The premier Asian Human Rights Commission has urged the Pakistani authorities to stop arbitrary arrests and torture of Baluch students in the area-wise largest Baluchistan province, which the Baluch call occupied territories.
After Pakistan's accusation of Indian involvement in subversive activities in Balochistan province, the law enforcement agencies reacted heavily against the students of the province who have sympathies with nationalist movement, the Hongkong-based AHRC said in a statement Thursday.
"The para-military forces, particularly, the Frontier Corps (FC) started arresting people, keeping them in incommunicado in unknown places," the AHRC said. There are reports of arrests of dozens of young persons. 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 Corps soldiers, 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 [also known as Marri camp]. He is a daily wage earner and the father of two children.
Pakistan has siged two treaties banning torture but is flagrantly violating international law in Baluchistan.
According to Lydia Ansari, who works for the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Campaign International in Washington DC, in terms of human rights treaties, Pakistan has signed (on 17 April 2008) but not ratified the CAT (Convention Against Torture). "However, their signature reflects their intent to take steps to ratify and a great responsibility for respecting articles of the treaty and its purpose (to prevent torture)," she said.
Likewise, Ansari said Pakistan has signed but not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which also bans the use of torture.
Along with a large group, Ansari had recently visited the Pakistan embassy in Washington DC and specifically asked about missing students Zakir Majeed, Mushtaq Baloch and Najeeb Baluch, but said she could not get any answer from an embassy official.
The mission of TASSC International is to end the practice of torture wherever it occurs and to empower survivors, their families and communities wherever they are. The DC-based American Friends of Baluchistan is seeking the organiization's help to stop torture of Baluch prisoners of conscience.
"Baluch are being treated as children of a lesser God," deplored AFB presiding council member Rasheed Baloch.
The AHRC said 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 Luck Pas, Quetta. Fazal Baloch, resident of Proom village, Panjgur district, was traveling to Punjgur by bus. He 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.) in 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), the AHRC said
Mr. Iqbal Baloch, 21, a student of Khuzdar College, Khuzdar district, was arrested by frontier constabulary (FC) on 18 July, 2009. His whereabouts are still 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, in Novemeber last year, the government of Pakistan has started blaming india for the popular uprising in Balochistan.
The prime minister of Pakistan, Yusuf Raza Gilani -- who gained international infamy for publicly fondling former information minister Sherry Rahman ---, succeeded in putting the name of Balochistan in the Joint statement when he met his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh 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 about Indian involvement in Balochistan.
The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the government of Pakistan, especially the Balochistan province, to stop the arrest of students and young people and keeping of them in incommunicado. The parents of the abducted children, who remain missing after their arrests, assert the government want statements against India of 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," the AHRC said.
Meanwhile, in a statement Friday the BSO Azad said its Senior Vice Chairman, Mr. Zakir Majeed, who was abducted by Pakistani intelligence agents on June 8, 2009 from Mastung, near Quetta, is still missing.
Majeed was with two other members, Waheed Baloch and Basit Baloch, near a busy marketplace at around noon when they were stopped by plainclothesmen.
The men, who had driven up in two Toyota cars without number plates, asked a few questions and said that they were intelligence agents working for the Pakistan army. They took Majeed away with them in one of the cars, the BSO Azad said.
The BSO Azad said it fears Majeed's life is in danger, and called upon human rights organization to pressurize Islamabad to produce Majeed in court.
"Everyone must do as much as possible to save the Baloch students from severe torture," Baseer Naveed, AHRC's senior researcher on its South Asia desk said from Hongkong. Naveed's own 20-year-old son Faraz Naveed was tortured and killed by Pakistani intelligence in November 2004 [Click link below].