Balochistan: Repression Continues as Indicated by Local NGOs
The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) reveal continued persecution of Balochi activists. Unlawful arrests, arbitrary abductions and extra-judicial killings are still very much present in the region, and many people go missing daily, without their families having any news of them for months. Human rights and civil society organisations are constantly threatened by Pakistani authorities and people who are unable to flee their land live in a permanent state of insecurity.
Below is the report published by Balochwarna News:
The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) has observed misdeeds by the state of Pakistan in form of enforced disappearances, displacement of population and extra judicial killings in Balochistan, which are documented in detail and salient features are inscribed hereby for conveying information to international bodies with anticipation of provision of justice for wrenched masses in Balochistan.
Thousands of Baloch people have been abducted and many of them have been killed extra judicially in custody of Pakistani state security forces whose mutilated dead bodies have been found dumped in different areas across Balochistan. Rather, the abolition of despicable acts the state apparatuses constituted inhumane laws in the pretense of state sovereignty, such as the Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO). These draconian laws ‘constitutional amendments’ are directly against human rights, which are providing ground to the state forces to commit human abuses and human rights violations in Balochistan with full impunity. After the enforcement of the mentioned law, state authorities confessed the arrest of more than 12000 people by security forces or the ‘Law Enforcement Agencies’ only in period of one and half years in perturbed Balochistan. In this regard, no details of detainees have been given and their family members have not been informed about the whereabouts of their disappeared beloved ones. Inopportunely, the forcibly disappeared people have not been brought before any judicial body yet.
In Balochistan, many areas are beleaguered by state forces for long time, where people are like captives as the inhabitants of those areas live under continuous military siege. In some areas, government forces arrest people from time to time without giving any reason and mentioning their guilt and afterward many of them were killed and their mutilated bodies have been disposed mercilessly. In such areas, people’s lives are made very terrible, consequently many of them were compelled to migrate from their native areas to other areas, but poor people are even unable to move what others might deem as safer place so they are forced to live under constant military brutality. In the areas affected, the government has claimed that they have killed militants or separatists, but later the killed were identified by their relatives and the families of the victims confirmed that their loved ones were abducted by state agencies for long time and many of the victims were civilians and were not involved in any subversive activities. In many areas during operation, the arrests of women and children have been reported.
On November 8th 2015, in Bolan area the government forces arrested around 28 women and children who were shifted to Quetta the capital of the Balochistan. The arrest of Baloch women and children was witnessed by the residents of Mach area that is situated within Bolan District of Balochistan. Security forces during their operations set fire to crops and looted valuables of the inhabitants. Such incidents took place in all parts of Balochistan and footages of these heinous human rights violation are present in social media uploaded by affected areas’ people and organizations and these acts are undeniable.
Recently, the government through advertisement in local papers has notified disappeared people that they must go through their area’s police station or appear before the courts to prove their innocence; otherwise they will be dealt with as miscreants. The discussed forcibly disappearing persons were already abducted by state forces and their details are registered with Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and International Commission of Jurist (ICJ) one year ago. The VBMP officials and relatives of missing persons are worried that their loved ones will be killed in fake encounters or get trapped in fabricated cases and will be sent for trial to military courts which do not follow any judicial formalities and have no justice characteristics at all.
The relatives of missing persons are under immense pressure by security forces not to register First Information Report (FIR) in police stations against the official perpetrators. They are threatened if they turn defiant, then their abducted dear one will be killed and they themselves also will have to face dire consequences, hence the terrorized people hesitate to do so. The state institutions in Pakistan are not autonomous but are pressurized by the forces of darkness, therefore the victim families of enforced disappearances are disappointed about prevalence of justice here, the practices and attitudes also confirm these speculations to be real.
In Balochistan, mutilated bodies are being found and these are buried without identification by relatives. The government has not taken any initiative for preservation and delivering details of dead bodies but handover those to charitable organizations for burial. In this way, the aggrieved families cannot know the fate of their disappeared loved ones ever or at least in their life-time. This type of acts are grim human rights violation and totally against the human dignity. Jalil Reki was killed merely that his father Qadeer Baloch the vice chairman of VBMP was protesting on platform of the organization. We have many other cases where the aim is solely to deter the organization from defending human rights in Balochistan.
The officials of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons are being threatened by state authorities in various ways to suspend their activities regarding the defense of human rights. This is creating hardships for workers of the organization to continue activities smoothly and in a systemized way. Hence, we believe that state functionaries are unjustifiably hindering the peaceful and democratic work of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons.
Governments Commission role about missing persons:
In June 2010, the government established a commission consisting of two members and other institutions’ representatives could also participate in its sessions. The commission could not perform anything remarkable about missing person’s case in Balochistan and its achievement is equal to none. The commission prejudicially takes side of state institutions despite presence of solid evidence about theirs offences. This attitude disappointed missing person’s families and enforced disappearing persons have not been resurfaced except one or two among the thousands by the commission.
In 2012, the current head of Government Commission Retired Justice Javed Iqbal conducted three days hearing about Balochistan’s Missing Persons and in haste made a decision that in Balochistan the government agencies are not involved in abduction and Enforced Disappearances but the Supreme Court headed by Iftekhar Choudhry in the perspective of solid evidences remarked that all indications go against government agencies, hence they are behind abduction, enforced disappearances and extra judicial killings in Balochistan.
