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126 extrajudicial killings, 400 disappearances in Balochistan

Pakistan on 23 September 2013
Location : Balochistan, Pakistan | Source : Asian Human Rights Commission. Image Source: Flickr User Defense Images

Counting up to August 2013, as many as 126 extrajudicial deaths and over 400 disappearances have taken place in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. Violent killings and disappearance after arrest by authorities continues without relent. Most bodies, of those murdered extra judicially, have been found in the Balochi speaking districts of the province, particularly Quetta, Khuzdar, Kalat, and Mekran.

Balochistan has remained under the control of the military and other allied security agencies since the Musharraf regime began military operations in 2000. A constant stream of disappearances of activists and youth at large was thereby introduced, rare occurrences in the country until then. During the civilian rule that followed, extrajudicial killings increased further. And, from July 2010 to end of the 2012, more than 400 dead bodies of those disappeared and killed by the authorities have been found dumped across Balochistan.

The disappearances and extrajudicial killings have not stopped even after the formation of the government of Dr. Abdul Malik, who also heads the Baloch ethnic political party. He was made chief minister of the province on June 7, 2013, and since then 56 extrajudicial killings and 64 disappearances have occurred in Balochistan.

However, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), an NGO working to document the cases of missing persons, has claimed that during the first nine months of 2013, as many as 405 persons have gone missing after their arrest by security agencies. The family members of the disappeared persons have stated that the missing persons were arrested by the security forces, particularly by the Frontier Corp (FC) and by the policemen accompanying the FC. VMBP has also documented the cases of extrajudicial killings of missing persons, providing names and addresses of 126 persons killed during their detention after their disappearance.

Lists prepared by VBMP of missing persons and those victim to extrajudicial killings can be accessed here. A. List of Extrajudicial Killings ( 2009 - 2013) B. List of Missing Persons Year by Year

On the other hand, DAWN.com, itself referring to figures with the home and tribal affairs department of Balochistan, has stated that 592 mutilated dead bodies have been found in the last three years (Jan. 2010 to Sept. 2013) from different parts of the militancy-hit province. According to DAWN.com, the documents accessed indicate an increase in the recovery of mutilated bodies during the current year in different volatile parts of Balochistan, the least developed province of the country. Most of the dead bodies have been found in Quetta, Khuzdar, Kalat and the volatile Mekran belt.

“Most of the dead bodies are of Baloch political workers,” states a document accessed by DAWN.com, with few of the victims belonging to other ethnic groups as well.

The situation in Balochistan is deteriorating day by day and there are no signs to indicate any imminent improvement in gruesome human rights realities.

The governments, civil and military, use militaristic methods to ‘solve’ the political issue. Legal and diplomatic methods are ignored by the democratic governments. The rule of law has been hounded into nonexistence by the military and its spy agencies. The FC has been given the power of police in an effort to handle the long conflict. There is no serious effort to reform a century old criminal justice system. Balochistan is seen as the issue of law and order, and not as a land with humans denied their fundamental rights, particularly the right of autonomy over their resources.

The Asian Human Rights Commission is concerned about the prevailing situation of forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of missing persons in Balochistan. Despite appeals by international agencies and families of victims, nothing has been initiated to either curtail the disappearances or recover the victims.

In view of the apparent lack of action on behalf of the judicial and government authorities, family members of the disappeared, brutalized, and killed have lost all confidence in the institutions of justice.

The government of Pakistan must take action to halt forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of Balochi people by the military and intelligences agencies. The lawless military institution must be brought once and for all under the orbit of the rule of law. The officials of the military and para-military must be prosecuted for presiding and participating in inhuman acts of torture and murder.

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