Pakistan: Baloch Missing Persons

( March 22, 2012, Balochistna, Sri Lanka Guardian) Nobody knows about the history of the missing persons during the military operations in Balochistan, however Asad Mengal, the eldest son of former Chief Minister and Baloch, the elderly nationalist Sardar Attaullah Mengal is considered to be the first known victim at the hand of intelligence agencies during 1973 insurgency when he went missing from Karachi. He is believed to have been whisked away along with a friend by state forces and might have been executed and buried somewhere in the country.
However later hundreds of more Baloch people went missing during the military operation. Around seven thousand Baloch youth went missing during the current phase of insurgency that started from 2000. The paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies are blamed to have been behind the on-going missing or “kill and dump” of Baloch youth by their family members and relatives. Although hundreds of people were whisked away and killed during the operation in the restive districts of Balochistan under the garb of encounters or clashes between forces and insurgents, Ali Asghar Bungalzai is considered the first case of missing persons when he was picked up by the intelligence agencies in 2001 and after few weeks was released. Later after some eight months, Bungalzai was again whisked away and till now, no body knows his whereabouts. During early years of his illegal confinement, the personnel of intelligence agencies have been meeting the family members and assuring for his early release.
Although the incidents of missing persons taking place in the province have been reported in the press during the last twelve years, it is widely believed that only 20% or 30% cases are reported in the newspapers. It is believed that over seven thousand people have gone missing during that period and their dead bodies were thrown in the streets and desolate places after being tortured and later killed. Well known political and student leaders, professors, political activists, lawyers, intellectuals, Journalists, human rights activists are among the missing persons. Some of them include Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, the President Baloch National Movement his deputy Lala Munir Baloch and Sher Mohammad Baloch and Jalil Reiki, the central leaders of Baloch Republican Party, Sana Sangat a student leaders.
In the wake of enforced disappearances, the members of affected families decided to form a purely non-political organization on with the name of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) to raise the voice over human rights violations besides seeking the attention of international human rights organizations. The Voice with the passage of time collected the complete data of over thirteen hundred people who have gone missing. There are a number of affected families in the remote areas of the province who either are unable to contact the Voice or do not want to contact it due to the fear of being harmed or their missing persons to be killed by the state agencies.
The state agencies have been harassing the office bearers of VBMP to stop them from their democratic, legal and constitutional rights of staging protest and raising voice over the human rights violation being committed in Balochistan. Abdul Qadeer Baloch, the vice chairman of VBMP has time and again been warning by the state agencies to give up protest and wind up the hunger strikers’ camp established for the last couple of years in Quetta and Karachi. However when Qadeer ignored these warnings rather demanded of them to release his young son Jalil Reiki, a central leader of Baloch Republican Party, they killed Jalil and his bullet riddled body was fund in a desolate body. Similarly Nusrullah Baloch, the Voice Chairman has been facing similar threats.
The Voice has established a camp in front of Quetta Press Club where the kith and kin of Baloch missing persons including children under eight have been observing token hunger strike in favour of their demand for the release of their family members.

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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