Balochistan security review: Sharp fall in target killing of settlers

Published: December 28, 2011
It’s been a mixed bag for the province, where kidnappings and sectarian violence spiked significantly. PHOTO: FILE

It’s been a mixed bag for the province, where kidnappings and sectarian violence spiked significantly. PHOTO: FILE


While violence appeared to have declined in Balochistan in 2011, its contours also changed, data available to The Express Tribune suggests.

There was an unprecedented decline in the number of target killings of settlers from other provinces, particularly from Punjab, but it was coupled by a sharp increase in the discovery of bullet-riddled bodies of missing persons, sectarian violence and kidnappings for ransom.

“Target killing has been controlled in the province,” insists Rao Amin Hashim, inspector-general of Balochistan Police, pointing to records that suggest that as many as 59 settlers were targeted this year – significantly lower than a triple-digit figure for 2010.


Kidnappings were on an unprecedented high this year, sending shock waves through the province. Traders and businessmen, particularly those from the minority Hindu community, were very vulnerable.

As many as 480 people, including Hindus and Parsis, were kidnapped by criminal gangs. Most victims were released after paying huge amounts in ransom but those who failed to furnish the amount were killed. The police managed to bust a few of these gangs, but their performance left much to be desired. “Police personnel do not have mobile phone trackers and other modern equipment. There is also a lack of proper investigators and senior and qualified officers,” Hashim explained.

Sectarian violence

Ninety-one members of the Shia community were killed this year in Balochistan.

In Quetta alone, as many as 65 people were killed in 15 incidents of sectarian violence while 26 pilgrims were shot dead in one incident in September in the neighbouring town of Mastung.

But police says that sectarian violence has been controlled by increasing security for Shia people in Quetta and ‘restricting’ their movement outside of it.

“After heavy deployment of police and other law enforcement agencies’ personnel to protect Shia Muslims, violence has been controlled,” Hashim argued, saying that the measure had been taken despite a lack of human resources. “We promoted 25 junior officers but despite the federal government’s orders, they have not joined their
duties in Balochistan because of deteriorating law and order.”

Missing persons

The trend of ‘kill-and-dump’ operations continued unabated throughout the year. Protests were organised in spite of hampered political activity, even in provincial capital Quetta.

Around 231 mutilated bodies were found throughout the province, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

“Demonstrations or public gatherings were rarely held in Quetta but towns in interior Balochistan, particularly Makran Division and central Balochistan, remained shut for weeks in protest over recovery of mutilated bodies,” says Tahir Hussain, chairperson of the HRCP’s Balochistan chapter.

Family members, many of whom blame security forces for kidnapping and killing of political opponents, have registered cases but little progress has been made even in the Supreme Court.


Armed Baloch nationalist groups continued to target public property, such as gas pipelines and railway tracks. Rockets were also fired in various areas, including Dera Bugti, Nasirabad and Makran divisions and Quetta.

The Balochistan Republican Army claimed responsibility for most attacks on railway lines.

As many as 218 personnel of law enforcement agencies were killed in exchange of fire and bomb blasts.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Dec 28, 2011 - 11:17AM

    Sharp fall in target killing of

    How about the vice-versa statistic?


  • Baloch
    Dec 28, 2011 - 4:19PM

    Baloch are being killed on mass scale. Recovery or tortured and bullet-riddled bodies are leading us closer to independence.

    Azaad BalochistanRecommend

  • Dec 28, 2011 - 8:56PM

    Kill balochis and they will believe they’re closer to independence as more and more are sacrificed whereas develop Balochistan and they will believe they’re a part of you.


  • pakistani
    Dec 28, 2011 - 9:20PM

    nobody actually knows what happening in balochistan…..they r killing inocent peoples,settlers they kil r labourer,poor peoples,minners,doctors teachers,and justifing that is their right….and way of protest.decrease in killing settler is because they r died or left quetta…..



  • Furqan Ahmed
    Dec 29, 2011 - 12:09PM

    Although the situation of Baluchistan is not good even in Quetta also, but the provincial government’s statement and Federal Government statements are as always… All is well….. specially the IG Baluchistan lolz.

    Good work Shehzad!! thumps up to u


  • friend of quetta
    Dec 29, 2011 - 8:50PM

    another target killing of dr baqir shah… innocent poor doctor,who stood for truth… now there r few teachers n doctors left in balochistan.. n you are claiming that there is decrease in target killing


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