AI urges govt to probe killing of missing Balochis


Amnesty International on Tuesday asked the Pakistani government to investigate the alleged torture and killing of more than 40 political activists of Balochistan over the past four months.
“Activists, politicians and student leaders are among those who have been targeted in enforced disappearances, abductions, arbitrary arrests and cases of torture and other ill-treatment,” the rights watchdog said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The violence takes place against a backdrop of increasing political unrest and Pakistan Army operations in Balochistan,” it said. “The Pakistani government must act immediately to provide justice for the growing list of atrocities in Balochistan,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director.
“Baloch political leaders and activists are clearly being targeted and the government must do much more to end this alarming trend,” he was quoted as saying. “Among the latest victims of the ongoing violence are Faqir Mohammad Baloch and Zahoor Baloch, whose bodies were discovered in the Mastung district on October 21.
Faqir Mohammad Baloch, a poet, was abducted on September 23,” he said. Zahoor, a member of the Baloch Student Organisation-Azad was abducted on August 23. Media reports said both had been shot in the head at point blank range and their bodies bore torture marks.
“The discovery of the two bodies is part of a growing trend of kill and dump operations. Bullet-ridden bodies of those who have been abducted, many showing signs of torture, are increasingly being found across Balochistan. Previously, the bodies of missing persons were rarely recovered,” Amnesty said.
It said, “The relatives and activists often accuse the Pakistani security forces and intelligence agencies of carrying out these violations. A previously unknown organisation, Sipah-e Shuhada-e Balochistan, has also claimed responsibility for some of the killings.” “The government’s failure to prevent abuses has emboldened the perpetrators behind these atrocities,” Zarifi said.
“The government must show that it can and will investigate the military and Frontier Corps, as well as intelligence agencies, who are widely accused of playing a role in these incidents,” he said.
Amnesty International warned that the rise in enforced disappearances and kill and dump incidents had aggravated political tensions in Balochistan and led to reprisal killings by Baloch armed groups.
It urged all sides in the conflict to respect human rights and stop all torture, enforced disappearances, abductions, targeted killings and indiscriminate attacks.