Missing persons – a curse in Balochistan, 10 returned home

QUETTA: Kidnapping, missing and killing of people in Balochistan has become a routine and local people take this heinous crime as a curse.

According to Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), a human rights organisation, more than 6,000 people are still missing from Balochistan. Since 2009, 1,400 people who were abducted by security forces have been found dead, their bodies riddled with bullets and drill holes, or bearing signs of torture and mutilation.

A file picture shows the VBMP activists protesting against the missing people in Balochistan.

On January 2, 10 coal miners were kidnapped and brutally killed by militants in the Machh area of the southwestern province of Balochistan.

In a latest development, during the last two days, 10 missing persons from different areas of Gwadar and Turbat districts of Balochistan province have returned to their homes safely. According to the report of Dawn newspaper, among these people was Balochi language poet Obaid Arif who went missing in November 2018 from Jat Dasht area of ​​Gwadar district.

The other two are Amir Shikari and Imam Ishaq, both from Dasht-e-Mazanband in Gwadar district, who have returned home after two and a half years.

Sources said that Irfan Imam Bakhsh of Bal-Negur in Ketch district, Waheed Dad from Sami Klag and Manzoor Hussain of Menaz Balida also reached their homes.

In addition, four other people from the Absar and Tamp areas of Ketch District also returned to their homes two years later. They were identified as Izzatullah, Mehran, Muhammad Sharif and Gulab.

When they returned home, they were warmly welcomed by their families and locals. A large number of people also came to congratulate him on his safe return.

What about missing persons?

It should be noted that the issue of missing persons or enforced disappearances is very serious in Pakistan. The families of these persons claim that their loved ones are forcibly taken away by the security agencies and then they are not produced in court.

Some missing people who reached home after two and half years.

Human rights organizations have repeatedly raised the issue and called for justice for the families of the missing.

In this regard, on the instructions of the Supreme Court, the Home Ministry had set up a two-member commission headed by Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal in 2011. The other member is Inspector General (IG) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In January 2019, a historic decision was taken by the government, under which those involved in the kidnapping of citizens will be prosecuted under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPP).

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office stated that the decision to amend the PPC was made to criminalize any attempt by an individual or organization to forcibly disappear.

It may be recalled that in July 2018, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had clarified the concept of enforced disappearance and stated that a person involved in the disappearance and abduction of citizens from unknown places could be prosecuted under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

UN Chief condemns

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the killing of 11 coal miners in the Balochistan province and urged Pakistan to bring perpetrators of the terrorist act to justice.
In a statement, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, said Guterres trusts that Pakistan will bring perpetrators of the terrorist act to justice.

Members of the Shia Hazara community stand around the bodies of 11 coal miners in the Mach area of Balochistan on January 2, 2021.

“The Secretary-General strongly condemn s the terrorist attack and killing of at least 11 coal miners in the Balochistan province of Pakistan yesterday. He extends his sincere condolences to the families of the miners and the people and government of Pakistan,” the statement read.
“He trusts the Pakistani authorities will do everything possible to bring the perpetrators of this terrorist act to justice,” it added.
Eleven coal miners, all members of the minority Hazara Shia community, were kidnapped and reportedly killed in Machh town in here on Sunday.