PAKISTAN: Enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings continue unabated in Balochistan

The 30th of August is marked internationally as Enforced Disappearance day but in Balochistan the blatant violation of human rights, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances of the Baloch are continuing at the hands of the State agencies. 

The State institutions and politicians justify their blatant human rights violations under the pretense of Pakistani patriotism; despite the obvious oppression and extreme deprivation imposed upon the Baloch society by this State.

Balochistan’s Home Minister (Sarfraz Bugti) admitted that more than 13,500 people have been arrested in Balochistan during a period of one and a half years, through the National Action Plan. But State officials are unable to provide details or whereabouts of the “arrested” people; even the relatives of the victims are unaware about the fate of their forcibly disappeared beloved.

The arrested people are often killed in staged encounters and are falsely declared to be terrorists. On August 13, 2016, the dead bodies of Gazain Baloch and Salman Qambrani were found dumped in Balochistan. The last time they were seen alive was when they were arrested a year earlier on July 7, 2015, at their residence situated on Qambrani Road in Quetta. At that time, their relatives had gone to the area police station to register a First Information Report (FIR) regarding their abducted loved ones. Gazain Baloch and Salman Qambrani were picked up by State agencies, including Frontier Corps and other forces, in broad daylight, before the eyes of hundreds of citizens.

The police outright refused to file the FIR. Then the aggrieved people contacted the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), and the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), and registered details with them for assistance in safe recovery of the enforced disappeared Gazain Baloch and Salman Qambrani. Sadly such examples exist abundantly in Balochistan.

The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons repeatedly received complaints from affected families that torture is routinely used to coerce confessional statements from the detainees. One such example is the confession statements of Abdul Bari Nichari. The relatives of Abdul Bari Nichari communicated that he was arrested by police on October 19, 2015, after a quarrel with his cousins and put in lockup at a police station. Afterwards, the involved parties resolved their conflicts and he was released. Astonishingly, in a video aired by the provincial government, Mr. Nichari is seen confessing about a bomb blast in local bus which occurred on October 19, 2015. It is absurd to think that a person who was arrested on October 19, 2015, and in custody of the police could have detonated a bomb blast on a bus the same day.

This and other such incidents raise serious questions about the transparency and authenticity of confessional statements extracted from detained people by government officials. The organization VBMP has already challenged the authenticity of confessional statements from detainees, but now the evidence has validated those concerns.

The organization has revealed that enforced disappeared people are charged in fraudulent cases, and they are also being killed in fake encounters. Most often their bodies show marks inflicted by extreme acts of torture. Afterwards, the victims are falsely declared as terrorists. But the State institution’s trickeries have now been publicly exposed.

Regrettably, neither has any government agency or even the Judiciary intervened in the ongoing inhuman activities in Balochistan, nor has the international community given sufficient attention to the atrocities committed on the Baloch. Here, in Balochistan, the media has also failed to fully portray the real picture. Hence, all these factors give the State forces full impunity to commit human rights abuses and enforced disappearances.

The organization Voice for Baloch Missing Persons often receives complaints from victim families that they are being harassed by State forces to withdraw from their struggle for safe recovery of enforced disappeared persons. The organization condemns the inhuman acts of government institutions and demands judicial rights and due legal process for all including Baloch missing persons, because the national and international laws guarantee human rights to citizens without any discrimination.

In accordance with 30th August International Day for Enforced Disappearance, the organization Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) once again invites attention of political parties, human rights organizations, and justice providing bodies, and urges the international community, along with the United Nation, to play their due role to investigate the catastrophic human rights abuses in Balochistan and reject Pakistan’s illegal practice of enforced disappearances.


The views shared in this statement do not necessarily reflect that of the AHRC.