Pakistani security forces delivered six unidentified bodies to Quetta Civil Hospital’s administration on Saturday, claiming they were Baloch insurgents killed during a clearance operation in Mach, Bolan, following a significant attack by the Baloch Liberation Army. Concerns were raised by Baloch nationalists and human rights activists that the bodies might belong to Baloch missing persons, who are often rounded up and killed by security forces in ‘staged encounters’ and subsequently labeled as terrorists. These concerns appear to have been valid.
Four of the six bodies have been identified as those of Baloch missing persons. Jan Achakzai, Balochistan’s Caretaker Minister for Information and Public Relations, stated that the security forces have killed at least 24 people in the clearance operation in Bolan and its surroundings.
Two of the bodies at Quetta Civil Hospital have been identified as Basheer Ahmad, son of Haji Khan, and Arman, son of Nihaal. Both individuals were ‘forcibly disappeared’ in June 2023. Their families had participated in the Baloch Yakjehti Committee’s protest against Baloch genocide in Islamabad.
The other two identified were Subaidar, son of Gulzar Khan, detained from Harnai in September 2023, and Shakeel Ahmad, son of Muhammad Ramzan, a resident of Zehri, who was picked up in June 2023.
Initially, the hospital administration refused to release the bodies to their families. However, following protests by the families and the Baloch Yakjehti Committee, the administration relented.
The BYC confirmed it has details of four deceased individuals, believed to be Baloch missing persons. The families were pressured to sign a form acknowledging their deceased family members as Baloch insurgents. They refused to sign and questioned who was demanding the form, to which the administration vaguely replied, ‘people from above.’
BYC leaders held a press conference in Quetta following the identification of the four deceased individuals as missing persons. Dr. Mahrang Baloch addressed the crowd, stating that despite numerous families marching to and protesting in Islamabad against the Baloch genocide, and despite the thousands who took to the streets in every city in Balochistan, the Pakistani state has not altered its ‘brutal’ policies in Balochistan.
Dr. Mahrang Baloch confirmed that four of the six bodies in Quetta Civil Hospital have been identified as Baloch missing persons, and it is feared that the fifth may also be a missing person. She called on the international community, stating that the continuation of ‘staged encounters’ in Balochistan is a clear refusal by the Pakistani state to change its policies.
Dr. Mahrang Baloch also called on the people of Quetta to gather in the Civil Hospital and join the protest against Baloch genocide.