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Shot dead by Pakistani forces in front of his parents – the shocking story of Hayat Baloch

Hayat Baloch

People of Balochistan province in Pakistan dread August. It is during this month—on August 11—that the Balochs celebrate their independence day and it is in this month that they also suffer maximum casualties, year after year. 2020 has been no different. In yet another cold-blooded, heinous, targeted killing in the Turbat area of Kech district last Thursday, a day before Pakistan's Independence Day, a 25-year-old man named Hayat Baloch was shot dead by the Frontier Corps (FC) right in front of his parents.

Hayat, a final year student of University of Karachi's department of Physiology, was reportedly working with his parents in their palm tree orchard when the FC convoy picked him, tied him with his mother's headscarf, dragged him for a few hundred metres and then pumped seven-eight bullets into him. With the university closed due to Covid-19, the youngster had come home to help his poor parents. Heart wrenching, extremely disturbing, pictures of the parents of Hayat Baloch mourning the death of their young son as he lay dead in their arms in a pool of blood have gone viral on social media.

"The callous killing of young Hayat Baloch was horrific and was the worst example of the brutality the Pakistani army carries out frequently in Balochistan. For the last two decades, Pakistan has been targeting and killing intelligentsia from all spheres of Baloch society.

So far, countless teachers, students, doctors, engineers, lawyers, and other capable people have been killed. The assassination of Hayat Baloch is also the continuation of the same policy. Attempts are being made to describe the incident as accidental, but we believe that such a promising youth with a bright future has been killed after being identified. Because besides being a worthy and capable student, he has also been active in various social and welfare volunteer activities. Such activities are definitely a pain in the neck for Pakistan," said Khalil Baloch, chairman of the Baloch National Movement.

Baloch activists said such examples of terror can only be traced in the ranks of notorious ISIS while in the rest of the world it is unimaginable to kill an unarmed youth in front of his parents for no apparent reason. They believe that, in Pakistan's eyes, the Balochs are mere slaves and have no legal or human rights. Hayat's killing hasn't gone unnoticed. Massive protests have erupted in Turbat against the Pakistani establishment.

Not too long ago, the same kind of agitations and rallies were witnessed in the region after the horrific attack on four-year-old girl Bramsh and the murder of her mother by members of 'death squads' outsourced by the Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies to kill, abduct, and terrorize people of Balochistan.

Deaths and disappearances, of the enforced kind in particular, in Balochistan do not seem to gain much traction in the media for reasons that, reinterpreting the words of former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, fall into the 'known unknowns'. Known because almost every Pakistani knows exactly what these reasons are and unknown because it's deemed unhealthy to mention those openly so, like the proverbial elephant in the room, they go unacknowledged… This was a tragedy waiting to happen because of the culture of impunity that law-enforcement officials seem to enjoy.

"With each incident, the colonial face of Pakistan is becoming more apparent. Earlier, many youths have been shot dead in front of their parents by the brutal army of Pakistan. Speaking of Kech only, Mulla Rafiq in Dasht-Kuros Tank and earlier Mulla Rafiq's brother Hayat Bewas, who was disabled due to military torture was dragged out from his home and fire opened on him in front of a whole village. Video of Mulla Rafiq's murder also went viral on social media.

Suleiman Baloch, a senior BNM activist, was killed in front of his family in Kech is another example. There are hundreds of such killings," says Khalil Baloch. The human rights organizations all over the world are aware of the genocide that is taking place in Pakistan. From Geneva to New York and London, the Balochs have constantly made foreign politicians and media aware of the gross violations taking place back home in Pakistan. However, there is no end to Pakistan's brutality.