March 2018

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The human rights situation in Balochistan remains worrisome as the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) forcibly disappeared 87 and executed 30persons in 19 military operations in different parts of the province during March 2018.

On the brighter side, 71 previously disappeared persons were released during the same period. They include those disappeared in 2015 and 2016.

There has been a sharp escalation in human rights abuses in Balochistan lately since Pakistan’s armed forces initiated a brutal counterinsurgency operation to curb a separatist movement in the region.

The people killed in March include Maher Ali Mayar, a resident of Awaran Balochistan, who migrated from his hometown and was living in Karachi, the capital city of Sindh, as an internally displaced person.

Sindh Rangers arrested Maher Ali on 14 November, 2017. He remained disappeared until he was killed in a fake encounter on 13 March 2018 in Lyari Karachi along with three other Baloch youths.

The other three killed in the staged encounter include Amir Ali Bakhsh, his brother Umari Ali Bakhsh and a mentally ill person, Chakar Ali. The two brothers, Umair and Amir Ali Bakhsh, were abducted by Sindh Rangers on 2 August 2017.

Ghulam Qadir Dilshad and Akram Muhammad Issa died in the helicopter shelling during a military operation in Soler, district Washuk on March 24, while two mutilated bodies were recovered in March.

During operations in Hoshab and Kannichi areas of Kolwa, armed forces burned down several houses after looting valuables. They also set ablaze two Zikr Khana, place of worship of the Zikri community whose members usually come under attack by security forces and religious extremists in Balochistan.

The continuity of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings for the last many years show that security forces enjoy complete impunity in Balochistan. They can abduct, detain, torture and kill civilians without ever being made accountable for these crimes.

Although the media has been forced into silence, civil society and human rights organizations of Pakistan have been raising voices against these human rights violations.

However, to put an end to such abuses, it is important that the parliament discuss this issue at the highest level. Pressure should keep coming on the armed forces from parliament, judiciary, media, human rights groups, the UN and other international human rights bodies.