Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada) has released an urgent appeal to save the life of Qazi Dad Mohammad Rehan, General Secretary of Gwadar Press Club and former Information Secretary of BNM. Mr. Rehan is a journalist of rare courage and a colleague of Abdul Hameed Hayatan whose bullet-ridden body was found after his abduction by the Pakistani security forces. BHRC appeal has been sent out to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, U.N., international organizations of journalists, congressional representatives, members of parliaments, and world leaders in Europe, Canada, and U.S.
January 22, 2011
Ms. Irina Bokova
Director General UNESCO
Subject: Urgent Appeal to Save the Life of a Baloch Journalist in Pakistan
Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada) has released an urgent appeal today expressing serious concern over the Pakistani paramilitary’s attempted abduction of Qazi Dad Mohammad Rehan, 27 in the coastal town of Gwadar, Balochistan. Thirty soldiers of the Frontier Corps (FC) in three vehicles with the intent to abduct him raided Mr. Rehan’s house on December 13, 2010 under the direct orders of Colonel Mahboob Ali, Commander FC, Gwadar. Military Intelligence (MI) officers and uniformed soldiers of the paramilitary arrived in vehicles with Frontier Corps licence plates and surrounded the house in the early hours between 2 am – 3 am. Luckily, Mr. Rehan escaped prior to the raid and the soldiers severely beat up his brothers and questioned them about his whereabouts.
Ironically, this happens to be the same town from where Abdul (Lala) Hameed Hayatan, 25, a Baloch journalist went missing on October 25, 2010 whose bullet-riddled body was discovered on November 18, 2010 outside the city of Turbat. His friends and family reportedly believe that Pakistani security agents are responsible for his disappearance and in-custody killing. Abdul Hameed Hayatan was a colleague of Mr. Rehan and both were involved in activism and members of the Baloch National Movement.
Mr. Rehan’s life is in extreme danger and once the Pakistani security forces take him away, he will never live to see the light of the day.
Mr. Rehan is the Secretary General of Gwadar Press Club, a journalist, poet, and the former Information Secretary of Baloch National Movement (BNM). He also is the bureau chief of Daily Tawar, editor of Murwarid, a Balochi literary magazine, and publisher of a blog. He is the voice behind the enforced disappearances of Baloch youth and journalists in Balochistan today, struggling against the complete media blackout in the Pakistani newspapers on the issues of gross human rights violations committed by the Pakistani intelligence agencies in the province.
According to Reporters without Borders (RWB), out of twelve journalists killed in the line of duty in Pakistan this year, four belong to Balochistan including the recent target killing of Muhammad Khan Sasoli in Khuzdar, Balochistan.
The Pakistani paramilitary and intelligence services have devised a policy of blocking all information to media by harassing, illegally abducting, and target killing of Baloch journalists. Several Balochistan-based newspapers, online daily papers, and websites have been banned or shutdown. Enforced disappearances in Balochistan have exceeded the number of people gone missing in the Pinochet era Chile in the 1970s and equals the 13000 mark during the ‘Dirty war’ in Argentina (1976-1983). In the last six months alone, the Pakistani security forces abducted and tortured to death 72 Baloch activists including students and journalists and dumped their disfigured bodies in the open fields.
Mutilated bodies of Mr. Qambar Chakar and Mr. Ilyas Nazar were found near Turbat on January 5, 2011. Both the bodies clearly showed signs of severe torture with several bullets shot in the head. The Pakistani security forces abducted Mr. Chakar, 24, a student of Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS) on November 26, 2010 for the second time. Mr. Ilyas Nazar, 26, a journalist was whisked away by the Pakistani paramilitary on December 22, 2010. Enforced disappearances, illegal detention, torture, extra judicial and in-custody killings have become rampant in Balochistan with a complete media blackout on the gruesome incidents.
Mr. Rehan has sent out an S.O.S. message to the international community, human rights bodies, and organizations for the protection of journalists to save his life. The message indicated that the paramilitary forces have surrounded the coastal town of Gwadar, controlling all the points of entry and exit. He desperately said in the message, “There is nowhere to hide or escape, the circle of death is closing upon me and the Pakistani security hounds are after my blood.”
BHRC (Canada) appeals to the international community, leaders of the western democracies, human rights groups, and the world journalist community to save the life of Qazi Dad Mohammad Rehan. We should not wait for his bullet-riddled body dumped and found in a field.