Human rights violations in Balochistan have continued in the year of 2023, a year of persistent brutality and despair. This year witnessed a sharp increase in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Hundreds of Baloch have been extra-judicially kidnapped by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), Pakistan Army and its military intelligence agencies. The year 2023 started tragically with the enforced disappearances of 18 Students.
Despite constant protests and demonstrations from the families of enforced disappeared Baloch, the dead bodies of their loved ones have been thrown in different part of Balochistan.
The Army, frontier corps (FC) and Counter- Terrorism Department (CTD) continued to forcibly disappear and extrajudicially kill civilians during operations with full impunity.
On April 25, 2023, General Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry, Director of Public Relations Department of Pakistan Army, held a press conference and admitted that Pakistan Army had conducted 4040 military operations in Balochistan from January till March. This admitting is noteworthy as the Pakistani army has been in denial about the scope and extent of its operation in Balochistan. Pakistan military has turned Balochistan into an extended military camp, causing immense suffering and have disastrous economic, social and psychological consequences for the local population.
On November 19, 2023, three Baloch youths from Balgater district Kech were placed in a car and later the car was destroyed with a bomb blast. Victims were three Baloch youths who had been taken into custody from a different location in Turbat. The authorities falsely claimed these men were victims of a roadside bomb, but evidence indicates otherwise. Investigations revealed the involvement of the Pakistan Army, and the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in staging the whole bomb blast as excuse for extrajudicially killing of these three young Baloch.
Another horrific incident that took place few days later again in Turbat, District Kech, became the impetus behind the Long March against Baloch Genocide on 23rd November. Sparked by the extrajudicial killing of four young Baloch namely Balach, son of Mola Bakhsh, Shakur, Abdul Wadood, and Saif Baloch. The relatives of Balach Mola Bakhsh protested this custodial killing, kept his body at Shaheed Fida Chowk Turbat, and refused to bury it.
After being detained by state forces from his home, Balach was forced to disappear and then killed extrajudicially. Balach had been granted a 10-day physical remand by the court before being killed and was supposed to appear before Judicial Magistrate Turbat on November 21.
In a reaction of enforced disappearances, persistent non-recovery of forcibly missing persons, and staged encounter killings in Turbat, protests were held in Kech for 16 days. The families of Baloch Missing Persons along with Baloch Solidarity Committee, Civil Society Turbat, Baloch Women Forum, and Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, commenced an extended long march from Turbat to Quetta on December 6, 2023.
Later it witnessed that the long march from Balochistan to Islamabad received a warm welcome by public. Thousands of Baloch came out in different cities to express their solidarity with the families of victims.
Entering the capital city of Islamabad, the marchers faced obstacles and were batons charged by police. To prevent marchers from moving forward, the Islamabad Police blocked roads. The police used violence and detained many protesters, including children and elderly women.
The Human Rights Department of the Baloch National Movement PAANK fervently appeals to global human rights organizations and institutions to lend an ear to the participants of the Long March, highlighting the Baloch Genocide, and the grievous human rights violations in Balochistan.
Monthly reports on human rights violations have been published by the Paank. These reports show the severe human rights violations committed by the Pakistani state.
Our annual report shows that 576 individuals were forcibly disappeared, 75 individuals were killed, and 261 individuals were later released.
The trend of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance is a clear violation of international law and the UN conventions. The right to life and freedom from torture are enshrined in numerous international agreements, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on civil and political rights, and the Convention Against torture.
The PAANK urges international organizations to take proactive steps to address these grave abuses and restore justice and dignity to the Baloch people. The rights and well-being of the Baloch population must be safeguarded, and the perpetrators of human rights violations and enforced disappearances must be held accountable for their actions. International organizations have a crucial role to play in advocating for justice, raising awareness, and supporting efforts to bring an end to these atrocities.
Paank Recommends the Below.
- International organizations should exert pressure on the Pakistani government to immediately cease human rights violations and enforced disappearances in Balochistan.
- Human rights monitoring teams should be deployed in order to objectively investigate and document the situation on the ground.
- Support should be provided to organizations and individuals working towards promoting human rights, protecting victims, and advocating for justice.
- Sanctions and diplomatic measures should be considered against the Pakistani government where it fails to address these issues and hold the responsible parties accountable.
- The human rights violations especially in the form of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killing and fake encounter in Balochistan demand urgent attention and intervention.
An Overview Of All Paank’s Monthly Reports for 2023