Amnesty International on Tuesday demanded an investigation into the torture and killings of 40 Baloch leaders and political activists over the past four months; stating that the Pakistan Government’s failure to prevent abuses has emboldened the perpetrators of these atrocities.
In a statement, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director Sam Zarifi said: "The Pakistani government must show that it can and will investigate the Pakistani military and Frontier Corps, as well as intelligence agencies, who are widely accused of playing a role in these incidents.”
According to Amnesty International, activists, politicians and student leaders are among those who have been targeted in enforced disappearances, abductions, arbitrary arrests and cases of torture and other ill-treatment in the restive province. "Baloch political leaders and activists are clearly being targeted and the government must do much more to end this alarming trend.’’
Among the latest victims of the ongoing violence are Faqir Mohammad Baloch and Zahoor Baloch whose bodies were discovered in Mastung district on October 21. Faqir Mohammad was a poet and member of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons and Zahoor was associated with the Baloch Student Organisation-Azad.
The discovery of the two men’s bodies, Amnesty International noted, is part of a growing trend of “kill and dump” operations. "Bullet-ridden bodies of those who have been abducted, many showing signs of torture, are increasingly being found across Balochistan. Previously, the bodies of missing persons were rarely recovered.’’
The statement also argues that the rise in enforced disappearances and kill and dump incidents has aggravated political tensions in Balochistan and led to reprisal killings by Baloch armed groups like the killing of 17 people from Punjab in Quetta on August 14.
Pointing out that the Balochistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the killings – maintaining that they were in response to the killings of Baloch missing persons – Amnesty International has also urged all sides in the conflict to respect human rights and stop all torture, enforced disappearances, abductions, targeted killings and indiscriminate attacks.