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Balochistan: Human Rights Overview Month of July
In the month of July, 46 people were forcibly disappeared by the Pakistani army, 28 of them were released after torture, while 18 are still forcibly missing.11 persons were killed in custody, of which seven persons were identified by their relatives who had already been forcibly disappeared by Pakistani forces. Two people were killed and 6 were seriously injured in the violent actions of Pakistani forces. Pakistani army’s paid target killers ‘publicly killed’ a Baloch refugee in Afghanistan. While a refugee in Azerbaijan died under mysterious circumstances, the family members expressed fears that the cause of his death could be murder.
Last month, a new chapter was added regarding custodial killings of forcedly disappeared person, although this is not the first incident where Pakistani law enforcement agencies killed forcibly disappeared persons in fake encounters. Earlier, in several incidents, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of the police under the Pakistan Army had killed many forcibly disappeared persons in fake encounters. But it has happened for the first time that in immediate response to the action of a Baloch pro freedom organization, 11 forcibly disappeared people were killed in custody and termed them as attackers.
On the intervening night of July 12 and 13, Lt. Col. Laeiq Baig Mirza, a high-ranking Pakistani army officer, was abducted and shot dead. Which was the result of the ongoing war of independence in Balochistan between the Baloch forces and the Pakistani army. In response to the killing of Pakistan Army officer the military killed 11 forcibly disappeared persons in their custody and held them responsible for the said incident.
Among the victims of extrajudicially custodial killing, 4 of them are yet to be recognized and 7 of them are recognized namely:
•Mohammad Khan Chilgari Marri: He was forcibly disappeared by security forces from Harnai in February 2022.
•Juma Khan Marri : He was forcibly disappeared in March 2022, by security forces.
•Salim Karim Bakhsh, resident of Balgatar. He was also forcibly disappeared by security forces on 17 April 2022 in front of several eyewitnesses.
•Shehzad Khuda Bakhsh, resident of Kalat. He was forcibly disappeared on June 04, 2022, by security forces.
•Dr Mukhtiar Abdul Hai, resident of Kalat. He was forcibly disappeared on 11 June 2022 by security forces.
•Shah Bakhsh Marri: He was forcibly disappeared in 2013, by security forces.
•Shams Satakzai, He was forcibly disappeared by security forces in 2017.
After the Ziarat tragedy, the claims of the government and the lack of interest and non-cooperation of the state institutions in identifying the persons killed in custody have made the identity of the persons killed in this fake encounter doubtful.
One of these bodies was identified as ‘Engineer Zaheer Baloch’. According to Engineer Zaheer Baloch’s Sister Uzma Baloch her brother Engineer Zaheer Baloch was forcibly disappeared on 07 October 2021 by the Pakistani Army personnel from the airport road Quetta where his office ‘Smart ways Consultancy Pvt Ltd’ is located.
On 19 July 2022, his sister Uzma Baloch confirmed the martyrdom of her brother. State Minister Zia Langau also confirmed the death of all the above-mentioned persons including Zaheer in his press conference and termed them as ‘terrorists’. After Zia Longau’s press conference and the killing of the forcibly disappeared persons in a fake contest, the families of the forcibly disappeared persons have been protesting at various places in Quetta for several weeks. The government announced the formation of a judicial commission to investigate the ‘Ziarat Tragedy’ after protests by the relatives. Hence then the military establishment mobilized and in Balochistan, military backed death squad operatives staged protests against the Judicial Commission. Ironically, the worrisome aspect of this whole situation is that On July 29, 2022, from the house of Noor Ahmad Bangulzahi, the leader of the death squad and Pakistan Peoples Party’s Balochitsn chapter: “Engineer Zaheer came to the fore.”
Noor Ahmad Bangulzahi, representing the Pakistan Army, alleged that the claim of Enforced Disappearance of Engineer Zaheer was false, He had voluntarily left home to go to Europe and was imprisoned in Iran. However, Engineer Zaheer’s name is not included in the list of people deported from Iran, nor Engineer Zaheer is allowed to move freely. Rather, he is still in the custody of the state death squad.
In this regard, Paank expresses its concern and demands to ensure that there is no pressure on Engineer Zaheer’s family and he can move like a free citizen. His statement in death squad custody should be inspected and at the same time, the DNA test of the deceased who was buried as Engineer Zaheer should be done.
In addition, we support the demands of the families of the forcibly disappeared, and request human rights organizations to put pressure on Pakistan to accept the demands of the families “Formation of judicial commission on Ziarat tragedy, safe release of all forcibly disappeared persons and the families of the forcibly disappeared persons should be assured that no detained person will be targeted in fake encounters.”
