February 2024 Report [English]

The alarming rise in cases of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings continues to be a grave concern in Balochistan. During the month of February 33 cases of forced disappearances were reported from different areas of Balochistan, while 28 forced persons were released from torture cells during the month of February. The accompanying statistical data underscores the severity of this human rights crisis.

Protest over Enforced Disappearances in Kech-Gwadar:

Enforced disappearances in Balochistan have evolved into a persistent source of fear and anguish with in the Baloch society, perpetuating an unending cycle of pain. Despite fervent protests from the Baloch nation and international organizations issuing statements, there has been a distressing lack of discernible change. The Pakistani army continues its relentless targeting of individuals advocating for the betterment of their nation.

Enforced disappearance stands as the Pakistani army’s primary tool to stifle Baloch consciousness, viewing it as the key to suppressing Baloch national identity. This strategy, despite enduring strong protests from the Baloch nation over multiple tragic incidents, has persisted for the past two decades, with a particular focus on the educated class and students.

Instances shared on social media typically highlight statistics of those released from enforced disappearance and illegal detention. This prompts an urgent need for in-depth research to comprehend the profound damage inflicted upon the consciousness and social development of Baloch society. A scientific observation is imperative. Baloch youth, brimming with life and hope, are forcibly plucked from educational institutions and streets upon arrest and consigned to torture cells for extended periods. Even upon release, many are left mentally paralyzed, their thoughts monitored by the Pakistani army and its clandestine agencies. Individuals are coerced into forced exile, transformed into living corpses, or coerced to assist the Pakistani army against their own people, remaining indifferent members of their society.

Cases of suicide post-release from enforced disappearances are documented, underscoring the devastating toll. Enforced disappearance represents the harshest form of collective punishment, impacting not only individual families but the entire region of Balochistan. Fear pervades healthy political and educational activities of children, with relatives resorting to street protests.

At the Baduk check post in Pasni, ‘Mehbob,’ a student of ‘Lasbela University, forcibly disappeared by Pakistani military personnel after being removed from a bus. Similarly, protests erupted against the enforced disappearance of Shoaib Liaquat, Jahanzeb Fazal, and Zarif Mohammad Bakhsh, The protest concluded with the police assuring that the majority of the forcibly disappeared youths, who were illegally detained, would be falsely implicated in cases to justify their arrest and detention.

Regrettably, family members, feeling helpless, often acquiesce to illegal demands in which individuals are taken from their homes and falsely implicated in cases. Youths are associated with Baloch armed organizations, transferred to prisons far from their districts, and subjected to trials inaccessible to their families. Due to the absence of proper legal defense arrangements, they face convictions in fabricated cases, detrimentally impacting their education and lives.

Human rights organizations must focus on these issues, providing legal assistance to those imprisoned in Balochistan jails who were previously forcibly disappeared by the Pakistani army. Shedding light on the overlooked aspects of the ‘enforced disappearance’ issue is crucial to ensuring justice is served. The Pakistani army’s relentless repression seeks to coerce individuals into compromising their human rights.

Killing of Detainees after War with Baloch Sarmachars in Mach

From January 29 to February 2, a conflict instigated by Baloch Sarmachars resulted in a war between the Pakistani Army and the Baloch Sarmachars in the town of Mach, located in the Kachi district of Balochistan. During this engagement, lives were lost among the Baloch Sarmachars, acknowledged by the relevant organization. However, in response, the Pakistani army claimed that five individuals, already in its custody, were involved in attacks on military interests in Mach. The bodies of these individuals were taken to Civil Hospital Shaal.

There is evidence of the enforced disappearance of all these persons. Relatives of some were also present at the Islamabad sit-in against enforced disappearances.

Among the identified bodies, Bashir Ahmad Marri, son of Haji Khan, and Arman Marri, son of Nihal Khan Marri, were forcibly disappeared on July 2, 2023. Sobdar, son of Gulzar Khan, was forcibly disappeared from Harnai Bazaar on September 9, 2023. The relatives of these individuals took part in the Islamabad sit-in, urging their recovery. The fourth body was identified as Shakeel Ahmed, son of Muhammad Ramzan resident of Zehri, who, according to his family, was forcibly disappeared on June 4, 2023.

