearing, torturing, and often killing people because of suspected ties to the Baloch nationalist movement,” Adams said. “This is not counterinsurgency – it is barbarism and it needs to end now.”

The number of enforced disappearances by Pakistan’s security forces in recent years remains unknown, Human Rights Watch said. Figures provided by senior officials are grossly inconsistent, and these officials have provided no explanation about how they were reached. In 2008, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said there had been at least 1,100 victims of these disappearances in Balochistan.In January 2011, Balochistan’s home minister, Mir Zafrullah Zehri, told provincial legislators that only 55 people were considered missing.

There is increasing evidence to suggest that many of the “disappeared” have been extrajudicially executed while in government custody. Human Rights Watch has recently reported on the killing of at least 150 people across Balochistan since January in acts widely referred to as “kill and dump” operations for which Pakistani security forces may be responsible. Assailants have also carried out targeted killings of opposition leaders and activists. Human Rights Watch reiterated its call to the Pakistan government to end these abuses immediately.

Armed militant groups in Balochistan are responsible for killing many civilians and destroying private property. In the past several years, they have increasingly targeted non-Baloch civilians and their businesses, police stations, and major gas installations and infrastructure. They have also attacked security forces and military bases throughout the province. Human Rights Watch documents abuses by Balochistan militants in a December 2010 report, “Their Future is at Stake.

Under international law, enforced disappearances are considered a continuing offense, one that is ongoing so long as the state conceals the fate or the whereabouts of the victim.

“President Asif Ali Zardari should realize that the disturbing reality of wanton and widespread abuse in Balochistan cannot be wished away,” Adams said. “All Pakistanis will pay the price if the government fails to protect Balochistan’s population from heinous abuses at the hands of the Pakistani military.”

Background
Balochistan has historically had a tense relationship with Pakistan’s government, in large part due to issues of provincial autonomy, control of mineral resources and exploration, and a consequent sense of deprivation. During the rule of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, from 1999 to 2008, the situation deteriorated markedly. Two assassination attempts on Musharraf, in 2005 and 2006 during visits to Balochistan, resulted in a crackdown on Baloch nationalists by the armed forces and Military Intelligence, the military’s lead intelligence agency in the province. The recent surge in killings and ongoing enforced disappearances can be traced to the 2006 assassination of the prominent Baloch tribal leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and 35 of his close followers, and the murders of three well known Baloch politicians in April 2009 by assailants believed to be linked to the Pakistan military.

Since 2005, Pakistani and international human rights organizations have recorded numerous serious human rights violations by security forces, including extrajudicial executions, torture, enforced disappearances, forced displacement, and excessive use of force against protesters.

Cases From “‘We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years’”: Enforced Disappearances by Pakistan Security Forces in Balochistan:

Account of “Rahim” (not his real name), who was held in acknowledged custody until his release:

First, they bound my arms behind my back, and then they threw me on the ground face down and someone sat on my back. Whenever they asked me a question, the interrogators pulled my head back by grabbing my hair and kept asking, “Who are you? Why have you come here to Quetta?”

I explained that I was a farmer in Awaran [district of Balochistan], and they also asked about my family, and about Dr. Naseem and Ilyas [Baloch nationalist activists]. When I told them that they were my friends, they screamed, “You are lying to us! Dr. Naseem is a separatist. Tell us what Naseem is doing. Why is he involved in separatism?”

They beat me all over my body and on the soles of my feet with their fists and feet. They hit me for around one to two hours continuously in the morning, then again in the evening. At night they would not let me sleep or lie down, I was forced to stand. If I started to fall asleep they would hit me on the back and shoulders to keep me awake.

Enforced Disappearance of Din Mohammad Baloch
On June 29, 2009, Din Mohammad Baloch, age 40, a physician, was on a night shift at a small medical clinic in the Ornach area of Khuzdar district.

A staff member, “Bukhtiar” (not his real name), was also in the clinic. He told Baloch’s family that at around 2:30 a.m. seven men entered the clinic. A few of them tied Bukhtiar up and locked him in a room, while the others went into Baloch’s office. It was dark, Bukhtiar said, and he could not see the men clearly or determine whether they were wearing uniforms. Bukhtiar said he could hear loud noises that sounded like a scuffle between Baloch and the men, and then he heard the men dragging Baloch out.

When Bukhtiar finally freed himself around 30 minutes later, he informed Baloch’s family. The family went to the local police station, but the police refused to lodge a criminal complaint, known as a First Information Report (FIR), offering no explanation. Two days later the police lodged the report, based on an interview with Bukhtiar. It said Baloch was taken by unknown men.

Several months later, local newspapers reported that the Frontier Corps had arrested Baloch and two others in connection with an armed attack on the Frontier Corps on August 14, 2009, nearly two months after Baloch was abducted. Baloch’s brother spoke to the author of the article, who told him that the information came from the Special Branch of the Police, the intelligence arm of the Balochistan Police Service. However, government authorities have not officially confirmed that Baloch is in Frontiers Corps custody or specified the charges against him.

Baloch’s family told Human Rights Watch they believed Baloch had been abducted by intelligence agencies because he was a senior member of the Baloch National Movement. Baloch’s brother said that he had met with the chief minister of Balochistan, Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani, on July 15 and in August 2009. On the latter occasion the chief minister told him that Baloch was in the custody of the intelligence agencies, but did not specify which one. Human Rights Watch wrote to Chief Minister Raisani seeking confirmation that he had made these allegations, but received no response.

