Quetta, 19 April 2023. In its fact-finding report titled Balochistan’s Struggle for Hope launched in Quetta today, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed deep concern about the mounting public frustration in Balochistan over enforced disappearances, economic exclusion, curbs on press freedom, misgovernance, and allegations of political manipulation by the establishment. Based on an HRCP fact-finding mission conducted in October 2022, the report documents a palpable sense of anger among ordinary citizens, many of whom referred to Balochistan as a ‘colony’ of the state.
The report consists of interviews with a wide range of civil society members, including human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, and members of the fisherfolk community, as well as political leaders and members of the administration in Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, and Quetta.
The human rights abuses by the Pakistani State in its estranged province of Balochistan through enforced disappearances, torture, and summary executions have been noticed by British members of parliament. In the past few weeks, MPs have asked the government about its policy regarding the disputed region.
On March 10, Pete Wishart of the Scottish National Party asked the British foreign ministry – the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, “… whether his Department has made an assessment of the implications for its policies of the human rights situation in the Pakistani region of Balochistan, including the potential occurrence of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and honour killings”.
Halvash website which covers events in Iran’s Baluchistan says in its annual report that 628 Baluch citizens were killed directly or indirectly by the Islamic Republic agents in the past Iranian year that ended on March 20.
According to the report, 182 Baluch people were executed in 23 prisons across Iran, out of which about 81% were drug-related cases.
At least 167 others have died due to the direct gunfire by military agents in the Sistan-Baluchistan province.
On the occasion of the ongoing 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council, human rights activists called upon the UN to investigate human rights violations perpetrated by Pakistani security forces in Balochistan. In a side-event titled “Human Rights in Pakistan: Balochistan in Focus” hosted by Thierry Valle, President of Coordination des Association et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience, in room number XXII, speakers highlighted various aspects of atrocities faced by the Baloch people in Pakistan.
BHRC general secretary Mr. Qambar Malik provided a brief background of the human rights situation in Balochistan, emphasizing that the Baloch struggle for self-determination directly resulted from Pakistan’s invasion of Balochistan and its forceful annexation into Pakistan in 1948 against the will of the Baloch people.
Babu Mehrab’s family, residing in the Kulanch area of Gwadar, Balochistan has a harrowing tale of pain and sorrow that no one should ever have to endure. For the past twelve years, their lives have been plagued by a collective punishment policy adopted by Pakistani state forces. They have faced the worst kind of violence, with some members of their family forcibly disappearing and some even being killed by the state forces.
The family’s agony began in 2012, when Haider, Babu Mehrab’s elder son, was abducted and forcibly disappeared by the Pakistani forces and has not been seen since. The family had held on to hope that he would one day return, but as the years passed, their hope began to fade.
Following negotiations with the administration, the protester announced to end their sit-in roadblock at Quetta Customs; which was started this morning against Maahal Baloch’s forcible arrest and false allegation of CTD.
A roadblock Sit-in protest was held at Quetta Customs for the release of Maahal Baloch yesterday at 11 am. In the negotiations, the management was given an ultimatum of 48 hours.
Protesters demanded the dismissal of all illegal cases against Maahal Baloch and for her release. Upon consultation with other organizations and parties, strict measures will be taken if she has not been released within 48 hours.