A Rough Balochistan Policy
By Yousaf Ajab Baloch
The recovery of bullet-riddled, decomposed, mutilated and tortured bodies of disappeared Balochs is no longer part of breaking news in Baloch local media. However, the human rights violations and the ‘Killing and dumping’ of missing Balochs is one of the most outstanding issues in Balochistan right now. The Baloch nationalists call it a policy of Baloch ‘genocide,’ in which a larger number of journalists, doctors, teachers, professors, freelance writers, human rights defenders and political leaders and activists have been systematically murdered and target killed. The relatives of disappeared Balochs allege that intelligence agencies of the state collaborate with Frontier Corps (FC) and whisk away their loved ones and subsequently kill them in detention. According to the relatives of extra-judicially killed people, the latter were first the disappeared by personnel of Frontier Corps and intelligence agencies and later their bullet-riddled bodies showed up in deserted areas across Balochistan. The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), an organization of relatives of missing Balochs striving for the safe recovery of the disappeared, claims to have gathered and submitted full data of 1,300 kidnapped Baloch among whom more than 170 have already been tortured to death. Apart from this, the number of disappeared is as high as 12,000. Various lists indicate that children, women and elderly citizens are also among the missing. The most known story is of Zareena Marri, a school teacher imprisoned by intelligence agencies whose story was disclosed by Munir Mengal who himself was a victim of disappearance and torture. Mengal claimed he had met the former in an underground cell during his imprisonment. The family members of the missing Balochs are protesting by holding demonstrations and setting up hunger-strike camps to attract the judiciary and human rights organizations. But their efforts have failed to yield any success. They are in pain because of the continued recovery of tortured and bullet-riddled bodies of their loved ones. Missing persons, rather than being recovered safely, are being surfaced as dead. Many of the relatives of the missing Balochs left hunger-strike camps when the bodies of their loved ones were found in deserted areas in different parts of Balochistan. Concerned about the human rights violations in Balochistan, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) recently issued a report, “Balochistan, blinked side into chaos.” In the report, HRCP has collected data of all those people who have been abducted and killed since June 2010. HRCP’s report says that human rights defenders and journalists are also being victimized. Killings of Naeem Sabir and Siddque Eidho, who were assisting HRCP in compiling the data of human rights abuses, are the fresh instances. Both paid a heavy price for their work. Sabir was target killed in Khuzdar, the second largest city of Balochistan, and Eidho was first disappeared and later his bullet-riddled body was found in Turbat. HRCP report reveals an alarming and terrifying bloodshed in Balochistan. The report, to some extent, is a moral support to the people of Balochistan. However, many nationalists and political and human rights organizations differ with HRCP’s number of Balochs killed since July 2010. HRCP presents 140 murdered cases; however, Baloch National Voice, a Baloch nationalist political party, differs with the given number of extra-judicially killed Balochs. BNV in its recent report has given the number and names of 158 youths who had been ‘killed and dumped.’ The HRCP report discloses that security forces have made their own personal government. They are given free hand to whisk away and kill people in Balochistan, without clearing their guilt. In the report, HRCP has urged the government to bring the security forces and their intelligence network under the control of the civilian government and hold them accountable for their misconduct. No day passes without disappearance, target killing and recovery of the bodies of Baloch missing persons. Human rights organization, such as Amnesty International, Asian Human Rights Commission, HRCP and Human Rights Watch (HRW) has time and again urged the state authorities to probe into the cases of Baloch missing persons and extra-judicial killings. Unfortunately, reports of various human rights organizations have been paid a deaf ear by the government authorities. This further validates the accusations about the authorities’ involvement into these killings. It is shocking. The people, who are being killed, are not ordinary people but the cream of Baloch society, including prominent journalists, professors, human rights defenders, teachers, singers, political leaders and lawyers. They are the harbinger of change in Baloch society. Though the perpetrators are eliminating the cream of Baloch society in order to silence what the government calls “insurgency,” yet there is a rapid growth of hatred, enragement and sense of revenge in the Baloch society due to these killings. Right now, Balochistan is confronting the fifth military operation .However, such a move what the Baloch nationalist call “Kill and dump,” has never been witnessed, though thousands of Baloch have been killed since the first military operation launched in 1948. According to VBMP, 170 tortured bodies of missing Balochs have surfaced. More than 20 bodies, badly decomposed, could not be identified. The recognition of the bodies is made easy by the perpetrators who keep pieces of the papers with written names of victims. Sometimes there’s a message like “Eid gift for Baloch nation”. No doubt intellectuals, teachers, journalist and political leaders are said to be the eyes and voices of a nation, but the anguish of this nation becomes immeasurable, when the face of that nation being mutilated by picking out eyes and cutting tongues. At the moment, there are hundreds of examples which provoke people or enrage students to throw pen to pick up guns. Killings of Professor Saba Dashtiyari, Ghulam Muhammad Baloch, Ali Sher Kurd and Agha Abid Shah and of more than 10 journalists force the people to take action against the elements that kill the cream of the Baloch society. Undoubtedly, the dismal situation in Balochistan is not reported in mainstream media of Pakistan and international media as well. If the journalist and human right defenders raise voices against human rights violations, they are disappeared and tortured to death. Thus, Balochistan has become a battlefield for journalists and human rights defenders as well. This upsurge in human rights abuses has not only worried affected families of Balochs missing persons, but also the international organizations working against human rights violations. The institutions look underdog in front of the perpetrators. Neither judiciary nor media has done any extraordinary achievement to pressurize involved elements to halt the deteriorating situation .The Balochistan High Court (BHC) has hundreds of pending petitions filed by the families of the dead and missing Balochs, but it seems either indifferent or utterly helpless in coaxing the spymasters to release the missing persons. Silence of Pakitstani media and human rights defenders over the killings of missing Balochs has further angered the Baloch. They allege that former are equally responsible partners in the bloody policy of ‘kill and dump’ in Balochistan.