A lawyer acting on behalf of Baloch’s family filed a petition regarding Baloch’s “disappearance” with the Balochistan High Court on July 4, 2009. On May 27, 2010, the court ordered police to locate him, with the presiding judge saying that they should “do everything” needed to find him. But the court has had no further hearings in the case.

The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, a local Baloch nongovernmental organization, filed a separate petition on Baloch’s disappearance with the Pakistan Supreme Court. In June 2010, the Supreme Court told Baloch’s lawyers that the ISI had reported to the court that Baloch was not in their custody but was being held by the chief of the Mangal tribe. However, the ISI did not provide any further details about these claims to the court, and the court did not share their submissions with Baloch’s lawyers.

The family has not been able to obtain any further information about Baloch’s fate or whereabouts.

Enforced Disappearance of Mir Abdul Waheed Resani Baloch
Over the last 15 years, Pakistani security forces have detained Mir Abdul Waheed Resani Baloch, 45, a senior member of the Balochistan Republican Party (BRP) central committee, numerous times. He was held in Frontier Corps jails in Mastung and in Quetta.

On January 2, 2010, a court in Khozdar ordered Baloch released after a 10-month detention in Khozdar central jail. However, within minutes of his release, the police picked him up again in the street in front of multiple witnesses. The police took him to Mastung police station, where he tried to speak to the news media.

A relative of Baloch told Human Rights Watch that a senior police officer interrupted Baloch, announced that he would like to “talk to Baloch in private,” and took him to another room. The relative told Human Rights Watch:

We waited for about 10 minutes and then asked about him. The officer came back and said, “Sorry, we had to transfer him somewhere and we cannot tell you where, so you should all leave.” We waited for about six hours, and then left. The same day, officers from the [police] anti-terrorist unit came to our house, claiming they were looking for him. They pretended he had escaped from custody. Of course, they knew he was not there, and instead of looking for him they just looted our house, taking away money, jewelry, mobile phones, and expensive clothes.

On January 4, Baloch’s relatives went to the police, who denied having any knowledge of his whereabouts. They accepted an FIR, which simply said that Baloch was “missing.” Three days later the family filed a petition with the Balochistan High Court. The court sent inquiries to the chief minister, home minister, and inspector-general of the police. Their representatives, who appeared in court, denied having any knowledge of Baloch’s whereabouts and claimed they were looking for him.

Baloch’s relatives said that after his forced disappearance, Chief Minister Aslam Raisani temporarily suspended the district police officers (DPOs) for Mastung and Much because the Mastung DPO allegedly had handed Baloch over to the Much DPO. A month later, however, both officers were reinstated.

Baloch’s fate and whereabouts remain unknown.

Enforced Disappearances of Mazhar Khan and Abdul Rasool
At around 10 p.m. on December 19, 2009, a group of armed men abducted Mazar Khan, 21, and Abdul Rasool, 26, from Khan’s house near Kili Station in Noshki district.

A witness to the abduction told Human Rights Watch that seven men in civilian clothes, their faces covered with scarves, broke down the gate to Khan’s house and burst in, firing their pistols in the air. The witness said Rasool resisted and one of the men hit him on the temple with his pistol butt, but Khan did not resist. The assailants tied the men’s wrists and ankles and blindfolded them. Then they dragged the victims outside, put them into one of their three pickup trucks, and drove away.

The next day, relatives of Khan and Rasool reported the abductions to police at Kili Station.

“The police said they cannot do anything about kidnappings,” one of Khan’s relatives told Human Rights Watch.

In mid-February 2010, Rasool was released by his captors. He told Human Rights Watch about his ordeal:

On the day of the abduction, after travelling for 15 to 20 minutes by car, it stopped and I was dragged outside and into a room. I don’t remember anything about the building I was in because I was still blindfolded. But after whoever brought me in had left, I removed my blindfold and saw that I was alone in a small, dark room. I had no idea where Mazhar was.

Rasool said that soon after he had been brought in, some men entered the room and asked him if he was involved in Baloch political activities. They kept him in this room for a month and 25 days, and then moved him to another location, a three-hour drive away. They kept him there for another five days. Then at night the captors put Rasool into a vehicle, blindfolded and handcuffed. They drove for a few hours. His captors stopped the car, removed Rasool, still blindfolded and handcuffed, and told him he was being released on Chaman Road on the outskirts of Quetta and then drove off.

Fearful of being abducted again, Rasool did not approach government authorities about his disappearance. But Khan’s family filed an application for a first report with police in Noshki on February 17, 2010. Although the police registered the FIR, it only stated that Khan was a missing person and made no mention of the circumstances of his abduction. On February 21, relatives of both men filed a statement about the abductions with the Balochistan High Court. The next day, relatives of Khan and Rasool met representatives of the Balochistan Home and Tribal Affairs Ministry, who said they would record Khan’s abduction but could do nothing to investigate it.

In March 2010, the Balochistan High Court accepted a habeas corpus petition asking the federal Ministries of Defense and Interior, the Balochistan provincial government, Military Intelligence, the ISI, and the Kili police station to provide information on charges brought against Khan and Rasool. The high court has since held five hearings but only police representatives have ever appeared before it. They have denied having any knowledge of the abductions.

Khan’s whereabouts remain unknown.