Pakistan accused over separatists who 'disappear'

Published: July 28, 2011
 Human Rights Watch report says hundreds of so-called "enforced disappearances" have been committed since 2005. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Human Rights Watch report says hundreds of so-called "enforced disappearances" have been committed since 2005. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Soldiers, police and intelligence agencies in Pakistan torture and kill abducted activists in a campaign to quash a separatist movement, a rights group said Thursday.

Hundreds of so-called “enforced disappearances” have been committed since 2005, Human Rights Watch said in a new report into alleged abuses in the southwestern province of Balochistan.

Victims told HRW that they had been picked up from their homes at night by gangs of armed men, questioned and beaten without being told who was holding them or why.

“Pakistan’s security forces are engaging in an abusive free-for-all in Balochistan as Baloch nationalists and suspected militants ‘disappear,’ and in many cases are executed,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW.

The rights group’s report, entitled “We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years”, documented cases of uniformed paramilitary troops, police and the much-feared ISI intelligence agency being involved in the abductions.

(Read: “We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years”)

The government in Islamabad has cracked down on dissent in Balochistan since rebels rose up in 2004 demanding autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region’s oil, gas and mineral resources.

“Pakistani security services are brazenly disappearing, torturing, and often killing people because of suspected ties to the Baloch nationalist movement,” Adams said. “This is not counterinsurgency, it is barbarism.”

One victim, Mazhar Khan, told how he was at a friend’s house in Noshki district in December 2009 when armed men stormed in, blindfolded both of them and drove them to different locations.

Khan was questioned about Baloch political activity and held alone in a dark room for nearly two months before being released on the side of a road near Quetta, the provincial capital.

His friend’s whereabouts are still unknown despite his family fighting a high court battle in which judges have asked the ISI, police, and federal and state authorities to provide information about any charges against the men.

HRW said the number of abductions and executions was unknown but that in 2008 Interior Minister Rehman Malik said there had been at least 1,100 victims of “disappearances” in Balochistan. Other officials have disputed the figure.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • pardesi
    Jul 28, 2011 - 8:39PM

    and you guys have the audacity for criticising us on Kashmir. Compared to Baluchistan, Kashmir is like a pin-prick,Recommend

  • Uzair
    Jul 28, 2011 - 8:42PM

    The boys at Aabpara just dont seem to learn anything – truth is they’re responsible for most of the mess in this country! Btw im not a cia, raw, mosaad or mi6 agent – im a regular paitrotic pakistani! So no name calling please. Peace


  • Uzair
    Jul 28, 2011 - 8:48PM

    @pardesi things are just as bad in indian state of kashmir only difference is the kashmiris have been persecuted since 1947 by indian soldiers! So lets not go there


  • Ashutosh
    Jul 28, 2011 - 9:05PM

    If Pakistani don’t know the correct history (text books), the they are unlikely to learn from their mistake and then they are likely to repeat the mistake …
    In short, Baluchistan may be another Bangladesh in making …


  • Baloch patriot!
    Jul 28, 2011 - 9:10PM

    Blood Of our martyrs won’t go in vain, we will gain our indenpendence Soon InshALLAH!


  • Imran Khan
    Jul 28, 2011 - 9:28PM

    The only solution is unchallenged Independence of Balochistan.

    Pakistan should come out of its inferiority complex and its small little heart and pull back its occupying forces.Recommend

  • Somebody
    Jul 28, 2011 - 9:51PM

    @ Baloch Patriot

    Please get a life.


  • Paras Vikmani
    Jul 28, 2011 - 10:23PM

    Lets see what excuses Pakistanis come up with now.


  • Shahid Orakzai
    Jul 28, 2011 - 10:36PM

    Pakistan is not a very old country and it was made by choice. Our fathers and/or grandfathers made a decision. So if one part of a country wants independence just because they have some mineral wealth; its not happening. And not happening if this independence mpvement is run by a few chieftains who are dreaming to be like the sheiks of dubai. The life of ordinary balochs will remain in the shatters be it an independent balochistan or the corrupt rulers of pakistan.
    The problem is not pakistan rather its the corrupt ruling elite and system. The problems of balochs and all other pakistanis will be solved the day when we learn how to chose our leaders


  • My Name is Knan
    Jul 28, 2011 - 10:53PM

    Why do we really care about Balochistan? The Pakistani government is spending massive amounts of money on trying to defend it. Can’t we just let these people go their own way? They are backwards and intolerant of others. They’ve had enough of us and we’ve had enough of them. Just let them go.

    I’m not sure why India doesn’t do the same with Kashmir BTW. Kashmir is a massive money sink for India and India could just let them go and stop wasting money on them.

    Everybody wins. If your son complains that he does not like living at home even though he’s an adult and you still feed him and clothe him but he can’t live with your rules then tell him to go find his own way without your financial support.


  • G. Din
    Jul 28, 2011 - 11:10PM

    @Shahid Orakzai:
    “The problems of balochs and all other pakistanis will be solved the day when we learn how to chose our leaders”
    Pakistanis have demonstrated quite clearly that they are not only slow learners but most do not even want to spend the effort. It is dobtful if even you have the reservoir of leaders to chose from. Until then, it is a pity that Baluchis must die, we guess!


  • Bangash
    Jul 28, 2011 - 11:13PM

    Baluchistan is not disputed territory so why is it being compared to Kashmir ?