The Pakistani army employs the tactic of custodial killings in cases of enforced disappearances to instill terror in Balochistan and portray its unsuccessful operations against Baloch activists as successful. This strategy is aimed at concealing the significant issue of enforced disappearances through deceptive tactics and falsehoods. The army’s claim that enforced disappearances are part of an armed freedom struggle against them is debunked by the traditions of the Baloch Armed Organizations and the substantial evidence at hand. Members of these organizations have not been implicated in the list of enforced disappearances, and their families maintain a clear stance when reporting such incidents.

The killing of detainees linked to the Mach incident reflects the continuation of the Pakistani army’s brutal actions. For the Pakistani army, concepts like mercy and human rights hold no meaning. This cycle of violence will persist until it is halted by influential entities and international intervention.

Military Aggression in Bolan, Use of Force against Innocent Civilians

Justifying its offensive, the Pakistan Army is currently engaged in extensive operations against Baloch militants across a wide area. These actions are disproportionately impacting the civilian population rather than specifically targeting Baloch militants.

Pakistan’s occupation of Balochistan and its conflict with the Baloch nation cannot be justified under any circumstances. The Baloch nation has an inherent right to defend itself in the face of this imposed war. In this conflict, the Pakistani army assumes the role of an aggressor, while Baloch Sarmachars strive to defend their national identity and survival. The Pakistan Army, despite its claim to professionalism, consistently violates the rules of war and human rights in this ongoing struggle.

Contrary to the claims made by Pakistani military officials, the actual situation presents a starkly different reality. Pakistani military personnel deliberately targeting civilians, engaging in looting, torturing unarmed women, children, and the elderly, and perpetrating sexual abuses against women. Although the Army attempts to justify these actions in the media as counteractions against “Sarmachars,” it is evident that their primary targets have consistently been the civilian population.

Rather than maintaining a measured response and adhering to professional conduct during casualties, Pakistani military personnel resort to collective punishment—a practice not justified in armed conflict.

During military operations, extensive areas are cordoned off, cutting off access to information. When access is eventually restored, horrifying stories of enforced disappearances, starvation, and sexual abuse surface. Concerns persist that the ongoing military operation in Bolan may culminate in yet another tragedy against humanity.

Limited yet reliable sources from the affected areas report instances where the Pakistani army, in recent aggressions, surrounded the residence of a man named ‘Ali Jan’ in the Shaban area of Sibbi, adjacent to Bolan, holding women and children captive. In the Dahdar suburbs, the Pakistan Army has reportedly detained and forcibly disappeared women and children belonging to the herdsman ‘Malaya,’ setting their homes ablaze.

Local complaints suggest that military personnel are using captured women as shields of war, exacerbating the dire situation where people are running out of essential supplies, and the wounded and sick are left untreated.

An urgent investigation into the actions of the Pakistani army is imperative. At the international level, just as protection for the general population is mandated during wars, parties involved are obligated to uphold human rights. The people of Balochistan are entitled to the same rights as any other human beings in conflict zones. The international community should press the Pakistani government to grant access to international organizations and media for a comprehensive review of the actions of the Pakistani army in these areas.

Baloch Sarmachars engage in guerilla warfare, with hideouts located away from cities and populations. Despite this, the Pakistani army consistently encircles civilian populations during military actions, leading to repeated complaints of human rights violations. The silence on these matters is detrimental to the dignity of humanity.

Enforced Disappearances by Pakistani Forces

  • Torture victims | 28
  • Extrajudicial killings | 5
  • Enforced disappearances | 33

Districts and areas from where Enforced disappearances are reported

  • Kech |4
  • Gwadar | 1
  • Awaran | 5
  • Sibi | 2
  • Kachi | 4
  • Kharan |4
  • Nushki | 2
  • Mastung | 1
  • Khuzdar | 2
  • Bolan | 1
  • Karachi | 1
  • Isalamabad | 1
  • Quetta | 3
  • Kahlu | 2
  • Total Cases | 33
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