The Information Secretary of the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) Qambar Malik, attended a virtual meeting with members of the United Nation’s Working Group Against Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) on 19th February 2021, during the 123rd session of the Working Group.
The meeting was chaired by the Chair-Rapporteur Mr. Tae-Ung Baik, while other members of the Working Group Ms. Aua Balde, and members from the WGEID Secretariat also attended the meeting. The working group was given a detailed presentation by the BHRC representative about the Baloch conflict with Pakistan that has resulted in the Enforced Disappearances of thousands of Baloch dissidents. The BHRC representative outlined the patterns and methods of Enforced Disappearances employed by the state authorities to punish the dissidents. He maintained that although Balochistan records the highest numbers of cases, Enforced Disappearances are also common in Sindh and KPK.
BHRC representative informed the Working Group members that the victims of the Enforced Disappearances include people from all walks of life and of all ages and gender. Many of these victims were tortured to death and their mutilated bodies dumped in Balochistan and Sindh, whereas, the majority remain detained incommunicado. The members of the Working Group were briefed that the families of the victims of enforced disappearance who are not a direct party to the conflict suffer the consequences, who have resorted to unceasing protests after exhausting nearly all the domestic remedies.
The WGEID members were informed that despite documented evidence of the involvement of the state security forces in crimes against humanity, the perpetrators of these crimes enjoy impunity. No measures have been taken by the successive governments in Pakistan to chalk out a mechanism to make the perpetrators accountable, serve justice to the victims, and families, and locate the disappeared.
Although some victims have been released but traumatized by their experiences, they have resorted to seclusion. They have been threatened of severe consequences if they dared to go public about their predicament, the Working Group was told.
The BHRC representative also highlighted the lack of political will by the authorities to resolve the issue of enforced disappearances. He mentioned that the list of thousands of disappeared was submitted in the National Assembly by Sardar Akhtar Mengal, leader of the Balochistan National Party in 2018. The ruling PTI has failed to produce the disappeared persons. In January 2021, Mohsin Dawar and Sardar Akhtar Mengal presented a bill in the National Assembly calling for an end to Enforced Disappearance, which was rejected by the parliament.
Sammi Baloch, daughter of the forcibly disappeared Dr. Deen Muhammad, and Seema Baloch, sister of forcibly disappeared Shabbir Baloch provided testimonies about the disappeared members of their families and talked about the derogatory remarks by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COIED) a few days ago. The Working Group also heard testimony by a Baloch victim of Enforced Disappearance who shared his predicament of illegal detention and torture in Pakistan. The WGEID expressed grave concern upon hearing the testimonies and took special interest when the case of Hani Gul’s disappearance along with many others was highlighted by the BHRC representative.
The members of the WGEID appreciated the witnesses and assured they continue to closely monitor the situation in Pakistan and particularly in Balochistan. They asserted that WGEID will provide as much as possible assistance to the families in communicating their cases to the party-state. The BHRC thanked the WGEID for their time and guidance. It was agreed to work in mutual coordination to raise and resolve the issue of missing persons in Balochistan.