The Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) will be hosting a webinar on Saturday 24 April 2021 at 5 pm UK Time to discuss the human rights situation in Western Balochistan and the various humanitarian challenges facing its people by the Iranian authorities.
The webinar will bring together a panel of Baloch intellectuals and human rights defenders to shed light on the socio-economic deprivation of the Baloch people in Iran including the extra-judicial killings and the summary executions of the Baloch by the Islamic regime of Ayatollahs.
Further details about the webinar will be published at a later date.
Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) is organizing a webinar entitled, “BALOCHISTAN IN CRISIS: ASPECTS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY PAKISTAN” on 17th April 2021 at 5 pm UK Time.
Scholars, Sindhi and Baloch human rights activists, and journalists will deliberate on various aspects of crimes against humanity being committed by the state authorities in Balochistan including enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, curbs on freedom of information, and activities of death squads.
The principle of humanitarian intervention is based on the notion of protecting people from being harmed. The actions of a consistent case of human rights violations by a state would transfer the duty of the protection to the broader community, which is to the international community. Many actions of the religious fundamentalist state of Pakistan during the last few decades are in clear violation of international laws concerning the protection of citizens.
This is a brief analysis of the concept of international intervention and how it relates to the continuous and blatant violations of the fundamental human rights of the Baloch and Sindhi people.
The term humanitarian intervention has a broad meaning which contains a wide range of actions taken by state or states to protect people from violence or improve their conditions of wellbeing across the state borders. In other words, it is actions carried out by the international community to protect the political, social, and economic rights of the individuals. The universal human rights principles state that this is the duty of all states to promote and protect human rights regardless of their political and economic issues, meaning if a state is unable to protect or guarantee the rights of its people then there’s an international community that has to make sure that people have access to a just system.
From a practical point of view, the humanitarian intervention may also take place through peaceful means if the country of particular concern would give in under the international pressure and allow the international observers and peacekeeping forces into the country. The peaceful method of UN operations is designed to ease the tension, monitor the situation, and provide an environment for negotiation. The UN missions can be deployed on the request or with the consent of the state in conflict or without consent or request.
The Genocide Convention and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948, guaranteed the protection of people and individuals across the world. The declaration provided a collective and international response to the rights of individuals, and it was asserted that human rights would have primacy over the sovereignty of the state. For the first time in history, states came under the direct scrutiny of the international community and the non-governmental organizations about their domestic conduct.
States are considered equal members of the international community and enjoy equal rights to maintain their various affairs. They also have equal duties for the entire community of nations and are expected to guarantee human rights and dignity. The obligation of a state regarding the rights of its citizens considered to be the part of its statehood and sovereignty. The sovereignty of a state is not holy per se; it is the people who make a state respectful. The sovereignty of a state is important so the rights of its people as the people are the source of the legitimacy of the state.
After the formation of the United Nations, there were two waves of international interventions occurring during the Cold War and in the post-Cold War era. In 1960-1964, Belgium and the United States intervened in Congo after violence broke out in the country which was followed by US interventions in the Dominican Republic in 1965, Grenada in 1983, and Panama in 1989. France and Belgium intervened in Zaire in 1978 and in the same year Vietnam intervened in Cambodia. France has intervened in the Central African Republic seven times since its independence in 1960. Alongside the above interventions, there was one of the most significant humanitarian interventions that took place in South Asia in 1971. The systematic genocide committed by the Pakistan army in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) prompted Indians to act and the Indian army intervened preventing the further slaughter of Bengalis. The second wave of interventions came after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, which was more collective in terms of international norms and organization.
Liberia was an example of a long-drawn intervention by the international community beginning in 1990. In 1991 the United States, France, and the United Kingdom established a no-fly zone in northern Iraq to protect the Kurds from being massacred by the Iraqi army. The United States and the United Nations also became the part of international humanitarian efforts in Somalia in 1992, Rwanda in 1993, Haiti in 1994, and Sierra Leone in 1999. The intervention of the international community ended the bloody conflict in Yugoslavia resulting in the creation of many independent states. In 2011, a multi-state NATO-led intervention in Libya brought down the brutal regime of Colonel Gaddafi. Besides these humanitarian interventions, the United Nations played a great part in the independence of Eritrea in 1991, East Timor in 1999, and South Sudan in 2011.
