The abduction of Mahal Baloch, a political activist, and the fabrication of charges against her are a clear violation of human rights and a testament to the Pakistani state’s disregard for international law. The incident highlights the continued state-sponsored terrorism against the Baloch population in Balochistan. The Pakistani forces’ brutal and unfair treatment of Mahal Baloch is an affront to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and international law.
Abduction and Detention
On February 17, 2023, Mahal Baloch and her two young children, Nazenk and Nugrah, were abducted from their home in Satellite Town Quetta, along with Mahal’s mother-in-law, mother, and sister-in-law’s daughter Banadi Baloch. Although the other members of the family were released the following day, Mahal Baloch remains unlawfully detained.
Fabrication of charges
On February 18, 2023, the Pakistani Counter-Terrorism Department leveled spurious charges against Mahal Baloch, claiming that she was found with weapons and ammunition in ladies park, Quetta, despite her house being raided and ransacked. The family has vehemently denied these allegations and further claimed that Mahal was subjected to brutal torture in front of her minor children.
Human Rights Violation
The abduction and detention of Mahal Baloch represent a clear violation of human rights. The UDHR states that every individual has the right to life, liberty, and security of a person, and no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. The Pakistani forces’ actions against Mahal Baloch and her family are in direct contravention of these fundamental human rights.
Furthermore, the Pakistani government has a responsibility under international law to ensure that individuals are not subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. The reports of Mahal Baloch’s torture in front of her minor children are a clear violation of this obligation.
The UDHR guarantees the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. However, Mahal Baloch was denied access to legal counsel at all stages of legal proceedings, and the charges against her were fabricated. The denial of her right to fair trial and the presumption of innocence is a clear violation of the UDHR.
The abduction of Mahal Baloch is also against international law, specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right to liberty and security of person, the right to a fair trial, and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The ICCPR also prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. The Pakistani forces’ alleged torture of Mahal Baloch in front of her minor children is a clear violation of this covenant.
The abduction and detention of Mahal Baloch are part of a broader strategy adopted by Pakistani forces to counter the Baloch resistance. The Baloch population has been subjected to state-sponsored terrorism for decades, with the Pakistani government using its machinery to suppress the Baloch people’s voices for their rights.
Mahal Baloch hails from a political family that advocates for the human rights of Baloch people. Her abduction is a clear example of the Pakistani forces practicing collective punishment against the Baloch population in Balochistan. This action is a violation of international law, which prohibits collective punishment.
Violation of the Right to Fair Trial
On February 17, 2023, Mahal Baloch was produced in front of a magistrate, and It is appalling to learn that she was secretly presented in court and kept under custody on false charges of terrorism The fact that she was tortured both mentally and physically is an egregious violation of her human rights. It is unconscionable that she was kept under remand for not one, but two periods of seven days, and then for an additional ten days. Even more distressing is the fact that, despite assurances from the court that she would not be remanded again, she was brought back and held for yet another ten days, all under the pretext of a joint investigation team.
The flagrant injustice and blatant discrimination prevalent in the Pakistani justice system is an affront to the very notion of justice. The detention of a Baloch woman under the guise of remand for 35 days is a testament to the skewed and biased nature of the system. It begs the question: on what grounds was she detained for the previous 25 days, and who was investigating her? Such a glaring lack of accountability and transparency only serves to further erode trust in the already tarnished system. The double standards in play, where the powerful and affluent are granted clemency and impunity while the poor and disenfranchised are subjected to the full brunt of the law, is an insult to the basic tenets of justice. Unless these systemic deficiencies are addressed and remedied, the very fabric of society will be threatened, and the rule of law is reduced to nothing more than a farce.
However, she was denied the right to legal counsel at all stages of legal proceedings, This is a clear violation of the UDHR, which states that “everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.
Police Brutality on Peaceful Protestors
On February 24, 2023, there were reports of police brutality on peaceful protestors in Quetta. Mahal Baloch’s family was man handled during a protest demanding her release. Peaceful assembly is everyone’s constitutional right and must be respected. However, the police framed innocent Mahal in bogus cases and violently stopped her family them from exercising their right to protest. The police also continuously threatened Mahal Baloch’s family to stop protesting and used force to evict them from their house.
The abduction and detention of Mahal Baloch by Pakistani forces represent a clear instance of state-sponsored terrorism and the suppression of the voices of Baloch people in Balochistan. The violation of human rights in this case, including the denial of Mahal Baloch’s right to fair trial and the use of force and violence against peaceful protestors, is against the UDHR and international law. The Human Rights Organizations must take immediate action to ensure that Mahal Baloch is released and that the perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.