By Faiz M Baluch
A video footage, presumably captured from a smart phone, emerged on social media exposing the brutalities of Pakistan military against Baloch people in Mashkay Balochistan. In the footage one can clearly see that Pakistan military personnel are burning Baloch houses where Baloch women and children beg them to stop burning their houses as they have nowhere to live. The Khaki uniformed men of military speak in Pashtu, Peshawari dialect, with each other but shout at Baloch women in Urdu asking them to go away and threatening to burn more houses.
The footage is interesting as it catches the thief/criminal army of Pakistan red-handed because in the past due to heavy restrictions imposed by the military the media could not access to the war zones hence it gave the military the benefit to deny their criminal actions against Baloch people across Balochistan. The other thing the video shows is the head scarves that the military men are wearing similar to those that the religious extremists usually wear which illustrates the collusion between the pro-Alqaeeda extremists and the military and confirms the repeated statements of Baloch leaders that Pakistan Army and the religious extremists are two sides of the same coin.
The video is a hard piece of evidence to press charges against Pakistan in the International Criminal Court and bring the Pakistani perpetrators – the military and civilian culprits to justice. The Baloch already have enough evidence and witnesses against Pakistan’s crimes against humanity in Balochistan that include target killings, enforced-disappearances and under-custody killings of pro-independence Baloch activists and their supporters. CCTV footage were presented to the Pakistan Supreme Court showing that the Para-military forces were abducting at least two Baloch activists. The court ordered their release but MI (military intelligence) dumped their dead bodies two days after the court order – directly challenging the court’s authority and it was also a grim warning to the Chief Justice that “you don’t have the power to dictate us.” Local police officers have also told the court, as part of their witness statements, that FC (Frontier Corps) and secret agencies are involved in abductions and killing of Baloch activists. Ministers from the previous government testified that they have seen the Pakistani forces shooting three young men from behind at close range in Mastung area of Balochistan.
Previous video clips of Pakistan military bombardment on Marri and Bugti area are also available where the military used heavy and indiscriminate force against non-combat Baloch villagers killing their women and children and destroying their straw made huts and livestock and the military also intoxicated the water resorts with poisonous chemical weapons to cause further deaths to the people and other living creatures in those areas. Chemical weapons and clusters bombs were also used during the deadly operation in in August 2006 in which Nawab Akbar Bugti and more than 30 of his companions were killed in Trathani area of Balochistan. One of the reasons for not handing of the body of Nawab Bugti to his family and now allowing the general public (hundreds of thousands of his followers) to see his body was also because of indiscriminate use of restricted weapons the use of which breaches international war laws and UN conventions.
The video interviews of abducted Baloch activists narrating their pain that they went through while in the custody of Pakistan security forces are also available and have been widely posted on net i.e. Noor Mohammad Marri who has been completely paralysed and Mr Sattar Baloch, an education officer, partially paralysed because of the torture they suffered in Pakistan military’s secret cells. FIRs nominating the officers of MI, ISI and other official of Pakistani security forces are available on record too.
All international reputable human rights Organisations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Asian Human Right commission and others in their reports also clearly indicated that Pakistani security forces are behind the death and destruction of Baloch people. Even the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) during its visit to Balochistan met with several relatives and families of enforced-disappeared Baloch and has been provided with ample evidence of Pakistan’s crimes against Baloch people.
The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, an indigenous human rights organisation comprising the family members of enforced-disappeared Baloch and the victims of state’s kill and dump policy, keeps the record of abductions and killings in Balochistan. Their record may not be complete as they too do not have access to entire Balochistan but according their latest updated record Pakistani security forces have abducted at between 14000-18000 Baloch activists. More than 7000 people among the stated figure have been killed under-custody of Pakistani forces and their bodies were discovered in different areas in Balochistan including Karachi. On top of the under-custody killings, the death squads of Pakistan military, who are mostly either convicted criminals, dug mafia goons or religious extremist, have target killed at least 1000 Baloch activists including women and children. The victims rang from local farmers, shepherd, and tribal leaders to highly educated Baloch teachers, students, lawyers, doctors, engineers and university or college professors.
The torture inflected on these victims vary from whipping to breaking their limb, slitting their throats, burning sensitive organs of body with cigarettes and cutting their arms and inner Thais with sharps objects and pouring salt and chilli on their wounds to increase the pain and agony. Corpses have been discovered with their parts missing and in many case victims were shoot right in the eyes. Some of the victims’ eyes were plucked out and their noses and ears and heads were severed for their bodies.
Sadly, the world in general and the so called champions of Human Rights including the United Nations, European Union and other international Human Rights Organisations in particular constrained themselves to only lip service instead of taking practical actions against Pakistan for its barbaric atrocities against Baloch people. The United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden are among many other democratic sates and top counties that can save the lives of innocent Baloch if they act instead of only limiting themselves to statements of concerns.
The world community must act before Balochistan is turned into Pakistan’s killing field and made a slaughter house for its own indigenous inhabitants. Baloch right are also human rights and Baloch too deserve a peaceful, prosperous and dignified life like any other nation of the world.
Faiz M Baluch is student of journalism at Metropolitan University in London and a human rights activist affiliated with International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. He tweets at, twitter.com/FaizMBaluch and can be contacted at FMBaluch@gmail.com