Human rights violations in Balochistan
|Human rights violations in Balochistan|
|Target||Civilians and combatants|
|Perpetrators||Pakistani security forces
Baloch separatist groups
Human rights violations in Balochistan have drawn concern and criticism in the international community, being described by Human Rights Watch (HRW) as having reached epidemic proportions. The violations have taken place during the ongoing Balochistan conflict between Baloch nationalists and the Government of Pakistan over the rule of Balochistan, the largest province of modern-day Pakistan. Brad Adams the director of the Asia branch of HRW has said that the Pakistani government has not done enough to stop the violence, which include torture, enforced disappearances of those suspected of either terrorism or opposing the military, ill treatment of those suspected of criminal activity, and extrajudicial killings.
Before joining Pakistan, Balochistan consisted of four princely states: Makran, Las Bela, Kharan, and Kalat. Three of these, Makran, Las Bela, and Kharan willingly joined Pakistan in 1947 during the dissolution of the British Indian Empire. However, Kalat, led by the Khan of Kalat, Ahmed Yaar Khan, chose independence as this was one of the options given to all of the princely states by Clement Attlee at the time. In April 1948, however, Pakistan deployed armed forces to Kalat, and the Khan was forced to accede to Pakistan. The Khan's brother Prince Kareem Khan declared independence and fled to Afghanistan to seek aid and begin an armed struggle that failed. By June 1948, Baluchistan in whole became a region of Pakistan.
There were a further three insurgencies in the region after 1948: 1958–1959, 1962–1963 and 1973–1977, and a fifth nationalistic movement began in 2002. The 1958–1959 conflict was caused by the imposition of the One Unit plan which had been implemented in 1955. This led to further resistance, and by 1957 Nauroz Khan announced his intention to secede; Pakistan declared martial law one day later. Pakistan bombed villages and deployed tanks with support from artillery. Nauroz was arrested and died while in prison, his family members were hanged for treason. According to Dan Slater, pro independence feelings in East Pakistan and Balochistan increased in parity with continuing military intervention in the political arena.
In the period 2002–2005 it is estimated that 4000 people were detained in the province, of whom only 200 were taken to court. The rest have been held incommunicado.
On June 3, 2012, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani directed Balochistan's chief minister to take special measures to trace the missing persons.
Military and paramilitary abuses
Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency has been accused of massive human rights abuses in Balochistan by Human Rights Watch, with the enforced disappearance of hundreds of nationalists and activists. In 2008 alone, an estimated 1102 people were disappeared from the region. There have also been reports of torture. An increasing number of bodies are being found on roadsides having been shot in the head. In July 2011, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan issued a report on illegal disappearances in Balochistan which identified ISI and Frontier Corps as the perpetrators. Through daily news reports it has been noted that the ISI and Frontier Corps put to death illegally abducted Balochs whenever there are attacks on FC personnel or bases in Balochistan.
In 2012 the Pakistani government denied allegations over the use of death squads operating in Balochistan in the Supreme Court. However, Balochistan’s former chief minister Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal, in a statement to the Supreme Court, claimed the current civil disturbances in Balochistan were a direct result of enforced disappearances.
Shia Muslims of various ethnic backgrounds make up at least 20% of the total population of Pakistan. The Hazara ethnic minority has been facing discrimination in Balochistan Province for a long time, and violence perpetrated against the community has risen sharply in recent years. Since the year 2000, over 2000 Shia Hazara community members, including many women and children, have been killed or injured in Quetta. Most of them have been the victims of terrorist attacks by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, which is a Sunni Muslim militant organization affiliated with Al-Qaeda and Taliban. Repression against the Shi'ite muslims began in 1998 with the assassination of Gen Musa Khan's son Hassan Musa in Karachi, and worsened in Pakistan after the September 11 attacks and the expulsion of the Taliban from Afghanistan.
Many hundreds of Shia Muslims have been killed in northern areas of Pakistan such as Gilgit, Baltistan, Parachinar and Chelas. In 2002, 12 Shia police cadets were gunned down in Quetta. In 2003, 53 people died and 150 were critically injured in a suicide attack on the main Shia Friday mosque in Quetta. On March 2, 2004, at least 42 persons were killed and more than 100 wounded when a procession of Shia Muslims was attacked by Sunni extremists at Liaquat Bazaar in Quetta. On October 7, 2004, a car bomb killed 40 members of an extremist Sunni organization in Multan. 300 people died during 2006. On December 28, 2009, as many as 40 Shias were killed in an apparent suicide bombing in Karachi. The bomber attacked a Shia procession which was held to mark Ashura.
Baloch separatist groups
Baloch insurgent movements have carried out a wide range of systematic human rights abuses in Balochistan, including targeted killings of ethnic non-Baloch civilians. This has caused an economic brain drain in the province. According to the Chief Minister of Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani, "a large number of professors, teachers, engineers, barbers and masons are leaving the province for fear of attacks. This inhuman act will push the Baloch nation at least one century back. The Baloch nation will never forgive whoever is involved in target killings." Raisani noted that these immigrant settlers had been living in Balochistan for centuries and called their targeting by Baloch insurgents "a crime against humanity".
Journalists, teachers, students, and human rights defenders have been targeted in Balochistan according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal. The U.S. Department of State estimates that in 2012 at least 690 civilians were victims of violence in Balochistan. A report from the Interior Ministry in 2012 stated that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Balochistan, Baloch Musalla Difa Tanzeem, and the Baloch Liberation Army were involved in violent disturbances. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimates that these groups and others killed 2,050 innocent persons and injured another 3,822 in 2012.
- Human rights abuses in Azad Kashmir
- Human rights abuses in Sindh
- Human rights in Pakistan
- List of journalists killed during the Balochistan conflict (1947–present)
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- More than 100 dead bodies from three mass graves were found in one district of Balochistan
- Trigger happy in Balochistan
- More than 168 children have disappeared from Balochistan, a war crime tribunal should be constituted