The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Pakistan claimed in two separate statements that it had killed several ‘militants’ in shootouts in Balochistan’s districts Mastung and Nushki. Baloch rights groups, however, argue that the alleged ‘militants’ were documented missing persons who were picked up from different areas of Balochistan.
The CTD claimed that ‘militants’ killed in Mastung Shootout had targeted the procession carrying the dead body of a man who was murdered in a targeted killing in Mastung. The CTD said that ‘militants’ had targeted the procession in a bomb explosion, injuring multiple civilians.
The CTD said on Monday that it had launched a search operation in Mastung for the culprits, which had led to an armed confrontation between the alleged militants and the forces. The CTD said that several ‘militants’ had been killed whereas four soldiers of the Pakistani forces were injured.
Local sources in Mastung claim they had heard explosions and repeated firing that day, but these claims are yet to be verified.
Baloch rights groups have refuted CTD’s account of the events, claiming that the alleged ‘militants’ were documented Baloch missing persons who were detained by the security forces from different areas of Balochistan.
The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, a human rights group campaigning for the safe release of Baloch missing persons, said in a media statement that the five men killed in the alleged confrontation were Baloch missing persons.
The VBMP identified one of the deceased men in the Mastung incident as Abdullah Satakzai s/o Sultan Satakzai, a resident of Quetta. It quoted Satakzai’s family that he was picked up four years ago. VBMP identified the remaining men as Mushtaq s/o Abdul Rasheed, Ali Ahmad s/o Taj Muhammad, Habib Ur Rehman s/o Abdul Samad, Muhammad Dawood, Tabish Waseem, Salal s/o Abdul Baqi Badini, Fareed s/o Abdul Razaq and Niyaz s/o Abdul Bari.
The other operation of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in the Nushki district of Balochistan has been also declared fake. Three of the deceased have been identified as missing persons.
According to a statement issued by the CTD, four alleged Baloch militants were killed last night in Zarin Jangal area of Nushki during an operation against the suspects. CTD says that the mentioned persons were involved in target killing, bomb blasts and attack on Noshki FC headquarters on February 2.
CTD officials have claimed that arms and ammunition were also recovered during the operation while the bodies of the suspects were shifted to Kharan Hospital.
TBP discovered from an investigation that two of the said persons belong to Nushki, who were forcibly disappeared at different times. Salal s/o Abdul Baqi Badini was forcibly disappeared from Railway Cooperative Housing Society Brewery road Quetta on October 6, 2022. Whereas, Fareed s/o Abdul Razaq Badini disappeared on September 28, 2022 from Quetta.
It should be noted that Salal Badini was previously forcibly disappeared from Lahore on March 5, 2022, and was released in August. Along with the Salal, another young man Haroon Badini son of Shahnawaz Badini was also went missing and his his whereabouts still remain unknown.
While the third man identified on Tuesday is Tabish Waseem, a budding poet from district Khuzdar, who was detained by the Pakistani security forces on June 9, 2021. Tabish was picked up for writing a poem against “enforced disappearances.” The Balochistan Post also reported his disappearance in 2021.
Meanwhile, the VBMP said it had received information that Muhammad Dawood was also mentioned in the list of the Baloch missing persons, but his family has not confirmed his status yet.
Baloch political workers and human rights activists have asked the relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate the incident and deliver justice to the families.
It is pertinent to mention rights groups accuse the Counter-Terrorism Department of Pakistan of rounding up innocent Baloch missing persons and shooting them dead at point-blank range. CTD has made claims of killing Baloch ‘militants’ in armed confrontations, but they don’t hold water when subjected to rigorous scrutiny.
Related: CTD – The Encounter Specialists of Balochistan – TBP Report
In July, the CTD claimed it had killed nine fighters of the Baloch Liberation Army, a “pro-independence” group, in an armed confrontation in Ziarat. It later transpired that the nine men were Baloch missing persons who were detained by Pakistani forces.
Following the harrowing Ziarat incident, the families of victims and other Baloch missing persons carried out a sit-in protest in the provincial capital Quetta that lasted for over a month. The protestors demanded that the government must launch a judicial inquiry to investigate the Ziarat incident and assure the families that their loved ones would not be harmed and that they would safely return home.
The sit-in protest ended when the Interior Minister of Pakistan, Rana Sanaullah, personally visited the protestors and assured them that their demands will be met “not in weeks but days.” But these promises are yet to be entertained.