London: January 11, 2023
Pakistani authorities are responsible for arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, acts of torture, and extrajudicial killings of human rights defenders and socio-political activists in Balochistan, says BHRC annual report for 2022 published today.
According to the report, “from January 2022 to December 2022, 367 persons went missing, and 79 bodies of extrajudicially killed missing persons were identified. Moreover, the bodies of another 58 were unrecognizable; among them, 55 mutilated bodies were recovered in Lahore”. BHRC has verified these figures from different sources and the victims’ relatives.
BHRC annual report provided a brief contextual account of the human rights violations in Balochistan. It highlighted the roles of various security forces, including Pakistan’s military, police, secret agencies, auxiliary militias, and local collaborators, popularly known as death squads, in committing widespread and systematic atrocities. The report emphasized that many of the security force’s actions in Balochistan were tantamount to crimes against humanity. Still, the lack of judicial independence contributed to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes.
BHRC report also noted that the security forces are engaged in the harassment of the family members of victims of enforced disappearance, seeking justice and the fate of their loved ones. For example, relatives of missing people who set up a sit-in camp in front of the Governor’s House in Quetta were repeatedly threatened and asked to dismantle their camp. Moreover, their family members who work in government services or private businesses were harassed in various ways.
” For the last seven decades, Pakistan has been committing serious human rights violations as a policy matter to repress the people of Balochistan, calling for their right to self-determination, and there has been an exponential increase in the state atrocities since 2002. The verified numbers of extrajudicially killed and missing persons during the last 17 years exceed 15 thousand. Nearly a million people have been internally displaced. Thousands have fled the country and now live as refugees in various countries,” read the BHRC report.
BHRC has called for the United Nations (UN) to investigate crimes against humanity committed in Balochistan and prosecute those found responsible.