Saturday, April 12, 2014

PAKISTAN: Stop the massacre in Balochistan by the military

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the killing of around 40 persons in military operations in different parts of Balochistan province conducted yesterday (7 April) during which it has used helicopters for aerial bombardments. Among the casualties were women and children. The Frontier Corp of the Pakistan Army conducted the operation for the search of guerillas from the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). During this year the FC has conducted several operations in their search for militants during which they have killed more than 100 innocent citizens. The provincial Minister of Interior Affairs stated that 30 to 40 insurgents were killed including women and children during yesterday’s operation. The Pakistan military and civilian government takes a very harsh view of the Baloch secular movement for the rights of their people. On the other hand they are appeasing the Pakistani Taliban who have killed more than 50,000 civilians and soldiers in different suicide bombings and acts of slaughter for the implementation of their version of Islam during the past ten years.
The BBC Service has reported that the Frontier Corp (FC) of the Pakistan Army has conducted operations against the Baloch militants in the Kalat district of Balochistan and the FC claims that it has killed dozens of insurgents and seized large numbers of arms and ammunition including rocket launchers, automatic weapons and hand grenades. The FC operations against Baloch citizens were conducted by a special wing of the FC under the command of the Inspector General of the FC, Major Mohammad Ijaz Shahid who is from Punjab province.
The nationalist groups and the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) told the media that a number of commandos from the Special Operations Wing of the Pakistan Army carried out an extensive operation in Kalat, Johan and the nearby mountains of Nushki. More than six helicopter gunships were used in the operation.
The BRP says Pakistani forces laid down heavy bombardments of the civilian populated areas where at least twenty innocent Balochis, including women and children have been killed. Some of the deceased have been identified as Safullah Baloch 8, son of Jan Muhammad Baloch, Nisar Gul 5 and two children of Baloch political activist Najeeb Baloch also martyred in the brutal bombardment by the Pakistani military. Over 20 houses belonging to civilians have been completely destroyed and more than two dozen innocent Balochis were abducted by the Pakistani military forces during the operation. As usual in these operations, the houses of poor Balochis were set ablaze and their livestock looted. It is reported from Mashkai that Pakistan’s army troops also carried out an operation in the Nokjho area of Mashkai yesterday. However, no exact figure of casualties has been received from Kalat and Mashkai as the affected areas are still under siege by Pakistani troops. The provincial Minister for Interior Affairs, Mr Sarfaraz Bugti, told the BBC that helicopters were used for logistic purposes only and not for bombardment. He also admitted that one helicopter was grounded when the insurgents retaliated.
Balochistan has remained under military operation in the presence of elected civilian governments. The Pakistan army runs its own parallel government and does not respect the autonomy of the provinces. During this year the FC conducted more than six operations in many districts of the province and killed more than 100 citizens including women and children. During these operations the FC arrested dozens of Balochis and their whereabouts at present are unknown. The bodies of many disappeared who were arrested during the operations have been found on the roadside bearing marks of torture.
On January 14, the army carried out a door to door operation in Dera Bugti and torched many houses. In Turbat, paramilitary forces raid a hostel and recovered letters. The Pakistan Army carried out a search operation in the Gopat area in Sui, Dera Bugti districts and burnt down several village houses during the operation in which they harassed women and children.
The Frontier Corps conducted a raid on the Atta Shad Degree college in Turbat and recovered materials included leaflets, banners and posters. The books include Nehru and Gandhi’s biographies as well as books about Balochistan independence. On 25 January, six people were killed by Pakistani security forces during military operation in Tasp area of Panjgur district. Pakistani military forces launched full-fledged operation in Tasp and Paroom earlier on Friday morning. Later the army extended it across Panjgur district. A large number of armored vehicles of Pakistani forces raided the Baloch villages in the Tasp, Panjgur and indiscriminately targeted the civilian populated areas. Six, including two women of Shahmeer Baloch’s family have been killed as army bombed his house in Tasp area in panjgur, BRP Media Cell reported. Sources said that Army is using Gunship helicopters and heavy artillery in Panjgur operation. Many houses of the Baloch villagers were destroyed due to heavy bombardment of Pakistani security forces. Similarly, abductions of two Baloch youths were reported in Sui.
On 3 March, a heavy military operation was carried out by the Pakistani Army in Shapuk and several other areas of Turbat, Balochistan.
Pakistani Army started a deadly military operation in Shapuk, Sami, Sherak and several other areas of Turbat Balochistan at midnight. Local sources said that large numbers of ground troops with tanks and heavy artillery besieged almost entire Turbat district and launched the operation. Residents of the areas including women and children were harassed and brutally beaten up by the personnel of ruthless Pakistan Army. On 23 March, the occasion of country’s Republican Day, The FC conducted a military operation in Kech of Balochistan during which five persons were killed and several women were injured during the raids at their houses. The deceased have been identified as Sameer son of Naseer kamalan, Haji Kamal son of Musa, Murad Hasil along with his two sons, Akram and Islam. While eight people Asim son of Gul Muhammad, Muheem son Asim, Sagheer son of Ameet, Meero son of Hussain, Imam son of Hussain, Aalim s/o Hussain, Perviaz son of Mazar Baloch and Jalal son of Mazar Baloch were abducted by Pakistani forces during operation from the Pidrak region..
On April 2 the Pakistani army carried out raids in the Gramkan area in Panjgur district of Balochistan and abducted eighteen persons including three members of same family.
According to the details available a large number of Pakistani army troops surrounded Gramkan and the adjacent villages and launched a deadly operation. Army personnel tortured and humiliated women as they resisted the abductions of their loved ones. Sources said that they also looted valuables from the houses during the operation.
Please write letters to the authorities calling on them to initiate a high judicial inquiry commission for the probe of military operations and extrajudicial killings of innocent persons. The operations against the Balochi people in the name of operations against terrorists must be stopped. Please urge the Pakistani government to withdraw the army troops including the Frontier Corps and other Para Military forces from the Punjab and make public the report of various commissions on the issues of Balochistan including disappearances and extrajudicial killings. The government must pay compensation to the family members of the persons killed as a result of the military operation.
The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of Extra judicial killings and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of the indigenous peoples calling for their intervention into this matter.
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