Protest against burial of corpses of two Baloch youth

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Special report from Turbat and Toronto

A large number of Baloch women and children staged a protest at Turbat Press Club against the hasty burial of the corpses of two Baloch allegedly by Pakistani forces and accused them of desecrating the dead bodies. The relatives of Irfan Baloch and Noor Khan Baloch along with Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Makuran chapter coordinator Ghani Parwaz held a crowded press conference at Turbat Press Club in district Kech Balochistan on Wednesday demanding the dead bodies of two Baloch ‘sarmachaars’ (Freedom fighters) killed in a gun battle against Pakistani forces be handed over to their families for paying their last respect and performing Islamic rituals.

Shehla Mustafa, the sister of Irfan Baloch said through this press conference they wanted to inform the civilised world, national and international human rights organisations about the “cruel and brutal” actions of the Pakistan army. “I am the daughter of Ghulam Mustafa. The Pakistan army killed my father along with another ten Baloch on May 25, 2013, after a complete boycott of Pakistani election by the people of Balochistan”, she said.

“The Pakistan Army also set fire to all our family houses including mine, there were times that we were forced to spend several days and nights under the open sky without any food and water because even a glass of drinking was spared in our homes,” she alleged.

QUETTA: Family members and relatives of Rashid Hussain Baloch and other missing persons hold a protest in front of Quetta Press Club demanding early recovery of these people. INP photo by Ahmad Bhatti.

Talking about the recent killing of her brother along with another Baloch ‘sarmachar’, she said, “On September 28, my brothers Irfan Baloch and Noor Khan Baloch were martyred by the Pakistan Army [in a gun battle]. We went to the Tump (WAPDA Grade) Army Camp on the morning of September 29 to receive the dead bodies but the Army treated us with great contempt and made us wait till the evening. Then we were told to come at 10 pm and take the corpses of the martyrs.”

“We waited in front of the camp all night but we were not given the bodies and the military personnel repeatedly behaved with us in an abusive manner, kept abusing us, they tried to harass us in every possible way but we refused to leave without the dead bodies of our loved ones,” said Shehla.

Despite sitting all night, she said, the army did not give the dead bodies. “Then we asked the regional authorities to talk to the army. When the regional officials spoke to the army, the officials were told that they would find the bodies tomorrow, September 30. On September 30, we went to collect the bodies, we found that the bodies of Irfan Jan and Noor Khan had been dumped in a pit, dug out by a tractor, without performing the last rites and funeral rituals.”

She said that they were not as saddened by the martyrdom of our loved ones as they were by the desecration of their corpses. “This state [Pakistan] calls itself an Islamic and democratic. What kind of Islamic law is that which allows the state forces to drag and desecrate inanimate bodies? In this state, dead bodies are desecrated and dumped into pits dug by tractors instead of humans. Neither Islam nor human values allow these actions.”

TURBAT: The relatives of Irfan Baloch and Noor Khan Baloch along with Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Makuran chapter coordinator Ghani Parwaz holding a press conference on Wednesday. A number of Pakistani TV channels attended and covered the event.

She maintained, “We believe that this is the extreme hatred of Pakistan against the Baloch nation which is manifesting itself in the form of such inhumane acts. The situation now is that where our loved ones were buried in pits dug by tractors, the army has deployed its personnel around their graves and we are not allowed to even recite the Fatiha (condolences).

“Through this press conference and media, we want to make it clear that there is no reason why our loved ones should not be handed over to us unless the Pakistani forces used chemical weapons to kill them and either their bodies have been burnt and tortured or desecrated in one way or another that is why Pakistani forces want to conceal their crimes against humanity.”

She said that recently the bodies of another two Baloch youths in the Gichak area of Balochistan were buried in the same fashion by the so-called Islamic army instead of handing them over to their heirs. “We appeal to the national and international human rights bodies to conduct an autopsy on the bodies under their supervision. If they cannot do so, they will allow us to exhume the bodies and bury them according to Baloch traditional manner and perform funeral rites.”

She reiterated that until the bodies of our martyrs are handed over to us, our peaceful protest at Shaheed Fida Baloch Chowk will continue and we appeal to our friends of humanity from all over the world to come forward in our support for the sake of humanity and human values.

In a separate statement, human rights activists, from Karachi announced to hold a press conference at Karachi Press Club against not handing over the dead bodies of the two Baloch youth to their loved ones. They said that 48 hours have passed but the Pakistani forces have still not handed over the dead bodies. (ANI)

Protest in Toronto

Meanwhile, Canadian Baloch rights activists protested against alleged atrocities in Balochistan. October 4 commemorates the fourth year of the disappearance of Baloch student leader, Shabir Baloch who was arrested and disappeared on Oct 4, 2016, from Awaran, Balochistan.

Speakers; Karima Baloch, Lateef Johar, Zaffar Baloch, Tarek Fatah, and Hajan Kalhoro condemned human rights violations in Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. They demanded the immediate release of Shabir Baloch and all disappeared persons.

World Sindhi Congress and Pashtun Tahafuz Movement actively participated in the protest gathering in the Canadian city.

“Release Shabir Baloch” Toronto protest rally demanded an end to atrocities, political abductions & extrajudicial killings in Balochistan, Sindh. Pakhtunistan-Stop Baloch Genocide. End Pakistani military occupation of Balochistan, Sindh and Pakhtunistan. Free Balochistan,” Zaffar Baloch, a Baloch activist, wrote on Twitter.

The activist further shared a video on Twitter with the message, “We have gathered here today to remember who Shabir Baloch is and why he was taken away by the Pakistani army during an operation in 2016 in Balochistan. Shabbir Ahmed is a student of Balochistan University and the secretary of BSO Azad.”

His video message further added that the reason why the Pakistani authorities “had a problem” with the student leader was because “of his agitation, his demands” asking the rights of the Baloch people and Balochistan.

“The reason why the Pakistani authorities had a problem with Shabir Baloch (was) because of his agitation, his demands that he was asking–from the authorities–for the rights of the Baloch people and the rights of Balochistan,” it added.

Shabir was allegedly abducted by the Pakistani Army on October 4, 2016, from Gowarkop and was attending a gathering the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) when the army conducted a raid at the place where a gathering was being held. Apart from Shabir, 29 others were also picked up.

Balochistan is a resource-rich but least developed province of Pakistan where a movement for freedom is ongoing for the past several decades. Many Baloch believe that the region was independent before 1947 and was forcibly occupied by Pakistan.

Pakistan Army has launched several operations in Balochistan and has supported criminals, which locals call “death squads”.

A large number of political activists, intellectuals, women and children in Pakistan’s Balochistan province are victims of enforced disappearances by the security agencies. Many of them are languishing in detention centres whereas mutilated bodies of some of these abducted Baloch are found in isolated places. (ANI)