Asad Mengal missing for 50 years

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QUETTA (Balochistan): The people of Balochistan have been victims of ‘Kill and Dump’ policy since the 1970s and Asad Mengal, who is the first victim of this policy, is missing for more than 50 years.

According to an article titled ‘Tracing Pakistan’s Kill & Dump Policy: remembering Asad Mengal and Ahmed Shah’ by Naseer Dashti published in The Balochistan Post, the whereabouts of hundreds of people, who have been abducted by the Pakistani authorities under its ‘Kill and Dump’ policy, are unknown and the family members are waiting for any news about their loved ones.

According to a website Balochistan Affairs, two pictures of Baloch people Asad Mengal and Ahmed Shah are reportedly mentioned.

The ‘Kill and Dump’ policy named by Amnesty International, began under the regime of General Pervez Musharraf has continued till now.

According to Dashti, the policy focuses on the detainment of Baloch activists, holding them incommunicado for an unspecified time during which they are subjected to torture, interrogation and execution and subsequent dumping of bodies.

“According to our own research at least 249 Baloch activists, teachers, journalists and lawyers have disappeared or been murdered between 24 October 2010 and 10 September 2011 alone, many in so-called ‘kill and dump’ operations,” said Amnesty International (AI) in its 2012 briefing.

According to the author, though the number of victims of the kill and dump policy increased in the initial years of the 21st century, Balochistan had been a victim since the 1970s. 

“A prominent casualty of the policy was Asad Mengal, the eldest son of Sardar Ataullah Mengal, who was the first elected chief minister of the province of Balochistan,” Dashti said.

Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) President Sardar Akhtar Mengal who always raises voice for missing persons in Balochistan province.

Asad Mengal and his friend Ahmad Shah Kurd disappeared on February 6, 1976.

Though the authorities refused to admit its role in their disappearance, the security agencies had accused Mengal of actually coordinating the resistance movement in central Balochistan while organising a political mobilisation against military operation in the region, the article stated. 

However, Mengal and Shah’s families have maintained their stance that the duo was “picked by the personnel belonging to intelligence agencies”.

“They were ambushed in their car near Muhammad Ali Housing Society in Karachi. Gunshots were heard by eyewitnesses and the residents of the area, their blood was splattered all over the car, but their bodies were never found. At the time of their disappearance rumors circulated that they were killed at the spot and their bodies were taken away while others believed they were killed later in a detention center by the military,” Dashti said.

The author further stated that while some Baloch leaders were released when the Bhutto regime was overthrown by the army in 1977, Mengal and his friend’s whereabouts are still unknown.

Dashti said, “According to a Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir having close ties with the military establishment, he was told by General Tikka Khan who was the army chief before the appointment of General Zia that Asad Mengal and his friend were picked up by the army from Mir Balakh Sher Mazari’s house in Karachi in 1976 and killed somewhere near Thatta where he was hurriedly buried. On February 20, 2012, a former chief of Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul acknowledged during a television talk show that Sardar Ataullah Mengal’s son, Asad, was killed in an interrogation center during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s era.”

While 50 years have passed since the disappearance of Mengal and his friend along with hundreds of other Baloch people, only “some families have been fortunate to find the bodies of their loved ones on some desolate places”. (ANI)