The Pakistani security forces reportedly opened indiscriminate fire on the peaceful protestors who were protesting against the killing of a driver at the hands of the Frontier Corps. Eight people were critically injured in the live fire.
According to the details, a shutter-down protest was observed in district Chaghi for the second consecutive day against the killing of Hameedullah Baloch, a driver who was killed in the Panch Raik area near the Afghan border by the Pakistani security forces. The forces were reportedly confiscating the vehicles of other drivers and when Hameedullah Baloch saw this, he sped away to escape but the forces opened fire on his vehicle and killed him on the spot. Other drivers were forced to leave their vehicles behind and walk over 250kms back to Nokkundi on foot. Three drivers lost their lives while attempting the arduous journey.
The video footage of the incident spread like a wildfire on social media, spurring waves of condemnation and demands for justice. Protests were held in district Chaghi, Quetta, Karachi and Hub Chowki. In Chaghi, the protestors carried placards and banners featuring the portrait of the slain Hameedullah Baloch and chanted slogans against the Pakistani forces. The protestors also blocked the RCD road in protest and halted a freight train travelling from Iran. The protestors also surrounded an office being used by the security forces and set its main gate on fire. The forces opened indiscriminate fire on the protestors and injured several of them. The protest was called off when the local authorities intervened and negotiated with the protestors.
Hundreds of protestors once again took to the roads in Chaghi on Monday in protest. The forces once again opened live fire on the protestors and injured eight. Videos and photos of the incident on social media show the forces firing indiscriminate shots at the crowd. The protestors can be seen ushering their injured companions to vehicles.
The Nokkundi incident and subsequent flagrant show of violence have spurred a series of condemnations from political circles and human rights groups. Haq Do leader Maulana Hidayat Ur Rehman held a protest in the Jeevni chowk in district Gwadar. Addressing the crowd, Rehman said that the Pakistani state has resorted to shooting our people in broad daylight. He said that Balochistan must be demilitarized – the Punjabi forces must be withdrawn; their presence in Balochistan is no longer acceptable.
Rehman said that the “Punjabi army” is responsible for the rising instability in Balochistan. He said that we go out to protest against the forces because we know they are behind the rampant terrorism in Balochistan. He said that the borders have become the bloodbath of innocent Baloch souls – we will not remain quiet. We will hold protests in Quetta after the Eid, he announced.
Balochistan Bar Council also condemned the Nokkundi incident and the subsequent violence perpetrated by the security forces in a media statement. Chairman Executive Committee Ayub Tarin, Vice-Chairman Qasim Ali Gajzai, Rahib Khan Buledi and Advocate Amanullah Kakar issued a joint statement where they said that the security forces have made people’s life hell in the past few days. They said that using live fire against peaceful protestors is illegal and unacceptable.
The bar council said that heirs of Reko Diq and Saindak, one of the largest mines of gold and copper in the world, are suffering for basic necessities of life. They said that several people, including children, were critically injured when the forces opened fire on the innocent protestors in Nokkundi. The bar council announced that all legal proceedings in Balochistan will be boycotted on April 19 in protest.
A demonstration was also organized in Hub Chowki against the Nokkundi incident. Hundreds of protestors blocked the highway and blocked the traffic for several hours. Leaders of the Baloch Yakjehti Committee, the organizers of the demonstration, said that during the holy month of Ramadan, the security forces confiscated the drivers’ vehicles and forced them to make the odious journey back home on foot. At least three people died of dehydration, exhaustion and starvation while making the journey. A driver was also shot and killed by the security forces, they said.
The speakers said that the drivers did not die of exhaustion and dehydration, they were killed. The security forces deliberately threw them in the palms of death. The protestors appealed to the government and the concerned officials to investigate the incident and bring the culprits to justice.
A protest was also held in the provincial capital Quetta where hundreds of protestors carrying placards marched on the roads. The demonstration culminated in front of the Quetta Press Club. The speakers said that the Pakistani state has always exploited Balochistan for its nefarious ends. Our resources have been plundered and we’ve been given death and starvation in return. The speakers said that the Nokkundi incident is a reminder of the genocide of the Baloch people. Only united can oppose tyranny – political resistance is the only solution to the ills of Balochistan. He said that people from all over Balochistan must forget their linguistic, ethnic and tribal lines and united on a common front; each and every one of us has a crucial role to play in this regard.
The Turbat Civil Society also held a demonstration on Sunday against the Nokkundi incident. The participants said that enforced disappearances and kill-and-dumps have become the norm in Balochistan. They said that the borders have been closed and traders have been inflicted with cruelties. Before the Nokkundi incident, the security forces exercised violence on traders in district Kech, abstracted stupendous fines from them and then killed them.
They said that we stand with the Baloch traders in their struggle against the security forces.
The speakers said that the Frontier Corps is the greatest issue facing Balochistan. Instead of resolving the ills of society, the FC is adding to them. As long as the FC is in Balochistan, the lives, property and dignity of the people are not safe – demilitarization of Balochistan is the only solution.