Participants attending an event in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the topic of “Pakistan’s Baluchistan: Its Human Rights Abuses” have claimed that state-sponsored mass killings, abuse and disappearances are par for the course in that region.
Mr. Tarek Fatah, Executive Director, Baluchistan House, mentioned that Pakistan, through its military and its intelligence agency, the ISI, has been historically engaged in systematic human rights abuses in the region of Baluchistan.
He said, “The ISI practices oppression in a multitude of forms to curb the legitimate demand of the Baluch community. The Baluch people live in a constant atmosphere of fear and insecurity, as the Pakistani army and ISI collude to unleash a brutal human rights regime in the region. One of the most covert means employed by army to subdue the legitimate aspirations of the Baluch people in enforced disappearance.”
Custodial killings have become the order of the day in Baluchistan. As recently as March 2016, two Baluch victim of enforced disappearances, whose name and detail were part of record, were killed and dumped by Pakistani forces in Awaran in a stage encounter. BRP member, Sarwar s/o Haso Baluch was killed and dumped in Chorchori area of Mashkay. He was abducted on 27 February this year by state force.
Soldiers are carrying out arbitrary arrests, humiliating families, maiming civilians, carrying out enforced disappearance and conducting summary execution. They even forcibly put excrement in the mouths of innocent young Baluch .Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, while committing war crimes and crimes against humanity with impunity in Baluchistan does not even want an open discussion on what is going on in Baluchistan.
Ms. Barbara Kappel, Member of the European Parliament, mentioned that state sponsored mass killings, disappearances of thousands of people and extra-judicial executions are the grim reality of Baluchistan.
“The Pakistani army operates dozens of illegal underground torture cells in different parts of the country and various intelligence agencies do not share complete information with each other about their operations and torture cells,” she said.
“She further mentioned that a decision made by even an army subaltern carries more weight than a high court judge does.
She said, “Disappeared Baloch persons from Pakistani Baluchistan have been denied the right to a proper arrest and to a fair trial. There has been evidence of inhuman torture on many of the disappeared persons. Some have eventually been killed and some have been dumped away in half-dead condition.”
Alberto Cirio, Member of the European Parliament, said that although Pakistan is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees fundamental freedoms and rights to all the citizens of a country, the plight of the Baluch minority is pretty sordid, and mired in a systematic abuse of human rights, showing contempt of all international humanitarian laws.
“The international community and human right organization must take urgent steps to prevent the everyday genocide of Baluch people,” he said.
The event was jointly organised by Baluchistan House and Members of the European Parliament. It was attended by MEPs, European Commission officials, representatives from think tanks, European Parliament staff and Baluch diaspora.