The Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) briefed the United Nation’s Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) on 19th February 2021, during the 123rd session of the Working Group. In a virtual meeting with the group, Qambar Malik, the Information Secretary of BHRC briefed the members on the plight of thousands of disappeared persons in Balochistan.
The meeting was chaired by the Chair-RapporteurMr. Tae-Ung Baik, while other members of the Working Group Ms. Aua Balde, and members from the WGEID Secretariat also attended the meeting. The working group was given a detailed presentation by the BHRC representative about the Baloch conflict with Pakistan that has resulted in the enforced disappearances of thousands of Baloch dissidents. The BHRC representative outlined the patterns and methods of enforced disappearances employed by the state authorities. He maintained that although Balochistan records the highest numbers of cases, cases of enforced disappearances are also common in Sindh and KPK provinces.
BHRC representative informed the Working Group members that the victims of the enforced disappearances include people from all walks of life and of all ages and gender. Many of these victims were tortured to death and their mutilated bodies were dumped in Balochistan and Sindh, whereas, the majority remain detained incommunicado. The members of the Working Group were briefed that the families of the victims of enforced disappearance who are not a direct party to the conflict suffer the consequences, who have resorted to unceasing protests after exhausting nearly all legal remedies.
The WGEID members were informed that despite documented evidence of the involvement of the state security forces in the crimes against humanity, the perpetrators of these crimes enjoy impunity.
Sammi Baloch, daughter of the forcibly disappeared Dr. Deen Muhammad, and Seema Baloch, sister of forcibly disappeared Shabbir Baloch provided testimonies about the disappeared members of their families and talked about the derogatory remarks by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COIED) a few days ago. The Working Group also heard testimony by a Baloch victim of Enforced Disappearance who shared his predicament of illegal detention and torture in Pakistan.
The WGEID expressed grave concern upon hearing the testimonies and took a special interest when the case of Hani Gul’s disappearance along with many others was highlighted by the BHRC representative.
The members of the WGEID assured that they continue to closely monitor the situation in Pakistan and particularly in Balochistan. They asserted that WGEID will provide as much as possible assistance to the families in communicating their cases to the Pakistan Government.
Dr Shahzaib Baloch who is a student of MBBS final year was extra-judicially abducted on June 1 2019 by the state security forces from Shahrak town of Turbat. The family sources of Dr Shahzaib alleged the security forces of forcibly disappearing the medical student who was visiting his family to celebrate Eid.
The security forces also whisked away with them a disabled person identified as Abbas Baloch during the raid.
The families of the victims have urged the human rights organization’ to step up, and ensure an end to the practice of enforced disappearances in Balochistan.
According to confirmed sources, Jameel Baloch a student leader and Engineer Feroz Baloch were whisked away from Kalat on 30 May 2019 by the personnel of security forces while both the abductees were travelling from Quetta to celebrate Eid with their families in Panjgur district of Balochistan.
Dissenting voices have always been a target of the security forces in Pakistan. They have faced all forms of repressions, including forceful disappearances.
According to human rights watchdogs, thousands of Baloch students, political activists, and human rights defenders have forcibly been disappeared by the authorities in the last two decades.
Unfortunately, the forceful disappearances of dissidents continue unabated in Balochistan in the absence of international intervention.
Pakistan and international human rights mechanisms: Pakistan has affirmed in its election pledge to the Human Righ Council that it is ‘firmly resolved to uphold, promote and safeguard universal human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.’
HRCP expressed concern that Pakistan had chosen to only ‘note’ key human rights principles including, among others, the reporting of investigation and prosecution of security forces that commit human rights violations; amending discriminatory laws against marginalised groups, taking effective measures to prevent the abuse of blasphemy legislation, and the use of violence against religious minorities.
Requests for country visits from UN Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial executions; the situation of human rights defenders; the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism; freedom of religion or belief; and torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, remain pending.
Pakistan has ratified the eight ILO fundamental conventions but never fully applied them.
In a bold rebuttal to national and international criticism, the security forces of Pakistan have forcibly disappeared a Baloch woman Aisha along with her two 16 years old daughters Naila and Mahtab during a raid on the victims’ house in Gwadar.
Victims have been identified, as the wife and daughters of Allah Bux Baloch, a resident of Shapuk Turbat. Mr. Baloch was extra-judicially abducted by the personnel of security forces from Gwadar, a few days before his wife and daughters were taken away by the security forces.
According to Allah Bux’s neighbors, he had gone to Gwadar to earn a livelihood for his family.
The state authorities in Pakistan have been for long projecting the development of Gwadar port as the remedy to the decade-old economic deprivation suffered by the locals of Balochistan, however, the cases of enforced disappearances reported from Gwadar, all together have come down hard on these claims.
There are confirmed reports that Imran Baloch a student of Karachi University has forcibly been disappeared at the hands of security forces. Imran who hails from Shapuk, Turbat was traveling on a bus from Karachi to his hometown to spend off-term holidays was stopped en route by the security forces who forcibly dragged him off the bus and whisked him away on Wednesday 22nd of May, 2019.
Relatives of Imran have raised concerns about his safety given to the chequered history of state security forces who cruelly torture their victims to death. Those who manage to get released from captivity are never the same.
The Baloch political activists and human rights defenders have repeatedly requested the concerned human rights groups and states who enjoy leverage on Pakistan to use their offices and power to press Pakistan to refrain from the use of excessive force and other dehumanizing treatments against dissent in Pakistan.