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Balochistan: Pakistani forces abduct head of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons
Monday, June 12th, 2017 11:29 am
QUETTA: The Pakistani police and other security agencies have attacked a tailoring shop in Quetta on Sunday and abducted the chairman of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons Nasrullah along with his three friends.
According to a brief press statement by Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), Nasrullah was working in his tailoring shop in Quetta when the Pakistani forces barged into the shop and arrested him and his colleagues.
“The Pakistani forces have abducted Nasrullah and others without any proof and reason,” the VBMP said.
Mr Nasrullah Baloch formed the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, a human rights organisation striving for the safe release of all abducted Baloch after Pakistani forces abducted his uncle Ali Asghar Bangulzai in 2001.
Since early 2009 he has been actively and peacefully raising voice for the safe recovery of abducted Baloch. His organisation (VBMP) has used all the democratic venues for the release of their loved ones.
They have submitted numerous applications at Balochistan High Court and Supreme Court of Pakistan and organised peaceful protests, hunger strike camps and meetings to highlight the cases of enforced disappearances in Balochistan.
The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons also organised the longest ever peaceful march from Quetta to Islamabad in its effort to raise awareness about enforced disappearances in Balochistan. The VBMP has also been on a continuous token hunger strike from past 2698 days.
Pakistani security forces and the government of Pakistan instead of listening to their plea for help have been threatening them and creating hurdles in their way in order to force them to give up their struggle.
The leaders of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons include Nasrullah Baloch, Abdul Qadeer Baloch and Farzana Majeed Baloch who started their struggle after Pakistani forces disappeared and killed their loved ones.
Pakistani force abducted Nasrullah’s uncle Ali Asghar Bangulzai (a tailor by profession) in 2001 and his whereabouts still unknown, Farzana Majeed’s brother Zakir Majeed, a senior student leader, was abducted in June 2009 from Mastung and he’s also still in the custody of Pakistani forces but his family has not been made aware of his whereabouts. Abdul Qadeer Baloch’s son Jalil Reki a leader of the Baloch Republic Party (BRP) was abducted from Quetta and later killed in custody.
The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons has made it their task to strive for the safe recovery of all Baloch abducted persons instead of only struggling for their loved ones. Their struggle has been the most peaceful, democratic, and longest ever struggle for the safe release of Baloch enforced-disappeared persons.
They are struggling in accordance with International Human Rights laws, UN, and Geneva conventions but the Pakistani state’s intolerance and frustration have now left no space for the peaceful struggle.
CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) is one segment of the proposed ‘One Belt One Road’ program of the Chinese government aimed at expanding Chinese economic and strategic influence in Asia. It involves a road and rail link from the Baloch town of Gwadar to Western Chinese city of Kashgar. Several special economic zones will be established along the entire length of the Corridor. The Baloch have been expressing their reservations on this project. The majority of the Baloch nationalist consider this as a corridor of death and destruction for the Baloch. This article is an attempt to explain and analyse the Baloch fears regarding CPEC.
CPEC in context
The development of Gwadar as a deep sea port was originally envisaged in 1990s. In order to counter the emerging Sindhi nationalist movement, the state establishment in 1980s manufactured a militant political organization, the MQM. This party drew its support from the Urdu speaking Indian immigrants, who settled in Sindh after the creation of Pakistan in 1947 and became part of the ruling alliance of the state along with the military and religious elite. However, after some years, the MQM evolved as a Frankenstein monster and the only port city in Pakistan, Karachi, became the hostage to its criminal activities. Intermittent strikes and blockade of the only outlet for the transport of goods to and from the Punjab was perceived as a grave threat to the survival of the state. As an alternative to Karachi, it was decided that Gwadar should be developed as a deep sea port and connected with the Punjab via Rathodero thus bypassing Karachi.
