Bodies exhumed from Panjgur mass grave are of missing persons, relatives told

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Officers of Frontier Corps (FC), a paramilitary force in Pakistan, have reportedly told a family of missing person that their missing loved one was killed and dumped in mass grave found in Panjgur on 18 July.

According to local TBP correspondent, parents of Khair Baksh, a person missing since 16 June 2014, have been told in Panjgur that their son was killed and dumped in a mass grave, found in Darg-e-Dap, Panjgur.

The mass grave containing dead bodies of at least 4 persons was unearthed on 18 July 2018. Families of missing persons had flocked to the site of the mass graves. However, the bodies were decomposed beyond recognition, therefore, nobody could ascertain the identity of deceased.

Now, Khair Baksh’s family has been given the information after they and families of other missing persons continued daily protests in front of government offices and FC camps in Panjgur for days.

Khair Baksh’s family has since held Fatiha (Funeral ceremony) in his hometown Diz Parom in Panjgur.

“I was summoned to Panjgur FC camp today and informed by an officer of Frontier Corps that one of the dead bodies from the mass grave was my son’s” stated Khair Bakhsh’s father.

According to the Khair Baksh’s Father, FC official told him that they killed and buried his son along with 3 others few months ago.

Khair Bakhsh’s family says that he was abducted on 16 June 2014 by Pakistani forces.

Missing Khair Bakhsh’s family had been protesting for months along with the families of other Baloch missing persons.

TBP also spoke to a cousin of Khair Baksh who said that the recent information provided could be true as a released missing person had told them that he saw Khair Baksh and another missing person Bakhtiyar, while under detention.

“This person also told us that Khair Baksh and Bakhtiyar were taken away from the detention centre almost 6 to 7 months ago and they were not seen later. The released person had believed that both Khair Baksh and Bakhtiyar were released. It is very likely that was the time when both were killed and two of the bodies are of Khair Baksh and Bakhtiyar and were dumped in this mass grave,” Khair Baksh’s cousin said.

However, few believe this information could be untrue and was given to the families to stop their continuous protest.

It is not the first time mass graves have been unearthed in war-struck Balochistan, where Baloch armed groups have waged a war against Pakistan for ‘outright independence’.

On January 25, 2014, three mass graves were found after a shepherd saw pieces of human bodies and bones in Tootak, Khuzdar. According to locals, a total of 169 bodies were later exhumed from the site. Campaign groups alleged that the bodies were those of Baloch missing persons abducted by Pakistani security forces.

The term ‘abducted’ is widely used in Balochistan to connote arrests made by security forces as the arrested are not presented before the court of law and instead kept in military camps.

Mass graves have also been found in Kuchlak, Dera Bugti and other parts of Balochistan.

According to Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), a campaign group by families of missing victims, more than 20,000 Baloch men, women and children are under Pakistani custody. VBMP also alleges that at least 5,000 missing persons have been killed and dumped over last one decade.

International campaign groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International also accuse Pakistani security forces as the culprits of ‘illegal abductions in Balochistan’.

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