Jan 25: Remembering the Mass Graves of Tutak, Balochistan

1Remembering Martyrs of Mass Graves of BalochistanCan humanitarian relief be imagined in an atmosphere of continued human rights abusive? Can humanitarian operation be imagined alongside of military operation? Can disaster relief center be imagined in the midst of a mass grave?

People living in a civilized society can’t imagine how a death squad can organize a disaster relief center, how a military operation can be managed in the name of humanitarian operation and why people start to migrate to save their lives from the so-called humanitarian relief using helicopter gunships in aerial bombardments over villages.

All that is possible in Pakistan, the so-called “Land of the Pure”

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 on Richter scale hit Balochistan on September 24, 2013 followed by a 7.2 magnitude shake on September 28, 2013.

Baloch nation rushed to help their brethren in the disaster zone. Camps were setup in and out of Balochistan to collect donations and relief goods for the victims. Medical camps and distribution centers for relief goods were setup in district Awaran, the epicenter of the earthquake, and other effected areas. International humanitarian organizations requested the Pakistani government for permission to send in volunteers and relief goods in the disaster zone to help the victims.

Pakistani government not only turned down the international request for helping Baloch victims of earthquake, but also clamped down on relief camps managed by Baloch volunteers.

The Pakistan army was sent in to assist the so-called civilian government in relief operation. The army brought with them Jihadi mindset religious organizations to setup relief camps. The idea was to make inroads in the political thinking of the locals. Baloch called it a tactic to crush the Baloch liberation movement as Awaran is the home town of Dr. Allah Nizar and considered a strong hold of Baloch Liberation Front (BLF). This allegation was not only dismissed by the government but many Pakistani liberal commentators wrote that the earthquake victims are being used by Baloch nationalists for their political goals.

Lt. Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch, a federal minister in Nawaz Sharif government, personally led and guided the operation from a helicopter with ground troops advancing to the surrounding mountains. This mission in the earthquake zone had nothing to do with relief operations – their goal was to hunt down Baloch freedom fighters.

On January 25, 2014, mass graves were found at Tutak; district Khuzdar, largely reported in the local media as well by human rights bodies. Tutak is a town located approximately 250 Km Northeast of Awaran. 169 decomposed bodies were found from the graves. The army moved in quickly, cordoned off the area, barring civilians from visiting the site. It is worth mentioning here that the area was under the control of Pakistani state sponsored death squad commander, Shafiq Mengal.

Among the 169 bodies only three have been identified till now. Other bodies have been moved to Quetta and nobody knows what happened to those. Information retrieved from ID cards in their pockets, three bodies identified were named Qadir Bakhsh, Umar and Naseer.

Umar and Naseer both brothers, sons of Bahiyaan, residence of Ziarat Dan, Awaran were abducted by Pakistan army on October 4, 2013 from Awaran during the so-called earthquake relief operations. Qadir Bakhsh son of Miskaan Baloch was also abducted by Pakistan army on September 15, 2013 from his home town, Peerandar, Awaran during the so-called humanitarian operations.

These three decomposed bodies of Umar, Naseer and Qadir Bakhsh are a proof of Pakistani army’s covert military operation in the name of relief operation in Awaran during the earthquake disaster. This was the sole reason why international aid agencies were not allowed to enter Awaran, Balochistan. What the Baloch nationalists feared came true – many Baloch social and political activists went missing during army’s so-called humanitarian operation in Awaran.

Mutilated, tortured bodies recovered from the mass graves of Balochistan are still waiting for justice from the civil society and the courts of law. Families of Baloch missing persons are still waiting for their loved ones to come home. Balochistan still bleeds from the wounds inflicted upon by the state and its security agencies.

The struggle for the liberation of Balochistan that Pakistani army conspired to wipeout of Awaran continues with a roar. The voice of thunder still can be heard around the world from the mountains of Mashkay, Awaran.

Resistance till Victory

Long live Free and United Balochistan

Baloch Vanguards


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