After the 9/11 events in the United States, the relationship between the Pakistani establishment and the West deteriorated because the Western establishments became suspicious about the actual designs of Pakistani military establishment in their war against terrorism. Many in the West believed that Pakistani security agencies are supporting Taliban, Al Qaeda and other militant organizations and they are freely using Pakistan as a base in order to carry out subversive activities in Afghanistan, India and other parts of the world. In this context, the military establishment of Pakistan decided to shift its loyalty from the Western powers to the emerging economic and military power of China. Gwadar was offered to China as a naval base and economic centre linking the Persian Gulf to its western border, in exchange for military and economic aid, should the West finally decide to abandon Pakistan. In the second decade of 21st century, the concept of this link road was further expanded and named as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Possible impacts of CPEC on the Baloch and Balochistan
The Baloch nationalist politicians and intellectuals believe that with the completion of this project, there is bound to be drastic political, socio-cultural and economic changes in Balochistan and the Baloch as a national entity would certainly face a crisis of existence.
The Western Alignment of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor begins from Gwadar and traverses the heart of the Baloch landmass for 1500 kilometres to Zhob in eastern Balochistan. It will be flanked by special economic zones along its route. These economic zones need thousands of workers and the infra-structure needs thousands of operators. Taking into consideration the track record, it is certain that there will be no employment opportunity for the Baloch neither in the work force nor in the security apparatus of CPEC. In other words, thousands of people from outside Balochistan will be brought in and the majority of these will settle permanently. In 2002, the Pakistani finance minister Shoukat Aziz disclosed that 2.5 million people will be settled in Gwadar region after the completion of Gwadar deep sea port. So far, according to Baloch sources, about 90 percent land in Gwadar district has already been acquired by the armed forces or purchased by Punjabi businessmen or Pakistanis settled in Europe and North America. The military establishment in the name of national security has acquired lands not only in Gwadar district but also thousands of acres of land on both sides of the CPEC road and rail links routes. The Baloch fears that these will be developed as housing complexes and business centres run by the military, bringing thousands of outsiders into Balochistan. The demographic balance has already shifted against the Baloch with the settlement of nearly 2 million Afghan immigrants in northern Balochistan since 1980s. The influx of up to another three million people from outside Balochistan will change dramatically the demographic picture of the region. According to Baloch analysts, after a few decades or so, the Baloch will become a minority, ending nearly 800 years of the Baloch domination of the region.
With the introduction of Urdu as the national language and medium of instruction in the educational institutions, the Balochi language is already at the verge of extinction. The Baloch have been complaining that in its zeal to create an artificial Pakistani nation, the state establishment has controlled and distorted their history, centuries’ old secular socio-cultural traditions, and religious beliefs. A North Indian religious narrow mindedness and superfluous cultural traditions are being imposed on the Baloch in the name of Islamic brotherhood. They believe that the CPEC will increase the pace of what they called “the cultural imperialism of the state”.
The Baloch believe that the economic exploitation of Balochistan is the main objective of the CPEC. The Baloch are among the economically poorest people of the world but their land is one of the richest in natural resources. There are unimaginable natural resources beneath the Baloch soil which include metal and mineral deposits such as chromite, copper, manganese, lead, zinc, tin, tungsten, as well as deposits of non-metallic elements. It is estimated that there are more than 20 million tonnes of gold reserves in Balochistan. The volume of un-explored oil and gas reserves in Balochistan are far bigger than any of the Gulf States.
The Chinese firms have already depleted a vast area in Chagai district of gold and uranium deposits. It is an open secret that the CPEC is not only a transit route for Chinese goods, but also an easy way to exploit the huge natural resources of Balochsitan. Taking into consideration the track record of the ruthless exploitation of natural resources in African countries by the Chinese, there is no doubt that within a few years, Balochistan will be exhausted of its precious resources plunging any future generations of the Baloch into further economic misery.
Many among the Baloch equate CPEC with that of the Indo-European Telegraph Line Project of 19th century. In the 1860s, the British authorities in India embarked upon an ambitious project of a telegraph line from Karachi to Basra (Iraq) passing through Southern Balochistan. The Indo-European Telegraph project changed the geopolitical balance of relations in the area and brought tremendous misery, death and destruction for the Baloch. The Baloch tribes resisted the project and there were frequent attacks on project installations. In the ensuing conflict, thousands of Baloch were killed during joint operations conducted by the British and Persian authorities. Dozens of Baloch chiefs were murdered or imprisoned by the British and the Persians. A wave of mass migration occurred and thousands of displaced Baloch from Southern Balochistan, migrated to Sindh. The majority of Baloch nationalists believe that the telegraph line was one of the causative factors in the division of their land into many countries of the region.
