PAKISTAN: A political activist was killed after abduction and his body was found hanging from a tree

Mr. Rasool Bux Mengal, joint secretary of Baloch Nationalist Movement (BNM), was abducted on August 23, 2009 by plain-clothed men on a double cabin and had since been missing. On August 31, Mr. Mengal’s body, with his identity card around his neck, was at a remote location. The wounds on the body suggest the victim’s subjection to torture, including numerous cigarette burns and words carved by sharp edged instrument saying “down with BLA”. The BLA stands for the Balochistan Liberation Army which has been fighting against military action in the province since 2002. The BNM and other nationalist groups in Balochistan suspect that the army and the FC are responsible for the abduction, torture and murder of Mr. Mengal.

Mr. Mengal is the second high-ranking office bearer of the BNM to be murdered after the abduction and murder of the movement’s chairman, Mr. Ghulam Mohammad, earlier this year on April 3. Mr. Mohammad was abducted along with two other activists from his lawyer’s office by armed Frontier Constabulary (FC) officials, who took them away in at least three FC cars, according to eyewitnesses. The three political activists were kept in incommunicado after their disappearances and were tortured in military cells. (Please refer to the urgent appeal:

The above incidents are by no means isolated cases in the Balochistan province. Most recently, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has also received a number of reports of disappearances:

1. Dr. Din Mohammad was abducted by state intelligence agencies in July and he has since been missing.
2. On August 1, 2009, two young members of Balochistan National Party, Lateef Baloch and Javed Baloch, were arrested by the FC at 10pm in Khuzdar city. When they were handed over to the police two days later they were in precarious condition. They were severely tortured and forced to confess that India is involved in funding the nationalist movement in Balochistan.
3. On August 25, 2009, Saad Ullah Baloch, the young son of Haji Abdul Raheem, was abducted from Khuzdar by men in FC uniform in a black double cabin. His whereabouts remain unknown.

Despite the startling frequency with which illegal abductions occur, the government of Pakistan has chosen to remain silent on the plight of political activists in Balochistan. Although President Asif Zardari announced in 2008 that military action in the province would be immediately halted, disappearances and extra-judicial killings of activists continue. The situation is deliberately allowed to worsen in order to provide justification for the army and paramilitary forces to remain permanently in the province, to obtain control over natural resources.

The AHRC urges the government of Pakistan to put an immediate end to the rampant abductions and extra-judicial killings of political and nationalist activists. The FC officials responsible for the killings of Baloch activists should be brought before the law and the victims of arbitrary arrests and detentions must be released. The government is advised to initiate a political dialogue with nationalist groups lest the situation in Balochistan further deteriorate. The government should also withdraw the army and the FC from Balochistan and hand authority over all provincial affairs to the provincial government.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-183-2009
Countries : Pakistan,