Oct 27, 2005

UNPO on Extrajudicial Killings and Disappearances of Political Prisoners from West Balochistan

The Hague, 27 October 2005-

UNPO is deeply concerned about the current human rights situation in the region of Balochistan, in Pakistan. According to UNPO sources, the Balochs in Pakistan are continuously being harassed by Pakistani armed forces. These numerous military operations have caused serious ethnic tensions in the area of the Southwest of Pakistan. On 17 March 2005, in the Dera Bugti district in Balochistan, 70 innocent Balochs, including children, women and elderly were reported killed and more than 200 were reported injured by the Pakistani military.

UNPO is furthermore alarmed about the various reported “disappearances” and extrajudicial detentions of Balochs by Pakistan security forces (ISI). On 25 March 2005, the BSO (Baloch Students Organization; an organization which through peaceful struggle advocates human rights for the Baloch people) organized a peaceful protest in the city of Karachi to draw attention to the innocent killings in Dera Bugti. When the rally ended, local police and security forces arrested several members of BSO and took them to an unknown location. These members included:

• Dr. Imdad Baloch (chairman BSO)
• Dr. Allah Nazar (former-chairman BSO)
• Dr. Yousuf Baloch (press secretary BSO)
• Ghulam Rasool (member central committee BSO)
• Dr. Naseem Baloch (former-member central committee BSO)
• Ali Nawaz
• Akhtar Nadeem

In May 2005 four of the above individuals, among which Dr. Imdad Baloch, were released. After their release, they reported the serious human rights violations. In prison they were exposed to harsh and degrading treatment, imprisonment in isolation cells and torture. The physical condition of one of the imprisoned, Dr. Allah Nazar is particularly severe due to torture with electric shocks, which partially paralyzed him. On 14 October 2005, Pakistani security forces (ISI) again arrested Dr. Yousuf Baloch and ever since his whereabouts are unknown.

Moreover UNPO is alarmed by the situation of currently imprisoned Mr. Ali Asghar Bangulzahi, not associated with any political party, but being the uncle of Dr. Imdad Baloch. Mr. Bangulzahi has been harassed, tortured and has suffered ill-treatment. He fears for his life since his family publicly demanded justice for him.

According to Amnesty International’s report (PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 33/025/2005) Ali Asghar Bangulzahi was first detained on 1 June 2000 in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, and questioned in connection with the murder of a Balochistan High Court judge, Mir Mohammed Marri. Security forces personnel reportedly took him to the Kuli Camp detention centre where he was hung upside down and severely beaten, deprived of sleep and threatened with death of him and his family if he did not divulge the identity of the person who had killed the judge. He was released without charge two weeks later.

On 18 October 2001, Ali Asghar Bangulzahi was again arrested by the security forces, this time in front of the Government Degree College in Quetta, along with his friend Muhammad Iqbal Bangalzai. Both men were reportedly severely tortured in detention. Muhammad Iqbal Bangalzai was released after 22 days, but Ali Ashgar Bangalzai has apparently "disappeared".

UNPO believes that these cases of extrajudicial detention, torture and killings of Balochistan people in Pakistan, are grave human rights violations as well as being in conflict with Article 9 and 10 of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which states that:

9. No person shall be deprived of life or liberty, save in accordance with law.

10. (1) No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as maybe, of the grounds for such arrest, nor shall he be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.
(2) Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before a magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest, excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the nearest magistrate, and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.

On the basis of all of the above UNPO appeals to the international community;

to call for the immediate and unconditional release of the unjustly imprisoned Baloch people in Pakistan;

to send a fact finding delegation to examine and report to the International Community on the human rights situation and extrajudicial killings and arrests in Balochistan, Pakistan;

to urge the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to end repression, human rights violations, extrajudicial killings and detentions by Pakistani armed forces against ethnic minorities in Pakistan.