  • Shabbir Baloch
    Jul 28, 2011 - 11:58PM

    Balochistan is an independent nation.

    The problem is the same as Kashmir.

    The core problem is the illegal occupation of both Balochistan and Kashmir by the pakistani punjabi forces.

    The only solution to both problems is the complete withdrawal of pakistani punjabi forces.


  • Tahir
    Jul 29, 2011 - 12:36AM

    And most commenting here are indians disguised as baloch nationals, we know you fund their insurgency…


  • peace lover
    Jul 29, 2011 - 1:01AM

    our baloch brothers and sisters must get their due. they must participate in national development as equals. at the same time, media should should show some responsibility and not portray Pakistan as a lawless land. after all, balochistan is no guantanamo bay or overseas torture cells operated by cia. come on et. have a life.


  • Professor Jahangir
    Jul 29, 2011 - 2:22AM

    @Uzair: If we want to debate with Indians it will do us less harm if we do with Facts. Indian army presence increased in late 80s, so there is no fact in what u said about people disappearing in Indian Kashmir since 1947. As you rightly stated “lets not go there”.


  • Professor Jahangir
    Jul 29, 2011 - 2:32AM

    Simply because nobody is disputing over it does not change the fact that life of people there is not different than Kashmir.


  • sheroz
    Jul 29, 2011 - 4:14AM

    If freedom is a crime then why Pakistan demanded its freedom why India and America fought for independence over a century why Pakistan called it a crime when they are fighting for their independence, I think we all should support Baluchistan and Baloch people . .


  • Skin Taj
    Jul 29, 2011 - 4:51AM

    Answer is very simple……………PAKISTAN….Love it or LEAVE it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Arindom
    Jul 29, 2011 - 6:54AM


    people get killed in Kashmir by Indian forces only when they attack Indian forces. Unlike in Balochistan where people get picked up at dead of night and killed.

    Moreover, Indians have barred non-Kashmiris from settling in Kashmir. But Punjabis are freely settling in Balochistan altering the democraphics there.


  • SKChadha
    Jul 29, 2011 - 7:27AM

    The history has divided Baloch ethnicity into a) Sistan Province of Iran; b) Pakistani Baluchistan; and c) Helmand province of Afghanistan. The history of Durand Line and the ethnic clashes with Iran is the fate which Baloch are facing till today.

    The original homeland of Baloch is north-west Zagros Mountains, Syria, Anatolia and Iran. The area was not part of British Territory but was suzerainty. The Islamic identity of Pakistan brought them closure to Pakistan at the time of partition. However, its accession to Pakistan is strikingly similar to J&K’s accession to India. In Baluchistan the cause of insurgency is its culture and ethnicity and in J&K it is religious fervor.

    Please also read the history of its accession to Pakistan and the social uprisings and full arms conflicts. First in 1948 led by Prince Abdul Karm Khan; Second in 1958 by Nawab Nowroz Khan; Third in 1963-69 by Sher Mohammad Bijarani Marri; Fourth in 1973-77 by Nawab Khair Baksh Marri and Fifth which is going on since 2004 to till date in which Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti gave his Shahadat. The plebiscite or demand for independence in Baluchistan is purely indigenous where as in J&K, it is sponsored by Pakistan. How one can forget the non-violent struggle of Khan Abdul Gaffaar Khan (popularly known as Badshah Khan or Sarhadi Gandhi) against the British Rule in India? Can we forget his social activism and reforming Pushtuns? His ‘Khudai Khidmatgar’ movement is well known world over. Please also read the facts of Turbat Killings and the uprising of Khan of Kalat Mir Suleiman Dawood. It is a fact that the areas of Baluchistan, K-P, G-B, PHK are being run by administration not as a part of Pakistan but as its suzerainty.

    As my friends in Pakistan say about J&K, let us also see as India, how long Baloch or all other suzerainties of Pakistan will remain subservient to Punjab and Sind?


  • adam
    Jul 30, 2011 - 3:37PM

    Dear All, a country can’t be divided over your wishes comments, most of citizens of Pak and India have no idea about the reality, don;t mention history or examples, the problems are all over the World, Baluchistan is not a exception. However, it depends where there is interest and investments from those who are direct enemies and those who are apprently friends but they have big interest in Baluchistan. Sooner or later, this will be happening as no body knows, how many parts their country will be dividing. Take care of your own country, don’t be so wishes, as it causes depression. Check WHO report.


  • adam
    Jul 30, 2011 - 3:43PM

    The statements from Indian citizens make it clear here that if ordinary people in India are so vicious, then how much we can expect from their Government. Ther terrorists are not those who directly involved in bombing, but a major contribution comes from the those who supporting them from under the cover, U guys are one of them. It should be born in mind that the fire you blowing may burn billions, not millions.


  • SKChadha
    Jul 31, 2011 - 9:12AM

    @ Adam:

    For long our Pak brothers are accusing India over Kashmir whereas they are absolutely silent for their own atrocities and human rights violations in area they are treating as their suzerainties (read PHK, GB, FATA, KP, Baluchistan etc.). Why covertly blaming on your own friends and adversaries? It is our Pak brothers who are pursuing this game in J&K since last 63 years and in turn lost East Pakistan.

    How would you like Indian FM visiting Pakistan for talks first have meeting with PHK, Baluchistan rebels …??


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