The first and most important role of a state is to protect its citizens from being harmed and the second is to provide them justice according to the laws of the state and the rules of the international legal orders. But in Pakistan, things are very different, perhaps because Pakistan is not a normal country. Let alone protecting or providing the means of justice, Pakistan has been causing injuries and slaughtering its citizens. The only reason for that is that they dare to demand their democratic and national rights. On the other hand, the Islamic extremists, Taliban, and other outlaws enjoy the freedom of activity. They are allowed to incite and carry out violent acts against liberal politicians, human rights activists, and the minorities groups. The army considered them the part of the sacred security forces of the Allah-given state. These Jihadi groups are declared strategic assets of the state. Many of the jihadi organizations patronized by the army are believed to be harbouring international terrorists who have carried out many acts of terrorism in countries including France, the United States, the United Kingdom, and India. The Allah given country has become a haven for terrorists. It became hell for those who are raising voices for their national rights or opposing the exploitation of their natural resources. It became the worst place on this planet earth for the human rights campaigners and religious minorities.
The army and its proxy jihadi organizations have unleashed a reign of terror throughout Balochistan and Sindh. Numerous death squads were created by intelligence agencies. They are assisting the military authorities in the dirty work of dumping the bodies of political activists in remote areas of Balochistan. The armed forces have been using heavy artillery and helicopter gunships against the Baloch people. These indiscriminate attacks on civilian settlements have caused heavy civilian casualties including women and children in many parts of Balochistan. In some cases, the entire town and villages were burned down by the army, making thousands of internally displaced persons. Thousands were lucky enough to flee the country and are now in various parts of the world away from their land and loved ones. Thousands of people have been missing for years and their fate is still unknown. There is strong evidence that the continued forced disappearances and the “kill and dump” policy of Pakistan has reached to a systematic genocide of the Baloch nation. These heinous crimes against humanity have been widely reported by many national and international organizations including, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Amnesty International, and the Human Rights Watch.
In recent years, Sindh is witnessing new waves of enforced disappearances and kill and dump activities. Hundreds are verifiably missing for months and years. The surge in the kill and dump activities in Sindh is a replication of the army’s adopted strategy in Balochistan. Dumping of the tortured and mutilated bodies of Sindhi political activists and intellectuals has become a daily occurrence. The forced conversion of the Hindu minority population into Islam is a shameful reminder of the medieval ages where people were forced to abandon their ancestral faith with the use of force.
The actions of the Pakistani state are blatant violations of fundamental human rights enshrined in the UN charter and various conventions. Pakistan is among the worse human rights violators in modern history and equally responsible for sponsoring Jihadists in various countries. The behaviour of the religious state is leading a disastrous situation which might be a great threat to the world’s peace and security.
The Baloch and Sindhis are facing a grave humanitarian crisis. They are facing some of the worse subjugation, persecution, and genocide measures in recent history. They are seeking international intervention in the face of genocide actions of the religious state of Pakistan. When a state refuses to accept the internationally recognized human rights values or fails to protect the basic human rights of its citizens or a state descending into a civil war and unable to protect people from violence, it becomes the responsibility of the civilized world to intervene. The humanitarian intervention is a form of collective reaction of the international community against the violation of its core principle. The concept of a humanitarian intervention lies in the moral and legal responsibility of the international community, and the international legal system must not be hijacked by the bureaucratic rules and regulations in a situation where human lives are at stake. Searching for a flawless international legal approach would give us thousands of more Sindhi and Baloch dead bodies and catastrophic human suffering for millions of people in Sindh and Balochistan.
Qambar Malik, the information-secretary of the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) delivered a statement on the deteriorating human rights situation in Balochistan during the Item-4 General Debate of the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“Balochistan is suffering a severe humanitarian crisis, having been in the throes of a ruthless genocidal conflict for the past two decades”, Qambar told the UN.
The BHRC representative emphasized that the Pakistani army’s sponsored death squads are roaming with impunity. A large number of Baloch youth has been the victim of forcible disappearances and extrajudicial killings. Thousands of them have fled to different countries in recent years.
Commenting on Pakistan military’s crimes against humanity in Balochistan, he further said that the military establishment of Pakistan and its clandestine agencies are kidnapping, torturing, and murdering activists and human rights defenders to counter the Baloch people’s demand to exercise their right to self-determination. The recent killing of a student Hayat Baloch in Turbat testifies to that. He was brutally murdered by the Frontier Corps while his parents were forced to watch his unfortunate fate.
