21 missing persons killed in identical fashion

By Shehzad Baloch

QUETTA: Enforced disappearances in Balochistan continue unabated as the situation worsens and the recovery of the number of bullet-riddled bodies in the province is at an all-time high.

Twenty-one bullet-riddled bodies of missing persons, including two lawyers, have so far been found from different areas of Balochistan including Quetta, Mastung and Khuzdar since July 4, 2010. Invariably, all victims were Baloch and were killed in a similar manner.

The victims were shot in the forehead and a bullet passed through the skull besides signs of torture on their faces, hands and other parts of their bodies. Their hands were also tied to the back of their body with ropes. “I have attended several bodies. All of them were killed similarly,” said Dr Baqer Shah from the Bolan Medical College Teaching Hospital.

Taking hostage the Baloch political activists and students espousing nationalistic ideas started during the government of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, but the body of no missing person was recovered in such a way, journalist Mohammad Kazim said.

“We know who killed Zaman Marri therefore we neither made an appeal to the government not to the lawyers’ community,” said a cousin of Marri, one of the lawyers whose body has been found.

An organisation with the name of Sipah-i-Shuhada-i-Balochistan (SSB) has claimed responsibility for killing some of these people. “This is an organisation of relatives of people who were killed in incidents of target killings in Balochistan,” said Abdullah, who introduced himself as the SSB spokesperson in a statement published in local newspapers.

He warned that his organisation will target the activists of the defunct Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), Baloch Liberation Front, Baloch Republican Army, Lashkar-e-Balochistan, Baloch National Front and Balochistan National Party (Mengal).

Voice for Missing Baloch Persons (VMBP), an organisation striving for the recovery of missing persons, accuses security forces and intelligence agencies of killing missing persons in illegal detention.

“Our apprehensions are coming true regarding the lives of missing persons. All such persons will be killed in this way by government agencies,” alleged Nasrullah Baloch, chairman of VMBP. He said it was a humanitarian issue and the government, judiciary and other institutions have failed to recover a single missing person.

Baloch added that people have been witnesses to how security forces picked up someone from their family or friends. He claimed that so far 31 bullet-riddled bodies had been recovered, while 10 bodies remain unidentified.

“Petitions were also filed in the Supreme Court and the Balochistan High Court, but the relatives of missing persons have not been helped,” he said.

Baloch said that some women have been on a hunger strike for five months to draw the attention of humanitarian organisations, but in vain. “Now we want international human rights organisations to intervene,” he said.

Inspector General Frontier Corps (IGFC), Major Gen Salim Nawaz dispelled the impression that the FC has detained people. “It is baseless and Frontier Corps personnel never resort to such things,” he added.

On August 14, 17 people belonging to Punjab were killed in Quetta and Bolan by armed men. The BLA had taken responsibility for the killings and said it was a reaction to the killing of Baloch missing persons.  Security forces deny such allegations and call them baseless.

Journalist Kazim said that people expected normalcy to return to Balochistan after the political government came to power, but unfortunately all hopes of improvement have faded away and hatred has increased with the passage of time. (Courtesy: Express Tribune)