Human rights violations continue in Balochistan with changing forms:

The Story from Army and FC to CTD in Balochistan

Sagaar Baloch

Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) was a paramilitary force of the State of Pakistan which was converted into a military, by getting direct military functions. Before CTD, notorious Frontier Corps (FC) and Army functioned for military ends in Balochistan which stigmatized due to revealed unjust functions. They enjoyed excessive privilege to wrongful military operations, tortures, barbarism, forced detentions, mass killing, dumping and Baloch genocide and direct involvement in disappearances of women, children and elder men. They even raped women and young children with no accountability. Resultantly, people directly resisted the brutalities of the FC and Army officials which compelled them to shift their military power to a newly-introduced CTD – a new policy of establishment to continue human rights violations in Balochistan.

If we look from lower lenses, paramilitary forces are directly state-owned institutions which function accordingly. In a colonial setting, the African revolutionary scholar, Frantz Fanon, defines them as: “The paramilitary forces (including police) are the forces highly useful for the colonizers’ communication with the oppressed.”

On a similar note, because CTD is again a policy of the same establishment to replace the notorious Army and FC with, it too is functioning in accordance with their vested interests to infringe basic human rights of Baloch with their former practices including enforced disappearances, kill and dump policy, with a new addition to fake encounters of the already forcibly disappeared Baloch. While Army is engaging in activities as socioeconomic development (which actually a politician should do considering the Pakistani setting) to build a positive narrative about Army in the Baloch masses. Along with that, they are practicing in strengthening their narratives my forcefully linking those, killed in fake encounters or arrested, with Baloch freedom fighters.

Following are some recorded facts which will further unveil the notorious CTD, or nevertheless, the Pakistani Army. In February 2022, An M-phil scholar of Physics Department at Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad, named Hafeez Baloch, was abducted from his native town Khuzdar while teaching younger students in a tuition center. His arrest was later revealed by CTD from Jhal Magsi with allegations of terrorism. After that, he was imprisoned based on those allegations made against him, but was released after several months when prosecution failed to prove the case as everything was based on falsehood. He was set free, but who would back his important months which he invested in jails?

In April, 2022, Beebagr Imdad, a student of English Literature, was abducted from the hostels of Punjab University of Lahore. After one day of his forced abduction, his arrest was put forward by CTD on the allegations of being a ‘facilitator of Fidayee Shari Baloch’. But after 17 days, he was released with no proof upon him of being one. His forced abduction has been too propagated by a short video clip of forces torturing him unstoppably and being pushing him into a vehicle. In fact, the hostel in-charge is observed supporting the abductors.

Apart from the above mentioned cases, we have also witnesses fake encounters in Mastung, Harnai and Kharan by the same CTD, again alleging and narrating the same story which courts have repeatedly dismissed. And as expected, every single one killed in these encounters was later on found to have been forcibly disappeared from different places of Balochistan. Their cases were even registered with Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), a non-profit organization working for the safe recovery of ‘Baloch Missing Persons’.

Shehzad Baloch, Mukhtar Baloch, Fareed Badini, Salal Badini and Tabish Waseem Baloch were students and abducted one and two months before they were shot dead in fake encounters. In only these three incidents, more than 25 forced abductees were martyred by CTD in fake encounters. Who will hold the notorious CTD and Army accountable for such grave human rights violations in Balochistan? The target killing of Nizam Kurd, a native of Sariyab (Quetta) by CTD further adds the barbarous acts of CTD’s fake encounters.

But CTD did not cease from here. The recent fake encounters of three more youth, including Fareed Shahwani (a resident of Sariyab and a student) and two others from Harnai, are not hidden from us. We were not done with resolving fake encounters when CTD was found in another heart-shaking and fake case of Mahal Baloch, a widow and mother of two little girls. She was abducted from her home in Satellite town Shaal (Quetta) at around 9 in the night. After two days following her arrest, CTD unveiled her arrest with allegations of arresting her from a park with a suicide jacket and linked her with Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF).

In the detention center, she faced severe tortures. She was presented before a court of law for six times and given in physical remands. She faced two media trials during detention in which she was forced to confess the allegations made against her. Despite all their attempts, they have failed to prove her guilt. Despite the fact that no final verdict has been given yet against Mahal, she is continuously harassed, mentally and physically. This is all done to spread a state narrative in women to remain silent to their peaceful means of struggle against the injustices. 

A retired Pakistan Army major, Adil Raja, in a conversation with a man, narrated: “During my services, Army killed the abductees, and tried to show that Army has competed gallantly with the members of armed organizations, and also to uphold its morals. Approximately, 90% of its encounters are fake, while forced abductions are a routine there.” We need to understand any such paramilitary force, which functions gross human rights violations in Balochistan, is directly a pro-army force introduced for treating Baloch inhumanly. For this, we need to be ready to boycott such a force which is involved in fake encounters of our own brothers and arrests of our sisters based on false and self-generated allegations. No matter if we are a far from a government job by boycotting such a force, but at least, we will be free of guilt. Otherwise, anyone who joins such a force is directly involved in Baloch genocide.

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