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Pakistan: Crackdown On Baloch Students

Pakistan: Crackdown On Baloch Students To Obtain Forced Confessions
After Pakistan’s accusation of Indian involvement in subversive activities with the nationalist movement in Balochistan province, the law enforcement agencies reacted heavily against the students of the province who have sympathies with nationalist movement. The Para-military forces, particularly, the frontier constabulary (FC) started arresting people, keeping them in incommunicado in unknown places. There are reports of arrests of dozens of young persons, but due to poor communication problems, the AHRC was not able to collect all the details. Some cases are as follows;

An activist of the Baloch Student Organisation-BSO (Azaad), Mr. Sami Baloch, was abducted at midnight of July 19 and 20. He was returning home from a tuition center near the Satellite Town of Quetta. He was abducted by Frontier Constabulary, a Para- military force of the Pakistani Army. Mr. Sami Baloch is a M.A. student in Geology in Balochistan University and a member of the organizing body of BSO (Azaad) Balochistan University unit. His whereabouts are still unknown and it is feared that he is undergoing brutal torture in a Pakistani army camp.

In another case, Pakistani intelligence agencies allegedly abducted another Baloch resident. This occurred in front of the Huddah district jail in Quetta, the provincial capital, on the morning of July 16, 2009. According to information received from his family, Fazal Khan Marri, 25, went to visit one of his relatives in the Hudda jail. As he came out of the main gate of the prison, he was abducted by personnel from the Pakistani intelligence agencies in a jeep with no registration number. Fazal Khan Marri is a resident of New Kahan . He is a daily wage earner and the father of two children.

Mr.Fazal Baloch,19, son of Sher Muhammad, a student at Bolan University in the Commerce Faculty was arrested on 3rd July 2009 by F.C from Luc Pas, Quetta. Fazal Baloch, a 19 year old resident of Proom village, Punjgur district, was traveling to Punjgur by bus. He also was a member of B.S.O Azaad. According to his father, after his son was arrested, he was tortured. His physical and mental condition remains very serious. After the torture he was admitted to the Civil Hospital for two days after which he was handed over to the Crime Branch of anti terrorist force (A.T.F.) from Quetta. This took place late at night. In the hospital he told to his relatives that he was forced to confess that India is funding Baloch Liberation Army (BLA).

Mr. Iqbal Baloch, 21, a student of Khuzdar College, Khuzdar district, was arrested by frontier constabulary (FC) on 18 July, 2009. His whereabouts are unknown. The district police are denying his arrest.

Nationalist groups and family members of the disappeared persons say that the Pakistani government is arresting students and young people with the aim to get confessions from them for alleged statements against India for its involvement in Balochistan’s insurgency. After the legal case started in India against Ajmal Kassab, the only survivor of the Islamic terrorists group, which killed 166 persons in Bombay, India, the government of Pakistan has started blaming foreign influences in Balochistan since December of last year.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan succeeded in putting the name of India in a context of meddling in Balochistan affairs. This was seen in the Joint statement issued on July 16, 2009, when both prime ministers met at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt. After registration of the accusation against India, the authorities started a new round of arrests with disappearances to get confessions through statements made against India.

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the government of Pakistan, especially the Balochistan province, to stop the arrest of students and young people and the keeping of them in incommunicado. The parents of the abducted children, who remain missing after their arrests, made an assertion. They said the government wanted statements against India for their involvement in Balochistan by way of coerced confessions. There is a grave need for law enforcement agencies to be pressured to follow the rule of law. They need to operate according to civilian laws which allow for proper methods of investigation before arrest and warrants for arrest.

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

ENDS

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