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Pakistan: Report reveals ‘worrisome’ statistics on severe human rights abuse in Balochistan

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Pakistan’s prominent human rights organisation, Baloch National Movement’s human rights department, Paank, in their monthly report highlighted worrisome statistics about the human rights oppression in Pakistan.

In the report, Paank mentioned that a total of 28 torture victims, five extrajudicial killings, and 33 enforced disappearances were recorded in February. The same report further mentioned the alarming rise in cases of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Balochistan.

It further said that the issue of enforced disappearances is a “persistent source of fear and anguish within the Baloch society, perpetuating an unending cycle of pain”.

“Despite vigorous protests from the Baloch nation and international organizations issuing statements, there has been a distressing lack of discernible change,” it added.

The report highlighted the enormous instances on social highlighting statistics of those released from enforced disappearance and illegal detention.

It called for an urgent need for in-depth research to comprehend the profound damage inflicted upon the consciousness and social development of Baloch society. A scientific observation is imperative.

“Baloch youth, brimming with life and hope, are forcibly plucked from educational institutions and streets upon arrest and consigned to torture cells for extended periods. Even upon release, many are left mentally paralyzed, their thoughts monitored by the Pakistani army and its clandestine agencies. Individuals are coerced into forced exile, transformed into living corpses, or coerced to assist the Pakistani army against their people, remaining indifferent members of their society,” it stated.

The report mentioned that between January 29 and February 2, a conflict between Baloch Sarmachars (insurgents) and the Pakistani Army in the Kachi district of Balochistan led to many loss of lives.

Among the Baloch victims whose bodies have been identified, Bashir Ahmad Marri and Arman Marri were forcibly disappeared on July 2, 2023. Sobdar was forcibly disappeared from Harnai Bazaar on September 9, 2023. The relatives of these individuals took part in the Islamabad sit-in, urging their recovery. The fourth body was identified as Shakeel Ahmed, a resident of Zehri, who, according to his family, was forcibly disappeared on June 4, 2023.

The report also mentioned the issue of military aggression. The Pakistan Army is engaged in “extensive operations against Baloch militants” across a wide area and these actions are “disproportionately impacting the civilian population” rather than specifically targeting Baloch militants.

“Pakistan’s occupation of Balochistan and its conflict with the Baloch nation cannot be justified under any circumstances. The Baloch nation has an inherent right to defend itself in the face of this imposed war. In this conflict, the Pakistani army assumes the role of an aggressor, while Baloch Sarmachars strive to defend their national identity and survival,” it stated.

The Pakistan Army, despite its claim to professionalism, consistently violates the rules of war and human rights in this ongoing struggle, the report said.

It also highlighted that contrary to the claims made by Pakistani military officials, the actual situation presents a starkly different reality.

“Pakistani military personnel deliberately targets civilians, engages in looting, torturing unarmed women, children, and the elderly, and perpetrates sexual abuses against women,” the report stated.

“Although the Army attempts to justify these actions in the media as counteractions against ‘Sarmachars’ it is evident that their primary targets have consistently been the civilian population,” it added.

The same report also mentioned that the highest number of enforced disappearances was recorded in the Awaran district.