“Considering the gravity of the situation, we request this council to put a resolution in the Council to send a fact-finding mission to Balochistan to investigate the gross violations of human rights and subsequently, make the state military officials accountable for their crimes against humanity in Balochistan”, added Qambar.
The Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) and World Sindhi Congress (WSC) jointly held a seminar entitled, “The call for international intervention in Sindh and Balochistan: legal and humanitarian aspects“ on Thursday 24 September 2020 at Royal Hotel in Geneva.
This seminar overviewed grave violations of human rights, with a special focus on enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings in Sindh and Balochistan by the state establishment of Pakistan.
The participants expressed the view that in all possible measures and accounts the acts of the Pakistani military tantamount to genocide, and crimes against humanity, therefore, calling for an urgent international intervention to ensure the lives and human rights of millions of people. The seminar also discussed the destructive role of CPEC which in the guise of economic prosperity is stealing the mineral and sea resources of Sindh and Balochistan while depriving their people of its benefits.
The speakers in the seminar expressed that Pakistan has continued the dehumanization and genocide of these two nations. They stressed on the need of concerted and meaningful efforts by the United Nations and the international community to uphold their mandate and commitment to human rights by ensuring Pakistan does not operate to the exclusion of international law.
Qambar Malik, the Information Secretary of the BHRC moderated the talk whereas Dr Lakhu Luhana, the General-Secretary of the WSC presided over the seminar.
The General-Secretary of BHRC, Samad Baloch provided a detailed statement on the doctrine of humanitarian intervention and its general application. He emphasized that it is the moral and legal obligation of the international community to intervene in a situation where the state is violating all international laws and regulations regarding the protection and the dignity of citizens. Pakistan has been carrying out the worst of the human rights abuses hardly witnessed in the region yet the champions of human rights have preferred to turn a blind eye to these crimes which raise serious questions on the role of the UN.
Other prominent speakers included Merce Monje of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization who criticised the Chinese led BRI and explained how China with its aggressive expansionist plans is fending on the resources of the various nations of the region. She showed disappointment over the role of Germany which in the hope of economic gains is overlooking the destructive side of the CPEC which goes contrary to Germany’s stand and promises on human rights.
Shaukat Kashmiri of the UKPNP, Dr Syed Sadat of Afghan Unity Front and Baseer Naved, the Executive Director of IHRC slammed Pakistan military’s role in the forcible disappearances and extra-judicial killings of dissents in Sindh, Balochistan, KPK and PoK. They strongly criticized the forced conversion of Sindhi Hindu girls to Islam.
In his remarks, Dr Lukhu Luhana emphasized that the UN and EU should mandate independent and impartial investigations into serious human rights abuses which as a consequence of remaining unchecked for decades have created a serious humanitarian crisis in Balochistan and Sindh. They should have a clear stand on Pakistan’s actions in Sindh and Balochistan.
“These investigations must also produce results and recommend steps to ensure an end to the systematic abuse facing the Baloch and Sindhis”, said Dr Lakhu Luhana.
At the end the seminar unanimously adopted a resolution calling for immediate international intervention in Balochistan and Sindh. The resolution was read by Guhram Baloch, the representative of BHRC in the Netherlands.
Geneva: On 12 March 2020, the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) held a protest demonstration near the Broken Chair in Geneva, Switzerland to highlight the human rights abuses facing the people of Balochistan in Pakistan, and to request the United Nations to act against Pakistan which is violating all the human rights instruments it is a signatory of while quelling the Baloch dissent.
The Secretary-General of the BHRC, Samad Baloch, managed the protest and slammed Pakistan for its inhumane conduct in Balochistan and the region. The protest was joined by human rights defenders from Sindh, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan who like Baloch are also being made subject to extreme suppression by the military establishment of Pakistan in the wake of their struggle for national salvation. Those who spoke at the protest were Jamshaid Amiri, Senge H Sering, Sajjad Raja, Hatim Baloch, Razzak Baloch, Nasir Aziz Khan and Dr Lakhu Luhana.
All the participant extended their support to the Baloch struggle for the right to self-determination and demanded that Pakistan military must be held accountable for its crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and genocide in Balochistan.
Following the protest, a delegation led by Samad Baloch submitted a memorandum entitled – “Balochistan status update on current Human Rights situation” – to the office of the UN High commissioner for Human Rights.
