Shaal: The BNM’s human rights department, Paank, published an in-depth report on the human rights abuses in Balochistan during July 2023, labelling it the most severe month for human rights violations this year.
‘57 individuals were forced to disappear, while seven innocent lives were brutally taken and their remains discarded.’
According to the report, July 2023 marked the darkest period of the year regarding enforced disappearances. Pakistani forces were responsible for the distressing abduction of 57 individuals this month. 22 people who had also been subjected to forced disappearances were later released without clarity regarding the reason behind their detention.
The report expressed grave concern regarding the latest outbreak of human rights violations in Dera Bugti. It highlights that the district bore the brunt of the Pakistan army’s relentless offensive in the preceding month, leading to the enforced disappearance of as many as 15 individuals. The military actions also involved looting homes and indiscriminately firing mortar shells at civilians, which wreaked havoc on the local population and left properties in ruins.
Paank’s report unveils Shafiq Mengal’s efforts to consolidate power through state-sponsored terrorism in Wad, District Khuzdar. Additionally, the report highlights a concerning escalation of human rights abuses during the 10th anniversary of the CPEC project and the upcoming Pakistani elections. Notably, the report sheds light on grave human rights violations perpetrated by FC personnel, including enforced disappearances and attempted sexual abuse of children in Hazara Town Shaal.
‘Call for Accountability and the Removal of Pakistani Check Posts from Local Populations.’
Paank’s report endorses the Hazara community’s demand for removing FC check posts in civilian areas and highlights instances of sexual abuse by Pakistani military personnel in Bangladesh, Haiti, and Balochistan.
The report states that despite irrefutable evidence of the Pakistani military’s involvement in sexual assaults in Bangladesh, Haiti, and Balochistan, international human rights organizations have not taken the necessary steps to prevent such incidents and protect the civilian population.
According to Paank, the media has only reported minor incidents that profoundly impacted Baloch society. Still, the need for more interest from international human rights organizations in these matters has further perpetuated this trend. It is crucial to hold accountable those responsible for such incidents and to protect the human rights of all individuals in the Baloch community.
‘The Continued Deterioration of Human Rights under Shafiq Mengal’s Leadership
In its comprehensive analysis of the situation in the Khuzdaar district, PaanK cautioned political and tribal leaders in Balochistan against perpetuating the archaic tribal system. Instead of supporting this system, the leaders should prioritize preventing human rights abuses by uniting the Baloch community nationally. PaanK urged them to take action and contribute to bringing criminals like Shafiq Mengal, who hide behind tribalism, to justice.
Any attempt to appease Shafiq Mengal will only reinforce the state’s agenda, narrowing the space for pro-people forces in Balochistan and perpetuating the dire state of human rights.
‘Ignoring Baloch land and resource rights in international investment leads to bloodshed.’
Special attention has been given to the forced evacuations and accelerated forced disappearances of the local population due to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects in Paank’s report.
Paank stresses that the international community, particularly companies involved in various projects in Balochistan, must prioritize human rights and acknowledge how their participation leads to severe violations. Failure to recognize the fundamental rights of the people of Balochistan, including sovereignty and control over resources, will only add fuel to the already raging fire in the region. Investments in Balochistan will only result in further bloodshed unless appropriate action is taken.
‘It is imperative to grant Baloch refugees the status of refugees in neighboring countries.’
Paank emphasized the need for neighboring countries, notably the Iranian government, to establish a suitable policy granting immigrants international refugee status. Such a policy would provide a secure future for thousands of individuals, especially children currently deprived of an education.
Paank’s report aligns with the stance of the Baloch National Movement, highlighting the increased risk of human rights violations within Balochistan during the upcoming elections in Pakistan. It further underscores the potential utilization of enforced disappearances as a means to compel the participation of individuals in the Pakistani electoral process.