For the Baloch nationalists, the significant political impact of CPEC would be on the Baloch struggle for national sovereignty. After the incorporation of Balochistan into Pakistan in 1948, there has been a protracted conflict between the Baloch and the Pakistani state what the state termed it as insurgency while the Baloch call it their struggle for national rights. The CPEC will cause further escalation of this conflict with its accompanying devastations.
As the Baloch view CPEC as an assault on their national interests, it is certain that they will resist it with all the strength they can muster. The Pakistani army has already announced a ten thousand strong special force to ensure the security of the route. There will be a military check point every 20 Kilometres. Several Baloch settlements in Kech and Awaran districts have already been destroyed by the security forces in their scorched-earth policy in order to eliminate any danger to the route. Already in many power circles of Pakistan there are talks of settling the Baloch population away from the CPEC routes. Many among the Baloch fear that in the name of securing the routes, the Baloch population will ultimately end up in reserved areas.
The Baloch political parties are under tremendous pressure from the security agencies and any voice raised against CPEC has been officially declared as anti-state and anti-Islamic. In order to counter the Baloch nationalists and to dilute their secular democratic struggle, the authorities have already created several religious and sectarian organizations in Balochistan. According to Baloch nationalists, numerous death squads responsible for the kidnapping, torture and murder of nationalist activists are made up of religious fanatics under the active supervision of security agencies. The Baloch fear that with the curbing of nationalist political activities and active patronization by the security establishment, the ultimate supremacy of religious extremists will be established on the Baloch political scene within foreseeable future.
Balochistan as the centre piece of a new “Great Game”
By all practical purposed, the CPEC is not only an economic project, but also the part of Chinese strategic ambition. China has emerged as a global competitor with wide ranging, economic and strategic interests, which threatens the existing unchallenged Western supremacy. For the first time in history, China is extending its strategic objectives outside its mainland and actively considers itself as the real rival of Western economic and military supremacy in Asia especially in the strategic, politically and economically important region of the Persian Gulf where the West has reigned supreme for almost four hundred years. The Presence of the Chinese air force and naval fleets at Gwadar at the mouth of Persian Gulf is tantamount to the castration of Western military power in the area which has been the only pillar of Western influence for centuries. This would certainly be indigestible to the West. The new ally of the West, India, perceives the leasing out of Gwadar port to China as part of the Chinese design to encircle it and curb the Indian economic and strategic influence in Central Asia and the Gulf. The planned corridor passes through the territories of Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir, which India consider as its integral parts. India’s Prime Minister and other officials have on many occasions termed the corridor as “unacceptable”.
There is observable frustration in Western power circles concerning the Chinese expansionism. It is obvious that the loss of their overwhelming influence in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East is unthinkable for the West. It is certain that serious counteraction is being planned in Western capitals against the Chinese onslaught on their vital economic and strategic interests. These measures will certainly initiate a ruthless power game between China and the West in the region.
During 19th century, a “great game” of espionage and subversion was played between the Czarist Russia and the British Empire in Central Asia and the Middle East. The aim of this protracted struggle between the two great powers of the day was political and strategic. It was to undermine or contain each other’s influence. Russians were afraid of British flirtation with its Muslim population in Central Asia where Britain was organizing the Muslim sentiments into a Pan-Islamic movement to oppose Russian occupation. While the British were fearful of the Russian advances towards India and Persia. They were much alarmed by French-Russian alliance and continued Russian thrust towards the Indian Ocean. In the grinding jaws of these great adversaries, several nations, countries and communities faced occupation, division and socio-economic misery. As a casualty of this great game, Balochistan was occupied, its social system was totally changed by the British colonial administrator Robert Sundeman, and it was divided between Iran, Afghanistan and the British India. With the advent of CPEC, it appears that history is repeating itself for the Baloch. This time, it is the West under the leadership of the United States versus the emerging China. A great game with new players but on the same turf, is about to begin.