The memorandum as an urgent humanitarian appeal, requested the High Commissioner’s good office to use its mandate to compel Pakistan to end the violations of human rights in Balochistan, and in the light of the prevailing human rights situation in Balochistan, the memorandum further requested her good office;
To establish a fact-finding mission to monitor and the human rights situation in Balochistan and to investigate the cases of enforced disappearances, extra-judicial murders and forcible displacements.
The perpetrators of the heinous crimes against humanity in Balochistan should be brought to justice by initiating cases against them in the international court of justice in The Hague.
Pakistan must be questioned for the violations of the UN conventions and treaties it is a signatory to and for denying the Baloch people their socio-cultural, economic and political rights.
Those who are responsible for grave violation of human rights in Balochistan constituting crimes against humanity and genocide must be held accountable.
While highlighting the atrocities being perpetrated on the Baloch, the BHRC representative Qambar Malik Baloch in his intervention during the general debate on item 3 of the 43rd Session of the UNHRC demanded that the human rights violations in Balochistan must be stopped.
He drew the attention of the council to the human rights violations being perpetrated by the Iranian and Pakistani states against the Baloch people who need urgent attention from the international community.
The BHRC representative asked the council to take notice of thousands of the Baloch political activists whose whereabouts are not known while thousands have been the victim of the kill and dump policy of the Pakistani state. He said that the physical elimination of the Baloch political and human rights activists by Pakistan is to counter the Baloch national struggle for the right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN conventions.
Bringing the attention of the council on the socio-cultural and economic exploitation of the Baloch, he observed that in their assimilation strategies, the Iranian and Pakistani states are denying education in the Balochi language and cherished Baloch cultural values are being degraded by their media. He said that Balochistan is rich but its people are kept poor because of the ruthless exploitation of resources to the advantage of Punjabi and Persian nations. Pointing to the disgusting role of China, he pointed out that now, China is emerging as a new colonial power in Balochistan eyeing the Baloch resources under the CPEC.
He asked the council president that as according to UN conventions, these actions of the Iranian and Pakistani States are genocide acts, appropriate actions should be taken and immediate and meaningful intervention should be initiated to stop the atrocities on the Baloch.
This document summarizes the conclusion of the conference on the Humanitarian challenges in Balochistan held on 11 December 2019 in Berlin by the Human rights organizations working for the protection and promotion of the rights of the people of Balochistan. The organizers of the conference were the Baloch Human Rights Council – BHRC, Baloch Human Rights Organization – BHRO and the Human Rights Council of Balochistan – HRCB
In the face of grave violation of the human rights in Balochistan and the vulnerable situation facing the Baloch as a national entity, the conference discussed various aspects of human rights and humanitarian challenges in Balochistan. The conference speakers highlighted the plight of the people of Balochistan in the face of unchecked and concentrated brutalities being perpetrated against them by the state security forces of Pakistan for the last many decades. The conference affirms and asserts the following:
Expresses extreme concern on the continuing state-supervised human rights violations in Balochistan and noted that the kill and dump policy adopted by the state security agencies in Balochistan for the last two decades, has costs hundreds of precious lives.
Draws the attention of the international community towards the extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances of the Baloch political and social activists by the army and its proxy death squads. Expresses deep concern at the silent complicity of the international community at the grave violations of human rights in Balochistan and demands that international human rights organizations should step up their efforts against the brutalities of the Pakistani military establishment in Balochistan.
Emphasizes further that the Baloch people are facing a situation where not only their personal security is at stakes but also their socio-cultural values, languages, traditional knowledge system, and way of life are suppressed violently and religious extremism is being promoted in Baloch society in order to dilute their demand for the right of self-determination.
Expresses concern over the fact that being one of the richest lands in the world, the people of Balochistan are among the poorest of the poor. This is because of the systematic disenfranchisement of Baloch and ruthless exploitation of their resources by the Pakistani state in the benefit of Punjab under the pretext of various controversial mega-projects including the most recent and much-hyped China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The Baloch as a nation has the inherent and universal right of self-determination as enshrined in international law, including in the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The implementation of the right of self-determination is fundamental for the survival of the Baloch, including their cultural values, languages, religions, economy, and ways of life, land and resources.
The international community must come forward and urge the government of Pakistan to refrain from the use of oppressive measures which are in constant disregard of laws, customs and rules, with no regards to vulnerable women and children are leading to human rights violations against the Baloch. It must take immediate measures to ensure that the perpetrators of human rights violations within the Military, paramilitary and proxy organizations of the States to face justice.
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.