Balochistan: four persons arrested in two different cities, fake encounters suspected

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Four persons have been reportedly arrested by the Pakistani forces in Quetta and Gwadar on Friday. Many are apprehensive that the detained individuals might be liquated in fake encounters by the security forces. 

According to reports, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Pakistan arrested two individuals from Sariab area of the provincial capital Quetta on Friday. The CTD has claimed that the detainees had explosives and bomb-making materials in their possession.

The CTD spokesperson said that they had been tipped off by an informant that two members of a proscribed “pro-independence” group will be travelling to Quetta with the mission of attacking the Pakistani security forces. The CTD, acting on the intelligence, conducted a raid in the Sariab area of Quetta and arrested the two individuals before they could carry out any attack. 

The CTD further said that the detainees had confessed in an interrogation that they had been sent by the Baloch Liberation Army – the fiercest of the armed groups operating in Balochistan and beyond – to Quetta to carry out “terrorist” activities there. The spokesperson said that the detainees had also given information about the other BLA members operating in Quetta, and the CTD is carrying out raids to apprehend them. 

In another development, the Pakistani security forces reportedly carried out a raid on a house in the Dhore Ghatti area of Gwadar in the dead of the night. They reportedly confiscated a motorcycle and other possessions of the householders and also arrested two guests staying in the house. The detainees – identified as Akbar s/o Syed and Chirag s/o Murad Baksh – were moved to an undisclosed location. 

According to the sources, at least 11 “enforced disappearances” have been carried out in Balochistan in the past four days. In the previous month, the families of the Baloch missing persons staged a sit-in protest in the federal capital Islamabad, demanding an end to the rampant “enforced disappearances” in Balochistan and the safe recovery of their loved ones. They ended the sit-in protest after assurance from the Pakistani government that Prime Minister Imran Khan will personally meet and assuage their grievances in March. 

It is pertinent to mention that the Counter-Terrorism Department of Pakistan reportedly killed five Baloch missing persons a few days ago in a fake encounter, labelling them as facilitators or members of Baloch “pro-independence” groups. The five persons had been “forcibly disappeared” a few months ago from different areas of Balochistan. 

In the wake of Friday’s arrests, many have raised the alarm that a similar fate might await the arrestees. They say that the Pakistani security forces might liquidate the arrestees in a fake encounter, just like how they did a few days ago.


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