Islamabad has repeatedly accused India and the Western powers of conspiring against the CPEC. With increased attacks on CPEC installations by the Baloch nationalist forces, the Pakistani government claims that Baloch insurgents receive training in camps in Afghanistan established by India. The Pakistani leadership on several occasions, has publicly accused India and Afghanistan of involvement in insurgency and terrorism in Balochistan. They also blame certain Western powers of covertly encouraging the Baloch nationalists.
The Baloch believe that this new “great game” in the region will undoubtedly bring unimaginable miseries to them. With the intensification of the conflict, the Pakistani response will be increased atrocities, and ruthless suppression of any nationalistic activities on the part of the Baloch, coupled with more funding and patronization of religious elements among the Baloch. Perhaps the Baloch nationalists may get some kind of material support from quarters opposed to the Chinese influence in the region; however, it would be quite simplistic at this stage to believe that the Western powers are going to support an independent united Balochistan. If the support for the Baloch nationalists would be just to disturb or delay the Chinese advance, then the result for the Baloch as a national entity would be catastrophic. The net result would be that Balochistan would be converted into a war zone, where civil strife and the great power’s tug of war would result in the mincing of the Baloch people.
CPEC: the corridor of death and destruction?
For many among the Baloch, this project will create existential challenges. The introduction of China in the economic exploitation of Balochistan will be a double whammy for the Baloch. The Baloch believe that as part of “One Belt One Road” program which is, in reality, an ambitious military economic complex, CPEC will give access to the emerging imperial power of China to the economically and strategically important region of the Middle East. This will result in the great power rivalry in the region with its accompanying devastations. They believe that CPEC will change their social outlook, political future, and economic prospects, thus endangering the survival of the Baloch as a national entity forever. In Balochistan, the majority of Baloch analysts are visualizing a scenario after a few decades of the completion of the CPEC. They are visualizing that the coastal towns of Balochistan becoming attractive places for Chinese tourists. They are visualizing that there would be numerous industrial establishment with their own townships throughout Balochistan. The shops and high streets of these townships would be bustling with different kinds of business activities but there will be no Baloch in sight. The historical account of once a proud nation, who happened to be the master of this land, would end up as a myth.
Dr. Naseer Dashti, a graduate in Medicine, obtained his master’s degree in public health from the University of Leeds (UK) in 2000 and a PhD research degree in anthropology from the University of Greenwich (London) in 2007. He fled Pakistan to escape persecution and became a refugee in the United Kingdom in 2008. He had published three books (two of them were banned by Pakistani authorities) on socio-political issues facing the Baloch in particular and south-central Asia in general. He is affi
liated with Balochi Academy and Asaap Group of Publications, Quetta.
Parts of a multibillion-dollar trade route between China and Pakistan have opened, with the first Chinese trade caravan reaching Pakistan's port city of Gwadar.
The 3,000km trade route, called theChina Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), links China's Xinjiang province with Gwadar in Pakistan's Balochistan province.
China is investing $46bn in CPEC and hopes it will lead to easier trade with the Middle East and Africa.
The route cuts across the high road over Khunjerab Pass, situated more than 5,000 metres above sea level.
Once a part of the ancient Silk Route, this road will become a vital link for China to Gwadar. It is being built with Chinese help to become part of a new maritime Silk Route.
"This investment will help to turn around not only Pakistan's economy but also it will enable Pakistan to become self-sufficient in energy and improve its infrastructure," Ahsan Iqbal, minister for planning and development of Pakistan, told Al Jazeera.
However, local Pakistani manufacturers, under the Organisation for Advancement and Safeguard of Industrial Sector (OASIS), say the CPEC poses new challenges for the domestic industrial sector.
"The Chinese industry has achieved economies of scale over the years, primarily due to their huge domestic market, industry-friendly policies and multiple incentives by the government," Atif Iqbal, OASIS executive director, told local Pakistani media on Friday.
Supporters of the CPEC say it is a one-time opportunity for Pakistan to resolve its crippling power-supply shortfalls, and for the first time to establish a nationwide network of logistical infrastructure.
The Pakistani city of Quetta, in Balochistan province, is once again in the news for large-scale violence: this time a police training centre has been targeted by fighters who killed at least 60 people, most of them police cadets.
