Balochistan Police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) says they killed 9 militants in a shootout during a raid in the Mastung area of Balochistan on Saturday.
A spokesperson for the CTD in a statement said they had received a tip-off about the presence of a militant camp run by the insurgents from the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) in Roshi, the mountainous area in Splinji, Mastung.
The statement said militants opened fire on police triggering a gun battle that left nine “militants” dead.
“The camp was being used as a launching pad for military activities in various parts of Balochistan including the provincial capital in Quetta. The camp was also used as a hideout for the militants from different insurgent groups”, read the CTD statement.
According to the CTD, the slain insurgents were members of BLA, Baloch Liberation Front (BLF), and the United Baloch Army (UBA) but it did not provide any evidence to substantiate its claim nor did it reveal the identities of the killed men.
The dead bodies were taken to the hospital in Quetta. A police surgeon in the hospital, Dr. Ayesha Faiz, revealed that most of the killed men had been shot in the head.
On the other hand, the human rights organizations in Balochistan have challenged the CTD claim that the murdered men were militants. They fear the slain men were victims of enforced disappearance who were kept in secret detention centers before being fatally shot by the CTD. They have also requested families of victims of enforced disappearance to visit the hospital to help identify the slain men.
In the past, the CTD had claimed to kill militants in multiple raids in various parts of Balochistan, however, it was later revealed that many of the men killed by the CTD were already registered as forcibly disappeared by the security forces with their whereabouts hidden from their families.
Malik Siraj Akbar, a Washington-based journalist from Balochistan in a tweet on the incident said, “It is shocking how Pakistan gets away with so many extrajudicial killings in Balochistan in the name of national security”.
The security forces in Balochistan have a chequered history of forcibly disappearing and extra-judicially killing dissidents without the fear of accountability in the absence of meaningful intervention by the international community while the judiciary in the country remains seriously compromised.