PAKISTAN: Disappearances and torture continue despite new government – no control over secret state agencies

Mr. Abdul Wahab Baloch, a peace activist and Baloch nationalist, who was missing since his arrest on May 28, 2008, was released from the custody of the Secret Intelligence Agency of the Pakistan army where he was severely tortured in different locations. Mr. Wahab Baloch was arrested after holding a peaceful demonstration at the Karachi press club against the tenth anniversary of Pakistan’s nuclear experimental detonations along with one of his friends, Mr. Ghulam Mohammad Baloch who was next day released on bail.

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Mr. Wahab Baloch was arrested at 5.30 PM May 28, from Zainub market on his way to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan office. He was taken by a group of more than five persons who threw a bed sheet over him. He was forced into a heavy duty jeep. After 15 minutes of driving the jeep was stopped. Mr. Wahab heard sounds and noises similar to those made by people wearing heavy boots. After he was taken inside he was beaten by fists, boots and sticks for the entire night with little intermission. The interrogators were demanding information on different bomb blasts in Balochistan and also about Mr. Akhtar Mengal, the former chief minister of Balochistan, who was just released after 18 months on the orders of the prime minister.

The next day, May 29, he was shifted to another secret location after once again being covered by a bed sheet; he was again tortured. After some time he was injected with an unknown drug and his body became totally numb and he was feeling that some people are questioning him and some time later he fell unconscious for several hours.

On May 30, when he regained consciousness he was provided with some food and two pain killers and he was not tortured on this day.

On May 31, he was again taken to a further location by the same method with the bed sheet. He was asked by the captors about the bomb explosions in Hub Chowki, an industrial area of the Balochistan province close to Karachi city, capital of Sindh province. He was also interrogated about an unknown militant organisation, the Watan Brigade.

The next day, June 01, he was asked about his connections with two persons, Mr. Humbel and Mr. Gawaram, who were not known to him. During this day Mr. Wahab was threatened to confess his connections with some terrorist’s attacks in Balochistan province or suffer further punishment.

On June 2, at 5.30 a.m. he was again taken into a jeep and after a drive of 20 minutes he was thrown out at the centre of a bridge, known as Kala Pull. Fortunately there was very light traffic so was not badly injured by the act and he was able to reach to his home.

Mr. Wahab reported that he was kept in different places where the size of the cells was not more than 3 by 4 feet with dim lighting. His mobile phone was returned when he was released without the SIM card which contained a great deal of persons information, messages and telephone numbers.

The disappearance of Mr. Abdul Wahab Bloch is the first recorded case of disappearance after arrest during the newly elected government of Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani. Different nationalists and religious groups claim that the disappearances at the hands of state intelligence agencies are continuing unabated. The CIA police deny that they arrested but that he was taken away from the CIA lock up by some intelligence agency. However, they would not identify the agency who took him into their custody.

It is evident that the newly elected government is unable, or perhaps unwilling to stop the menace of disappearances. During the first five months of year 2008 total 39 persons were disappeared (, and only three young persons, Asad, Asif and Khalid, were recovered from the custody of a military intelligence agency after they had been held in custody for two months. According to the Defence of Human Rights, Islamabad, an organization working on disappearances, the Rawalpindi police registered cases of terrorism while the three men were in custody. It is beginning to look as if the government is totally at the mercy of the intelligence agencies that arrest people without any legal obligation and torture them to get confessional statements. Furthermore, the government has still not provided any relief to those 513 persons who were disappeared after arrest and whose whereabouts have already been made public by their families by reports to the higher courts and even, to the Prime Minister.

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the government of Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Gillani to immediately investigate the case of Mr. Abdul Wahab Baloch. He should be offered rehabilitation and paid compensation for the ordeal and torture by state intelligence services. The government must also start investigations into those statements made before the courts by the persons who were kept for several months in the custody of the army and who were tortured for confessions linking them with terrorist’s organizations.


Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-154-2008
Countries : Pakistan,
Campaigns : Stop Disappearances in Pakistan