The attack late on Monday underlined the precarious security situation in Balochistan, which has witnessed repeated attacks against security forces and minority Shia Muslims for the past several years.
Although violence levels across the country have fallen since a military operation was launched in 2014 in northwest tribal areas of the country, Balochistan - and especially its capital, Quetta - has seen a steady rise in the number of attacks this year.
Balochistan is a strategically important province to Pakistan because of the high concentration of natural resources - including oil, coal, gold, copper and gas reserves, which generates substantial revenue for the federal government - and the only deep-sea port at Gwadar.
However, despite the abundance of natural resources, Balochistan remains the poorest Pakistani province.
Al Jazeera asked several experts and analysts why Balochistan is under renewed threat from armed groups and what makes the province so vulnerable.
Jehanzeb Jamaldini, a local leader of the Balochistan National Party, told Al Jazeera that the resource-rich province lacks security and of late has become a safe haven for fighters fleeing military operations in other regions bordering Afghanistan.
"There are no basic necessities in this province. No security, no proper law and order in place. We still have jirga [a tribal council] system in some areas of the province," Jamaldini told Al Jazeera.
"And not just that: Balochistan has also become a safe haven for terrorists because there are no regulations on the border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan."
Referring to elements within the government who sympathise with armed groups or separatists, he said: "There should be no likes or dislikes when it comes to terrorists. Anyone who tries to kill innocent people and disrupts the government system should be treated like a terrorist."
Balochistan is the scene of a violent separatist movement. In this largely remote and neglected region, Pakistani security forces and symbols of the state have come under attack from armed separatist groups while civilians have lost lives in sectarian violence.
Shahzad Chaudhry, a Pakistan-based security analyst, says the big "physical space" and the low population density means armed groups have a relatively greater operational freedom in Balochistan.
Despite being Pakistan's largest province, it is home to only about seven million people out of a total population of 190 million.
"The terrorists have greater freedom of action in this area as it is a big province and very underdeveloped," Chaudhry told Al Jazeera.
"The province is also pretty remote, which makes it easier for terrorists to come and hide there. After they were pushed out of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in military operations, they found a way through Kandahar in Afghanistan into Balochistan."
General Talat Masood, a retired major-general, agrees, saying that Pakistan could not manage its borders with Afghanistan and Iran adjoining Balochistan, which is why fighters find it easy to travel back and forth and conduct attacks.
"Balochistan has a border with Iran and Afghanistan's lawless areas. We were not able to manage the borders, which resulted in these elements sneaking into the province and hiding in the many free spaces."
In May this year, the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was killed in a US drone strike in Balochistan, which led to renewed speculation about the presence of Afghan Taliban leaders in this part of Pakistan.
Also, since about 2001, the Quetta Shura, a faction of the Afghan Taliban which arose following a split after the appointment of Mullah Mansoor, is believed to be based in the city from which it gets its name.
However, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, a spokesman for the Balochistan provincial government, rejects such claims, saying: "Isn't it ironical to be accused of providing a safe haven to terrorists who actually attack us?"
Speaking to Al Jazeera, he said: "I am surprised that people are not aware of the fact that all these terrorist networks are operating from Afghanistan, not Balochistan.
"Yes, we've got a huge Afghan refugee population in the province, which is why there is a lot of movement of people. These terrorists come into our country and find sympathisers among the refugee populations and of course among some within our country as well, in order to carry out attacks on our people and children.
"We know who our enemies are and we know the designs of our enemies. They are engaging in a covert war against Pakistan. But the people of Balochistan are quite resilient and together will find a way to defeat these terrorists."
The government of Pakistan has seen resistance from the tribes of Balochistan since the country came in to existence following the Partition of India in 1947.
Many Baloch believe their province was forcibly incorporated into the new state of Pakistan. The Khan of Kalat, ruler of the Baloch coastal state of Kalat, rose up in revolt at the time of Partition, touching off the first of a series of insurgencies in the province.
Baloch nationalists demanding greater political rights, autonomy and control over their natural resources have led four insurgencies since Pakistan's creation - in 1948, 1958-59, 1962-63 and 1973-77 - all of which were crushed by the army.
