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Killing and Dumping Baloch Activists Now In Karachi

According to a B.B.C. Urdu report, at least five dead bodies of the missing Baloch people have been found in different parts of Karachi in the past one and half months. The pattern of the newly found dead is very similar to what was until recently described by the Amnesty International as the “kill and dump operations” in Balochistan. Political activists and citizens who disappear from Balochistan, mainly from the coastal region of Mekran, are now found dead in parts of Karachi.

The new cycle of kill and dump operations is deeply alarming and a sad reminder that the government has done nothing to end enforced disappearances, torture and murder of Baloch political activists. A culture of impunity and lack of accountability and transparency continues to embolden those involved in these human rights abuses. Supreme Court intervention, it appears, meant nothing at the end of the day.

On Monday, February 18, the bullet-riddled dead bodies of two missing Baloch persons, Naimatullah Baloch and Akhtar Rind Baloch, were discovered from Sarjani area of Karachi. The Vice Chairman of the Voice for Missing Baloch Persons, Abdul Qadir Baloch, says both the victims belonged to Turbat District. On October 22, 2012, Naimatullah, Mr. Baloch informs, was whisked away in front of several eyewitnesses, including his grandmother. Likewise, two days later, on October 24, 2012, Akhtar Ali was kidnapped from a medical store in Turbat where he had gone to purchase medicine for a hospitalized relative. The families remained totally clueless about their whereabouts until their dead bodies were found in Karachi. They were identified through pieces of paper found in the victims’ pockets presumably written and left by those who killed the two young men.

On January 28, Adnan Baloch, a missing person from Mand, a small border town in Kech district, was found dead in Karachi’s Malir area while two days later, on January 30, two more missing persons Haroon Baloch and Razaq Palari, were found in Sarjani neighborhood in Karachi. They both belonged to Pishokan area of Gwadar district.

Throwing away the dead bodies of the missing Baloch persons in Karachi is a new trend which seems to have several motivations. These cases coincide with the hunger strike camp established in Karachi by the relatives of the Baloch missing persons outside the city’s Press Club. The camp in Karachi has helped in creating more awareness in the rest of the country about the missing persons. Among several achievements of the protesters in Karachi is the building of contacts with some of Pakistan’s most influential writers and journalists who have now stood by the side of the Baloch families. One among these is the illustrated novelist Mohammad Hanif, a former B.B.C. journalist and now a celebrity among the literature fans. Mr. Hanif has recently come up with a short book The Baloch Who is Not Missing and Others who are comprising of the compelling stories of the missing Baloch persons.

It is an irony that those who are involved in the illegal practice of enforced disappearances simply keep reminding us that they would not stop their activities no matter how much support the missing persons’ families receive from some influential Pakistani writers and journalists. Also, the motivation behind throwing away the dead bodies is to spread terror among Karachi’s Baloch population which has not been able to distance itself from the events taking place in Balochistan. There is an angry wave of agitation and rebellion among the Balochs living in Karachi about whatever is happening in Balochistan. Karachi is the world’s biggest Baloch city in terms of population. Those living in Karachi barely recognize the administrative barriers between Sindh and Balochistan provinces.

Karachi has already had its share of targeted killings, kidnappings and torture due to its own violent domestic politics. The worrying thing about the recovery of the missing Baloch persons in Karachi is the possible lack of attention these cases would receive in the Karachi media because the city already has too much in its plate. The media and authorities in the police department would hardly care for those who belong to Balochistan and are found dead in Karachi.

Considering the seriousness of the issue of enforced disappearances and the active engagement of the Supreme Court in the matter, the governments of Balochistan and Sindh should extend cooperation with each other. They should share timely information about the missing persons’s cases and identify groups that are believed to be responsible for carrying out these operations. The government performance in the missing persons cases has been extremely disappointing. The dead bodies found in Karachi have led to massive protests across Balochistan. The government should act faster before Sindh transforms into a new graveyard for the Baloch people.

Malik Siraj Akbar is Editor in Chief, 'The Baloch Hal.'

Faiz Baluch