The mysterious death of a Baloch refugee abroad and the declared murder of another
Baloch refugee Saqib Karim died in mysterious and unclear circumstances in Azerbaijan. According to the death certificate of Saqib Karim issued on July 13, 2022 by the Ministry of Justice in Baku, he died on July 8, 2022. According to the certificate, he died due to drowning. And his death has been declared as ‘non-fatal’.
But his brother Faisal Karim and Baloch National Movement have expressed their concerns on this certificate. Faisal Karim has told BBC Urdu that although the police there have declared my brother’s death an accident, we want UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency) and their government should conduct a comprehensive investigation into his death from all aspects, because this is not the first incident of this type. Earlier, Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain was killed by drowning in Sweden and BNM leader Banuk Karima in Canada. Experts say that killing by drowning in water destroys the evidence of murder and in the absence of evidence, the police declare the murder to be an accidental death. The death of Saqib Karim also requires deep investigation because his two brothers, Tariq Karim and Asim Karim, were forcibly disappeared by Pakistani security forces. Later on their mutilated bodies were thrown away in desolated places. It is worthy to mention here Saqib Karim himself was in the hit list of the Pakistani army.
On July 19, 2022, Jalamb Khan son of Malik Khan Muhammad Langani Marri was targeted and killed by hired assassins of the Pakistani army in Nimroz, Afghanistan. Jalamb Khan was a refugee in Afghanistan for the past 10 years. After this murder, in the Pakistani media, apart from being associated with the BLA, he was also accused of being involved in the killing of a Pakistani military officer, Col. Laeiq Baig, who was killed by the BLA in the month of July. It is the procedure of the Pakistani army to feed such news to its sleazy media to show the refugees killed in Afghanistan and Iran as ‘Pro-freedom activist’ and admit to killing them. The Afghan government has detained 3 people in his murder. We demand the Afghan government to expose the killers and take concrete measures to protect the Baloch refugees living in Afghanistan.
Flood Disasters and Irresponsibility of Administration
Balochistan is a region in the world that is badly affected by climate change. While construction projects designed for foreign interests in Balochistan also lead to diversion of flood and rainwater towards the population. CPEC is also included in the list of these small and large projects that have laid a network of roads across Balochistan but neglected the interest of the local population and the natural flow of rivers. Due to which the infrastructure in Balochistan has been badly damaged in the irregular rains and agricultural lands, crops, gardens, livestock and plantations have been irreparably damaged. In the recent flood situation, the residents of Gwarast, Girishag, District Khuzdar have also held a protest against the CPEC. They say that we had requested the relevant authorities to increase the height of the bridge at the time of construction on the CPEC route, but their demands were not accepted, due to which the non-standard bridge could not withstand the flow of water. Which resulted the flow of water turned towards the population due to which the entire village inundated with flood water. Local people say that if it was not daytime, many human lives could have been lost due to non-evacuation of the population in time.
Tertij a village in district Awaran is also a prominent example where CPEC route M-8 passes through agricultural lands. The construction of this road also neglected the flow of water which resulted in inundation of several villages due to the recent unprecedented monsoon rains.
According to verified data, 129 people have died and 66 have been injured due to floods in Balochistan, about 665 kilometers of roads have been washed away, 13 bridges have been affected, 2431 solar panels became disabled, 706 livestock have died, 16 dams have been affected, crops standing on 197,930 hectares have been washed away, 11,775 houses have been damaged. Of these, 8,874 houses were partially damaged while 2,901 houses were completely destroyed.
The losses of Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur areas of Balochistan are not included. There has also been loss of life and property. Apart from this, grape, apple and date orchards in Shaal, Mastung, Kalat, Qila Saifullah, Pashin, Zhobe, Loralai, Khuzdar, Wadah and Lasbela suffered losses worth millions of rupees. Makuran produces about 1 million tons of dates annually which are severely damaged by monsoon rains.
Balochistan needs massive help to deal with this flood situation. The international organizations should also evaluate that the construction of infrastructures and dams under the CPEC has no role in increasing the current flood situation in Balochistan. It should be investigated that large dams cause floods when it rains, but when there are no rains, they are unable to meet the needs of a few cities with small populations in Balochistan. Not evacuating the population in time, not taking emergency safety measures for travelers and not providing timely assistance to the victims are prominent examples of mismanagement that has led to the increase in death tolls in the current flood situation that is why we term this state of affair as ‘The disaster of state mismanagement’.
Paank (HR Department of BNM) confirms and supports that all incidents mentioned in this report have been investigated by reliable sources. This information has been obtained through local, regional, international media and local representatives of Paank and as far as possible this information has been verified with the relevant people.