The family of the slain children are protesting on the Shaheed Fida Chowk in Turbat against the Pakistani security forces who allegedly fired the lethal mortar shot that resulted in the death of the two children. The family members claim that the authorities are trying to exculpate the security forces. But they are adamant that they will neither budge from their place nor bury their children until justice is served.
The two children – both siblings – were killed when the security forces fired a mortar shot at the playground that they were playing in. Another child who was near the blast was also injured and her condition is critical. The doctors have said that there are deep wounds on her chest and throughout her body.
Member of All Parties Kech, rights activists and groups, student leaders and the general public participate in the protest. Deputy Commissioner Kech Hussain Jan Baloch came to negotiate with the protestors called on them to end the protest. He said that the security forces are not involved in the incident. He also made it clear that he will not file a First Information Report against the security forces.
The deputy commissioner said that I not defending anyone, but the forces do not kill anybody without any justification. He said that a grenade pin was found at the sight of the explosion, hinting that the explosion might have been an accident. He assured the family members that he will form a committee comprising of the members of civil society and journalists and visit the site where the incident took place.
The family members of the slain minors are adamant that their children were killed by the Frontier Corps. They said that the forces fired the mortar shot from a checkpoint near their house that landed on the ground where the children were playing. They claimed that the forces immediately reached the spot to clear all the evidence.
The family members of Taj Bibi, an elderly woman who was allegedly killed by the security forces, were also present at the protest. Addressing the deputy commissioner, they said that the families of the slain children will witness the same fate that we did. They claim that despite being incriminating evidence against the security forces, the district authorities deliberately whitewashed the murder of Taj Bibi and registered an FIR against “unknown persons.”
A protest rally was also held in the coastal city of Gwadar against the Hoshaap incident where the participants condemned the incident and said that the security forces are abusing their power in Balochistan. The protestors said that such incidents serve to prove that our dignity and honour are no longer safe.
The protestors appealed to the authorities to thoroughly investigate the incident and bring the culprits to justice.
The Baloch Yakehti Committee, a rights group, condemned the incident in a media statement and said that this is not the first time the security forces have misused their authority. The spokesperson for the group said that the security forces breach the privacy of Baloch households with their military operations and indiscriminately slaughter innocent civilians. The BYC said that such incidents have become the new normal in Balochistan: the security forces kill innocent civilians without any accountability.
BYC said that the forces should refrain from this practice and focus on the job they are stationed for.
BLF leader Dr Allah Nazar Baloch also condemned the incident in a media statement. He said that the killing of innocent children is a “war crime” and the local bureaucracy is also complicit in these crimes. He said that whenever the Pakistani forces commit a “war crime”, the bureaucracy are the first one to jump in to defend them.
He said that despite the forces’ warnings and threats, the family members of the slain children are protesting and demanding justice. This is an explicit testament to the fact that the Baloch are no longer susceptible to such threats. He said that by such wanton displays of violence and barbarity, the Pakistani forces are trying to elicit an impulsive decision out of the masses, but that will not happen. We meticulously plan our steps and then act accordingly. Our movement is a movement of patience – and this patience has aggravated the Pakistani authorities to the extent that they are now attacking civilian settlements.
Dr Allah Nazar further said that the Pakistani state can inflict all sorts of tyranny on the Baloch nation; it can slaughter our children, destroy our houses and make our lives difficult. But it can never extinguish the flames of independence that the Baloch bear in their heart. He said that the people playing a double game – doing Pakistan’s bidding under a thin veneer of Baloch nationalism – will be remembered in history for their hypocrisy and complicity.