Poor performance of Government/politicians about human rights observation:
The politicians in government have totally have in securing the release of Baloch Missing Persons. Former chief minister Dr. Malik Baloch openly admitted his government’s failure about this. They are not capable to implement the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding missing person’s release and which were made against the security agencies. It is experienced that before joining the government, politicians’ express sympathies for relatives of missing persons and they also declared this act gross human rights violation in Balochistan but when they get certain government positions, they turn blind eyes toward this human tragedy and remain silent and they speak in contradiction to their past statements. Apart from this, they have paid heavy fees to senior lawyers to bring complications in missing persons’ cases, intentionally to hinder and delay the VBMP official and now this is discouraging them, too. These politicians do what the establishment commands them to secure their positions, get incentives and pursue their personal interests.
The constituted committee about human rights at the upper house, Senate, complained that government has not facilitated the body; consequently, no session has been conducted and no developments are made about the assigned task.
In Tutak-Khuzdar, mass graves were discovered and many dead were exhumed and among them two were identified who were abducted by security agencies and their details were registered with VBMP. At the time, the Human Right Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and the VBMP asked the government for permission to visit mass grave’s site for fact finding but it was not permitted by the relevant politicians in the government.
Most of the found mutilated dead bodies in Balochistan are of Missing Baloch, but the government has not done anything for preservation of these before the relative could know about their death and to receive the corpse for burial after identification with human dignity. Astonishingly, for these decomposed bodies the government has not made any arrangement to conserve them for a period of a month and to deliver the details to relatives, and then they will receive those. The discussed dead are being handed over to altruistic organization for burial without identifications and in this way human dignity is being tarnished worst. The politicians and government also turned a blind eye toward this pitiful issue maliciously.
The role of Courts about case of missing persons:
It has been observed that courts are also powerless to maintain the human rights in Balochistan. The Supreme Court in its judicial inquiry through Inspector General Police Balochistan found the security agencies responsible for abduction of people. It should be remembered, that the police probed the matter in light of registered FIRs by victim families. After thorough investigation police submitted a report in court and in that it was mentioned the state institutions’ official picked people and they also provided CCTV footage in that security institutions official were nabbing people and loading them onto their vehicles and afterward mutilated bodies of those arrested people were found. Beside this, at Supreme Court, after judicial inquiries, the state institutions were declared guilty for abduction of people in Balochistan, but the decision of the court couldn’t be materialized by politicians and administration. All judicial process and ground realities imply offences by security institutions; subsequently, after the retirement of former chief justice the missing persons’ case was disposed-off with remarks that long proceedings have taken place about the case.
On April 7, 2016, the VBMP appealed in court for review of the decision about the disposal of missing person’s case that was accepted for hearing. The organization in appeal mentioned that the series of throwing mutilated bodies and abduction of people in Balochistan is continuing with the same pace.
At Supreme Court there is a cell which monitors the human rights practices and deal relevant affairs. Presently, this cell is inactive; hence it is causing great suffering for common citizens and common people do not know where to go for help and seek justice.
Displacement of population:
The state authorities also do not consider people’s interests and theirs wishes. The state of Pakistan has made agreements with Chinese government about of Balochistan. In this regard, the government in its media briefing proclaimed for special security plan, formation of security divisions and deployment of forces in large number in Balochistan. Specifically, in Gwadar and along the under-constructed project ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC). The mentioned efforts by the state itself indicate the discontent of people in Balochistan about this agreement with China, otherwise there was no need for security arrangements.
A long route linking the Chinese city of Kashgar to Balochistan’s coastal city of Gwadar is under construction and in Baloch areas there is strong dissent about this controversial project. The state assigned its construction to military related organizations. The said organizations are dealing harshly with local population of Balochistan and they have committed human rights violations on the CPEC route. The security forces evacuated many towns and the population is displaced in the name of security measures. People due to fear left their native areas, and those people who were defiant were tortured and killed in gruesome military attacks. In the name of economic benefits, state official committed the worst human rights violation in Makuran area of Balochistan and this still continue, where people got deprived of their historical heritages, agricultural fields, businesses, property and belongings of centuries old.
Similarly, in the town of Gawadar local people are given a card, where out-siders cannot get in to the city, while insiders cannot move somewhere out of the city without the permission of security agencies after a painful process. The areas’ socio-economy is based on fishing, but fishermen are also stopped from autonomously moving into deep sea for all time except limited hours. In this way, the area’s people are effected the worst by Gawadar port which is given to Chinese. The state forces are trampling down the will of area’s people, even mercilessly killing them in case of resistance. In this way, they are committing violation of human rights in mentioned areas.
Baloch Inter Displaced Persons (IDPs):
We have examples that due to constant army operations and attacks in Kohlu, Dera Bugti, Mashkay, Awaran, Tump, Jahu and in other areas a great proportion of population have migrated to other parts of the Balochistan or Sindh and Punjab and they are living as Inter Displaced Persons – IDPs.
In Pakistan, civil society and political parties are not capable to pressurize the establishment about provision of justice to Baloch in case of missing persons and other matters. The international community also did not pay sufficient attention to the issue of Baloch Missing Person which is a human catastrophe. They have also not reacted about it to put pressure on the Pakistani establishment to stop the inhuman practice of enforced-disappearances and in-custody killings in Balochistan. Although international community, media and Human Rights Organisations have done almost nothing in the past but there is still time that they should take initiatives on urgent basis to put an end to severe human crises in Balochistan.