The fifth is the ongoing unrest in Marri-Bugti and Mekran areas since 2005, when Pakistani military operations resulted in major human and property losses and the death of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, the 70-year-old tribal nationalist, which breathed new life into the insurgency.
The Balochistan Liberation Army, designated as a terrorist organisation by Pakistan and Britain, is the most widely known Baloch separatist group. Other separatist groups include Lashkar-e-Balochistan and the Baloch Liberation United Front.
The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which claimed responsibility for Monday's police academy attack, is one of the most violent Sunni Muslim armed groups.
The group's name is derived from a deceased Sunni leader, Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, who led an anti-Shia movement about 30 years ago as a counter to the Iranian Islamic revolution.
Analysts say Monday's assault on the Quetta police training centre does not have the characteristics of a sectarian attack.
"After they were driven out of Punjab province, they found refuge in Balochistan. And ever since the state turned against them [as there were some sympathisers sitting in parliament], they now target the state," Chaudhry, the security analyst, said.
However, Jamaldini, the Baloch Nationalist Party politician, describes the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi's deadly attacks as "indiscriminate killings". He believes the "impoverished" province needs to have basic security in place and "proper attention given" to the basic necessities of life.
"This province is trapped in dire poverty, with no education system or basic law and order to speak of," he said.
"These terrorists are killing everyone here. I lost my son in one of such attack this year in Quetta. So we all need protection. Balochistan cannot be neglected any more."
Nearly 1,000 dead bodies of political activists and suspected armed separatists have been found in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province over the past six years.
Activists say the figures, obtained from the human rights ministry by BBC Urdu, point to large-scale extrajudicial killings.
Relatives say most victims had been picked up by security agencies.
The government blames the dumped bodies on infighting among insurgent groups.
Thousands of people have disappeared without trace in Balochistan since a separatist insurgency gained momentum in 2007.
A military-led operation was launched in early 2005 aimed at wiping out the uprising by ethnic Baloch groups, who are fighting for a greater share of the province's resources.
According to the Federal Ministry of Human Rights, at least 936 dead bodies have been found in Balochistan since 2011.
Most of them were dumped in the regions of Quetta, Qalat, Khuzdar and Makran - areas where the separatist insurgency has its roots.
One of the more prominent cases of "kill-and-dump" is that of Jalil Reki, a political activist who lived in the Saryab neighbourhood of Quetta.
He was arrested at his residence in 2009, and his body was found two years later in the Mand area near the Iranian border, some 1,100km (680 miles) south of Quetta.
"They came to our house in three vehicles. These were the vehicles of agencies. They took away Jalil," his mother told the BBC.
"The police did not take our report. Our male relatives later approached the then chief minister's office, but we could not get any response.
"Two years later some people found his body in Mand. He had one bullet in the head and three in the chest. His arms were fractured and there were cigarette burns on his back."
Relatives of the victims believe the number may be higher.
The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) says it has recorded 1,200 cases of dumped bodies and there are many more it has not been able to document.
Nasrullah Baloch, the head of VBMP, told the BBC most of the bodies "are of those activists who have been victims of 'enforced disappearances' - people who are picked up by authorities and then just go missing."
His allegations chime with an independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) report in 2013 that noted "credible reports of continued serious human rights violations, including [enforced] disappearances of people, arbitrary arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings".
'Feuds and crime'
Provincial government spokesman Anwarul Haq Kakar denied that state agencies were involved in such acts.
"There are several explanations. Sometimes insurgents are killed in a gunfight with law enforcement agencies but their bodies are found later," he said.
"Militant groups also fight among each other and don't bury their dead fighters. Then there are tribal feuds, organised crime and drug mafia."
There have been frequent protests by relatives of the victims and Baloch nationalist organisations over the years, while many have fled to foreign countries or safer locations within Pakistan.
Naveed Baloch, who was briefly held by the German police for the 19 December truck killings in Berlin, left Pakistan in February to "escape persecution" in his village in Mand region.
An activist of a nationalist party, he was arrested and tortured by Pakistani forces in Balochistan last year, and more recently his home in the village was raided again, his cousin, Waheed Baloch, told BBC Urdu.