The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Pakistan recently claimed that it had killed five members of a Baloch “pro-independence” group in a firefight. Baloch National Movement (BNM), a nationalist political party, has identified two of the slain individuals as its members and claimed that they were Baloch missing persons.
BNM identified the slain as Saddam s/o Ismail, a resident of Dasht in district Kech, and Abdul Ghani s/o Liaquat, a resident of Soorak in district Kech. BNM said that Saddam worked as a labourer in the United Arab Emirates. He had returned to Pakistan for vacation when he was detained by the Pakistani forces in a raid on the house he was staying at in Karachi. A social media campaign was also conducted for his safe release soon after his abduction, but to no avail.
The BNM said that Abdul Ghani was also in confinement for the past four years. He was “forcibly disappeared” by the Pakistani security forces on Zero Point in Pasni when he was returning to his home from Karachi, where he worked as a menial worker.
The Baloch National Movement said that there is substantial evidence that all those killed by the CTD were prisoners who had been abducted from different areas of Balochistan and kept in confinement for years. The group said that such “extrajudicial” killing of innocent people is a heinous human rights violation, and the Pakistani forces will be held accountable for it.
The remaining three slain individuals were also identified as Baloch missing persons. These included Abdul Ahad, a resident of Parom in Panjgoor, who was detained when the Pakistani forces raided his house this year; Jameel s/o Muhammad Hassan was “forcibly disappeared” from Panjgoor earlier in March and Sajid s/o Muhammad Sadiq, also a resident of Panjgoor, who was “abducted” in 2018 by the Pakistani forces.
In the past couple of months, the Counter-Terrorism Department of Pakistan has frequently carried out “fake encounters” where they have rounded up innocent Baloch missing persons and shot them at point-blank range. The CTD claims that all these individuals were members of Baloch “pro-independence” groups, and they are killed in confrontations. But rights groups and activists deny these claims – they argue that these individuals were Baloch missing persons.
The CTD claimed on Monday that it had killed eleven “suspected members” of the Islamic State, a radical Islamist group, in a gun battle in Mastung. The spokesperson said that on the basis of an intelligence report, the CTD had surrounded a compound in Mastung suspected of hiding the “terrorists.” Instead of surrendering, the “terrorists” had opened fire on the CTD personnel and were killed in the retaliatory fire.
The slain individuals have not been identified yet, but it is heavily suspected that they might be Baloch missing persons.
The rise in the incidents of “fake encounters” of missing persons by the Pakistani forces have alarmed human rights groups, activists and families of the Baloch missing persons. In the wake of this incident, Sammi Baloch, the Joint Secretary of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, issued a video statement where she expressed concern over these developments. She said that she suspects that the Pakistani forces will kill several other Baloch missing persons in such “fake encounters” and appealed to the families of the missing persons to register the names of their loved ones in the VBMP’s missing persons’ list.