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Murder and rape of teenage women in Barkhan likely to broaden Baloch movement

Balochistan minister Abdul Rehman Khetran has been arrested for the Barkhan murders (Photo: Twitter)

The triple murder case of a woman and her two sons in Barkhan, Balchistan, threw up a twist after the police found the allegedly murdered woman alive and rescued her children from an isolated place in Kohlu.

The developments happened after police surgeon Dr Aisha Faiz said that the body brought to the hospital was not of the 40-year-old Granaz but a 18 year-old girl who had been raped, shot thrice in the head and her face burnt with acid. After this stunning revelation by the doctor, the police began conducting raids to trace Granaz and her children.

Earlier, three bodies had been recovered from a well near Balochistan Minister for Communications and Works Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran’s residence, resulting into a big agitation by the Marri tribe. Besides the allegations of the triple murder, it was also said that the minister was maintaining a private jail where other children of the woman were being illegally held.

Khetran was arrested by the police on Wednesday. Abdul Khaliq Sheikh, Inspector General of Balochistan, told the media that Khetran is being interrogated by senior police officers. The government has formed a special investigation team to probe the murders.

Khetran has denied the allegations saying that his political image is being targeted. Meanwhile, former prime minister, Imran Khan has condemned the incident and demanded the arrest of the culprits.

The three dead people who belong to the Marri tribe, led to major protests by the kin and the Marri tribe members in Balochistan capital Quetta. The protestors demanded that Prime minister Shehbaz Sharif meet them. The mysterious deaths added fuel to the nationalist fire raging in Balochistan.

Jehangir Marri, the central office-bearer of the Marri Ittehad Pakistan, said: “We want fair investigation without fear and favour”.

Different tribes met at a jirga on Wednesday and asked the government to accept the demands of the marri tribesmen who are protesting in Baloch capital Quetta.

The Marri tribe, along with the Bugti and the Mengal tribes, has been leading the nationalist movement for an independent Baloch nation. The leaders have been demanding political autonomy, adequate share in the resource extraction from the province as well as the non-settlement of other communities – particularly Afghans and Pushtuns in Balochistan.

The Baloch have turned against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), particularly the Gwadar port as they say they have been kept out of the economic opportunities generated by CPEC. The Baloch rebel organisations have joined hands to attack Chinese interests and nationals leading to a decline in Islamabad’s diplomatic relations with Beijing.

The protests by the marri tribe over the triple murder have coincided with those over the arrest of Mahal Baloch, who had been abudcted by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) last week over charges of being a would-be suicide bomber. Baloch organisations have organised protests over ‘enforced disappearances’ against Mahal’s abduction, who has since been remanded to police custody, across the province.

Activists have taken the Mahal abduction and detention to foreign lands. On Wednesday, the Baloch National Movement (BNM) held a protest in the Netherlands asking for the release of Mahal. Earlier this week similar protests had been organised in front of 10 Downing Street in London asking for the UK’s intervention to stop human rights violations in Balochistan and Sindh.

The community is up in arms over the rise in assaults of Baloch women and the abduction of students from their community.

Also read: Pakistan atrocities touch new low as abducted Baloch woman is docked as suicide bomber