The Unguarded Baloch refugees – TBP Editorial

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Yet again, there are unfortunate reports that four more Bugti refugees have been target killed in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan. Confirming the news, head of Baloch Republican Party and leader of Bugti tribe, Brahmdagh Bugti has said that brutal killing of Baloch refugees in Afghanistan continues. He blamed Pakistan’s secret agencies as the perpetrator of the attack.

The four Bugti tribesmen killed on Sunday have been identified as Ghulam Nabi Bugti, Jangi Bugti, Sakka Bugti and Ameer Jan Bugti. They are believed to have migrated to Afghanistan after Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti was killed in a military operation in 2006.

While hundreds of thousands of Bugti and Marri tribesmen were displaced to Sindh and Punjab, thousands also immigrated to Afghanistan to escape the brutal war and intense military crackdown in the region. Afghanistan is believed to house the the largest population of Baloch immigrants in the world. Similarly, a large number of Baloch from Makuran region have migrated across the Goldsmid line to western Balochistan.

However, the ill fate has not spared these displaced people even in the foreign land. The Baloch refugees are living in exile a life of oppression, helplessness and insecurity due to continuous attacks.

In last few years hundreds of Baloch refugees have been targeted in both Afghanistan and Western Balochistan. Baloch leaders as well as officials of the host countries claim that Pakistani intelligence agencies are behind such attacks. The reporting of these incidents on known social media handles that are affiliated with or support Pakistani security agencies gives weightage to these claims.

The Balochistan Post has kept a tally of such incidents that have happened in last few years, which depict a very grim picture. Only a small number of the incidents are listed below, to understand the gravity of the issue:

– On 3rd May 2018, a Baloch refugee in western Balochistan identified as Essa s/o Mehrab was shot dead by unknown assailants in Gargi area of Iran. Essa was a resident of Dasht in Balochistan.
– Few days later on 22nd May 2018, gunmen opened fire on two Baloch refugees identified as Parzad and Noor Jan. In the incident that occurred in Dashtiyar area of Iran, Parzad was killed at the spot, whereas Mohsin sustained injuries.
– On 22 June 2018, an IED was detonated near a vehicle belonging to a Baloch refugee in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan. While the Baloch refugee survived the attack, an afghan youth lost his life.
– On 9th September 2018, a Baloch youth Sooraj s/o Iqbal, hailing from Alandoor, Bulaida, was shot dead in the Sarawan area of Iran.
– A month later on 8th October 2018, a Baloch man identified as Nisar Zamurani was target killed in Chahbahar city of Iran. A friend of Nisar was also killed in the same attack.
– On 10th May 2019, a VBIED was detonated near the residence of a Baloch refugee in Kandahar city. The said refugee was also targeted few months earlier in a main market, but he had managed to disarm the attacker.
– Two weeks later on 24th May 2019, the residence of a Bugti refugee was targeted with a VBIED in Aino Meena area of Kandahar city. His children sustained injuries in the attack.
– On 28th June 2019, a hand grenade was hurled at the residence of a Baloch refugee, again in the Aino Meena area of Kandahar city.
– On 2nd July 2019, unkown assailants opened fire on a Baloch refugee in Kandahar and shot him dead. The deceased was identified as Arz Muhammad, a resident of Kahan in Balochistan. Kahan has been one of the worst war-affected regions in Balochistan due to repeated military crackdowns.
– On 25th July 2019, a hand grenade was hurled at the residence of a Baloch refugee, once again in the Aino Meena area of Kandahar.
– On 22nd August 2019, three young Baloch refugees were shot dead in the Kargas area of Iran. Two of them were identified as Ishaq and Waheed, while the identity of the third person was not ascertained.
– On 24th December 2019, an IED was detonated neبar the residence of a Baloch refugee in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Women and children sustained injuries in this attack.
– On 3 February 2020, Taod s/o Thambul a resident of Pasni in Balochistan was shot dead in Kargas area of Iran.
– A month later on 5th March 2020, in two separate incidents two Baloch refugees were killed. In the first incident Rahmdil s/o Abdullah was shot dead in Chahbahar city. Subsequently, Master Ali, a resident of Nokjo in Balochistan, was killed in Sarawan city of Iran.
– On 25th April 2020, a Baloch youth identified as Zahid Baloch was killed along with his friend in Iran. Zahid hailed from Kech district of Balochistan.
– Five days later on 30 April 2020, a Baloch refugee Abdul Wahid s/o Shafi Mohammad from Washuk area of Balochistan was killed in Ahmedabad area of Iran.
– On 12th August 2020, the bullet riddled body of a young man identified as Fars Baloch was recovered from Dargas Dam in Iran. He was a Baloch refugee hailing from Dasht area of Kech. He was abducted and subsequently killed.
– on 20th December 2020, unknown assailants shot dead a Bugti refugee Gulbahar Bugti and his son Murad Ali Bugti in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Almost a decade earlier in March 2011, Gulbahar Bugti’s house was also targeted by a suicide bomber in Spin Boldak area of Afghanistan. The attack left Gulbahar’s son Dur Khan Bugti and another person dead, while women and children sustained injuries. Later in 2013, Gulbahar’s grandson Nehal Khan and his nephew Zar Khan Bugti were also killed in Spin Boldak.
– On 9th January 2021, residence of a Baloch refugee was targeted with an IED in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The attack severely damaged the house; however, women and children present in the house miraculously escaped the attack unscathed.
– On 12 March 2021, armed men killed a Baloch refugee identified as Abdul Rehman inside his house in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

However, the attacks against refugees are not only limited to Afghanistan and Iran. Several Baloch refugees in European countries have either been threatened or their family members have been harmed back in Balochistan. Baloch rights groups have also alleged involvement of Pakistani secretive agencies in the deaths of Sajid Hussain in Sweden and Karima Baloch in Canada.

The Baloch political parties also complain that the Baloch immigrants have not been registered by the UNHCR, and have neither been provided with any of the required facilities of life while in exile.

It is very important that international human rights groups including UNHCR ensure the protection of refugees, their properties and fundamental human rights. Similarly, it is also the responsibility of the host countries to provide security to the already despaired people, who have been forced to abandon their home country and all possessions.

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