Dear journalists and audience!
Thank you for joining us to listen and seek the truth.
Today’s press conference addresses the heart-wrenching incident in Balochistan—a tragedy that disgraces humanity. The international community, including esteemed institutions like the United Nations, has promised justice, equality, and freedom for all citizens worldwide. Enforced disappearance has been condemned as a crime against humanity, yet human rights violations persist unabated. No country or state is exempted from upholding human rights. Prominent nations such as the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States have pledged their utmost efforts to the welfare of humanity. While financial aid is generously provided to developing and underdeveloped nations globally, the focus must shift towards prioritizing and safeguarding our shared humanity and fundamental human rights.
The international community is paying attention to Balochistan because it adheres to noble principles and international human rights laws. However, it is crucial to recognize that there are concerns about the enforcement of these laws in Balochistan. Despite continuous support from countries like the US and international financial institutions such as the IMF, there are ongoing doubts about their effectiveness in promoting human rights and addressing potential crimes against humanity in Pakistan. The people of Balochistan, Sindh, Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Pakistan-administered Kashmir are experiencing a state of subjugation within Pakistan, where they are denied basic civil rights.
Respectable ladies and gentlemen!
Enforced disappearances in Balochistan are a grave issue, perpetuated by the Pakistan Army as a means to instill fear and exert control over the judicial system. The Pakistan Army’s notorious practice of conducting a Kill-and-dump policy has resulted in the deaths of thousands of individuals who have been forcibly disappeared. Disturbingly, mass graves have been discovered in various locations within Balochistan, including Tutak. The presence of decomposing bodies of numerous unidentified individuals on the rooftop of Nishtar Hospital Multan further compounds the anguish of families who have been tirelessly searching for their missing loved ones for decades. Additionally, there is a cemetery of unidentified persons on Sibbi Road in the Dasht area, located 30 kilometers away from the main city of Balochistan,(Shaal) where over 250 unknown individuals have been buried within just two years. This is the bleak reality of Balochistan, where innocent individuals are being arrested from their homes, during travel, in Educational institutions, hospitals, and busy markets, Many of them are being buried in anonymous graves, deprived of their names and identification.
Listeners of the Voice of Balochistan!
We must address a tragic event that took place this year (2023) in Balgatar an area of the district of Kech, Balochistan. As we mentioned earlier in our press conference, a deeply disturbing incident unfolded, shaming humanity itself. Three young children from the same family were callously killed. These innocent souls were placed in a vehicle, still partially alive, and subjected to an explosion that utterly devastated their fragile bodies. It is crucial to note that these children were under the custody of the Pakistan Army.
In August 2023, seven children belonging to this very same family were forcibly disappeared by Pakistani forces. These abductions occurred in plain sight, witnessed by many. One child was apprehended from the chambers of a well-known lawyer in Turbat, while two children were seized from the premises of Civil Hospital Turbat. The magnitude of this cruelty cannot be overstated, especially considering that all seven children belong to a single family. The two sons of Lashkaran, two sons of Asa, and two sons of Lewari are among the forcibly disappeared.
Ladies and gentlemen!
Today, we bring to your attention the names and stories of the victims who have fallen prey to oppression and enforced disappearances. Among them are Adil, son of Asa, Shah Jahan, son of Asa, Nabi Dad, son of Liwari, Shaukat, son of Liwari, Zaheer, son of Lashkaran, Peerjan, son of Lashkaran, and Ahmad Khan, son of Shugrullah. These individuals forcibly disappeared following their arrest and raids conducted by the Pakistan army and its affiliated agencies.
Adil son of Asa, Shah Jahan son of Asa, and Nabi Dad son of Liwari were put in the car and the car was destroyed by an explosives explosion, while Shaukat son of Liwari, Zaheer son of Lashkaran, Peerjan son of Lashkaran, and Ahmad Khan son of Shugarullah are still missing. Reports from the region suggest that the vehicle targeted in the explosion was initially intercepted and confiscated by the Police Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) from a Turbat resident in D Baloch.
The condition of the three deceased youths indicates that they had been in custody for a considerable period. It has been reported that their remains showed signs of gunshot wounds and mutilation before the explosion.
The extent of the atrocities committed becomes evident through these accounts, and today, we aim to shed light on the dire situation in Balochistan through this press conference. We categorically reject the Pakistani media’s attempts to propagate that these youths were supporters of the Pakistan army who were targeted in roadside blasts. These young individuals hailed from impoverished families and earned their livelihood through menial jobs such as cleaning houses and offices. They were forcefully disappeared after being apprehended by the Pakistan army.
It is important to emphasize that the Pakistan Army is the primary perpetrator of human rights violations and enforced disappearances in Balochistan. The Frontier Corps (FC) is not an independent force, but rather an extension of the Pakistan Army. It disguises its actions under the name of the FC and death squads, but we unveil this disguise to expose the Army’s sole responsibility for enforced disappearances, mutilated bodies, and its policy of kill and dump. The so-called Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of the police plays a pivotal role in facilitating these grave crimes committed by the Pakistani army. The force that is meant to ensure the safety of people’s lives and belongings, in Balochistan, has lost its integrity by becoming complicit in the army’s crimes.
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
BNM urges international organizations to take immediate action to prevent enforced disappearances in Balochistan. We appeal to journalists to bring greater attention to the human rights violations occurring in this region. When it comes to Balochistan, it is crucial not to solely rely on the narrative presented by the Pakistani army and authorities. Conduct your research and seek out the truth. The facts don’t always align with what the Pakistani army and other state institutions may claim.
In this situation, we expect that all countries, particularly neighboring nations, provide substantial humanitarian assistance in response to the atrocities committed by Pakistan. This is their duty as neighboring countries, especially considering the historical relationship Balochistan had with its neighbors. Balochistan has continuously offered support and refuge to neighboring countries during times of difficulty. For instance, during the challenging periods faced by the rulers of Afghanistan and Oman, the Balochs sheltered them with a brotherly spirit. They even entrusted important cities like Gwadar to the rulers of Oman so they could find solace here. Now is the time for reciprocal kindness towards the Baloch people, so that we may once again regain our freedom.
Qazi Dad Mohammad Rehan
Information Secretary, Baloch National Movement (BNM)