English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Ahead of women’s day, US report unveils Pakistan’s gender atrocities in Balochistan

Balochistan is on a boil over abuse and exploitation of the local Baloch community (Photo: Gwadar_e_Tawar/Twitter)

A scathing report by the Washington-based MEMRI pins down Pakistan for the abductions of Baloch women. In a report released on Monday, MEMRI says that the Baloch women are “arrested without a warrant, sent to secret locations, denied a lawyer, and physically and psychologically tortured”.

A series of events in Pakistan over the past few weeks has highlighted how the South Asian country has been assaulting Baloch women in a bid to stymie the nationalist movement that has taken hold of the Baloch masses. These include the discovery of mutilated bodies in a well in Barkhan, the abduction of Mahal Baloch as well as the kidnapping of women of the Zehri family in Quetta.

The country’s track record of hate towards its women can be found in the hostility shown to the organisers of the Aurat March.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent non-profit focused on bringing analysis and translations of trends in the Middle East and South Asia. The report on abductions of Baloch women has been written by Rudam Azad – Baloch writer and human rights activist.

The MEMRI report quotes Baloch NGO, Voice for the Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), “more than 45,000 people have been forcibly disappeared by the Pakistan Army, and more than 5,000 missing persons have been ‘killed and dumped’ over the last decade”.

It highlights how Pakistan runs “secret torture cells” where unknown numbers of people have died during interrogation and about which Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Farhatullah Babar had spoken about in 2017.

Narrating how Pakistan has launched a crackdown on Baloch women on a large-scale, the report highlights the excesses of the military operation conducted by the Pakistani Army in the mountain ranges of Bolan on October 31, 2022 in which “shepherds were killed, their huts burned, their livestock looted, and houses were bulldozed to ground”. Nearly a dozen women and children were detained in this operation who were released after the intervention of tribal leaders from the area.

Narrating one of the most brutal examples of excesses by the military, the report mentions how the granddaughter of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and the sister of Baloch Republican Party (BRP) leader Brahamdagh Bugti, Zamur Bugti and her daughter Jaana Domki were shot dead in cold blood on 31 January 2012. Zamur, the wife of Balochistan provincial assembly member Mir Muhammad Bakhtiar Khan Domki, was made to witness the death of her daughter Jaana before she was shot dead by bike-borne killers.

Though the detailed report gives a number of examples, another gruesome State-sponsored kidnapping is that of Baloch artist and poet Habiba Pir Mohammad who was abducted from her Karachi residence on May 19, 2022. She was kidnapped by Pakistani Rangers in the middle of the night and has not been heard of since.

The report says that many Baloch women might have been used as sex slaves by the Pakistan military, concluding that “the massive scale of rapes and extra-judicial killing of Baloch women and children requires international intervention. An international court of justice needs to be mobilized in order to investigate the slow-motion genocide of Baloch civilians”.

To read the full MEMRI report, click here.