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Extra-judicial killings ongoing with impunity, notably in Balochistan
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Seventeenth session, Agenda Item 3, Interactive Dialogue with SR on Extra-judicial killings
A written statement submitted by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organisation with general consultative status
PAKISTAN: Extra-judicial killings ongoing with impunity, notably in Balochistan
The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) wishes to bring to the attention of the Human Rights Council grave concerns related to the numerous allegations of extra-judicial killings that it has received in the last 12 months, notably from the province of Balochistan in Pakistan. Extra-judicial killings are typically the end-point of a string of human rights abuses that include abduction or arbitrary arrest, forced disappearance and torture. Disappeared persons’ bodies are often dumped on the roadside, riddled with bullets.
This pattern of abuse has reportedly become a routine method used by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. In the past eight months, over 120 persons are thought to have been killed extra-judicially following abduction and disappearance by the State. The ALRC estimates that thousands of people are reported to have been subjected to enforced disappearance in recent years, in particular in resource-rich Balochistan.
In Balochistan, journalists, teachers, political activists, students and human rights defenders are being targeted in particular. The ALRC and its sister-organisation, the Asian Human Rights Commission, continue to document a high number of cases. According to cases documented, during the first four months of 2011, as many 25 journalists, writers, human rights defenders, students, and political activists have been killed extra-judicially.1 24 of the victims were arrested or abducted, disappeared and then killed. For example, prominent human rights defender and journalist, Mr. Siddique Eido and his friend, Mr. Yousaf Nazar Baloch, were allegedly arrested by the Frontier Corp and police on December 21, 2010. Their mutilated bodies were found on April 28 having been dumped next to the Makran coastal highway near Ormara, Balochistan province. The other victim, human rights defender Mr. Naeem Sabir Baloch, the district coordinator of Human Right Commission of Pakistan, was killed outside his house by unknown persons. He was working to compile a list of victims of forced disappearance, intended for the Supreme Court of Pakistan and High Court of Balochistan.
Furthermore, on May 13, 2011, the AHRC announced that the bodies of five disappeared persons, including a prominent leader of the Baloch Student Organization, were found in different locations in Balochistan.2 All bore signs of torture and bullet wounds. Their families claim they had been abducted by members of the law enforcement agencies, with three of them having been disappeared since August 2010. On March 28, 2011, the AHRC announced that another five disappeared people’s bodies had been found, bearing torture marks and bullet wounds. They had reportedly been abducted by uniformed and plain-clothed persons believed to be from the intelligence services.3 On March 16, 2011, the AHRC announced that the bodies of another four victims of extra-judicial killings had been found in different parts of Balochistan. They had reportedly been abducted and disappeared by the Frontier Corps before being tortured and killed. The list goes on and on.
In Balochistan there is a strong movement for autonomy by its people, who want their share of the province's natural resources. They also want a say in local governance, which is being blocked by Pakistan’s government. The Pakistan Army has conducted five major military operations between 1959 and 2008, in order to exert its control over the province, and has established cantonments and use of aerial bombardments to this end. In 2008 the civilian government called off the latest large-scale army operations in the province, which had begun in 2005, but handed over the responsibility for law and order to the Frontier Corps (FC), a paramilitary organization. This effectively made the police subordinate to the FC, which has the support and assistance of the army. This results in insurmountable obstacles to those seeking to know the truth about the fate of their disappeared loved ones and for any hope of effective investigations and prosecutions, even when persons are found dead, showing clear marks of torture and evidence of extra-judicial execution.
The problem does not remain confined to Balochistan. Balochi activists are being targeted outside of the province itself. For example, on February 23, 2011, the bodies of two Balochi activists that had been abducted in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province, were found at Hadh Cross, Ormara town, Gwader district, Balochistan. The bodies bore bullet and marks of torture. They were identified as Mr. Mehboob Wadhela, a senior member of the Baloch National Movement (BNM), and Mr. Arif Rehman, an activist of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP), who had been missing for eleven and five months respectively, after having been abducted. Witnesses claim they had been abducted by persons who had identified themselves to onlookers as being from the State security agencies. The bodies were dumped, side by side, some 500 kilometres from where they had been abducted.