Balochistan: Terra Nullius at Mercy of Predators
by Baloch Human Rights Organization on 24 Mar 2017 5 Comments

BHRO brings forth reports of human rights’ violation taking place due to the rigid counter insurgency policies of Government. International human rights organizations and media are not allowed in Balochistan, and local media don’t cover stories related to Balochistan due to extreme censorship by military and State’s other institutions, therefore Balochistan has remained unheard. Some local media and human rights organizations have reported human rights violations by forces time to time but have faced serious consequences in the form of banning of newspapers, abduction and killing of journalists and human rights activists. Not only international community and international media are silent on such a serious humanitarian crisis but the fellow countrymen of other provinces are also unaware of the ongoing situation in Balochistan.


According to local organizations and political parties, more than 20,000 people were abducted and are still missing, and more than 3,500 mutilated bodies were found dumped in different areas of Balochistan. Among them most of the abductees and killed people were political activists. Mass graves were also recovered from different parts of Balochistan but no investigation has been conducted so far, nor has any step been taken for the identification of the buried corpses. Due to rigid counter insurgency policies and military operations, thousands of people have migrated to different areas of Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab, and living a very miserable life. As most areas in Balochistan are totally under military control and all communication means are blocked by security forces, reports on the area represent barely 20-25% of the data.


Internally Displaced Persons in Balochistan

Balochistan is rich in natural resources, it has a 700-km long coast, situated on international air and sea routes, and its geo-political importance is undeniable. But more than 80% population is living in poverty and deprived of basic facilities of health, education and residence. Moreover, due to different reasons, thousands of people are leaving their ancestors lands and are forced to live immigrants’ lives; due to lack of facilities they are living in miserable conditions where they have immigrated.


The main reason for the migration of the people is the ongoing war between insurgents and Pakistan government, especially the rigid counter insurgency policies of state forces. The migration of people in Balochistan began in 1970s and still continues. In 1973, security forces conducted massive military operations against freedom fighters in Kohistan Marri and Chamalang. Due to military operations thousands of people from Kohistan Marri and Chamalang migrated to Afghanistan. The refugee camps in Afghanistan lacked basic facilities and education. The Baloch immigrants remained there for a long period of 14 years.


After the Taliban government in Afghanistan, these immigrants migrated back to Balochistan and due to lack of finance they couldn’t go back to their ancestral lands and settled in New Kahan, near Quetta. Even after 25 years the government hasn’t provided them with education or other facilities and due to lack of financial means they are living in worst poverty.


Operations from 2005-2006:

In 2000, war started between Pakistan’s government and insurgents, and in reaction, massive military operations were conducted all over Balochistan. In 2005, huge military operations were conducted in Dera Bugti, Kohlu, Kahan, in which hundreds of people were killed and many more were abducted, and till today their fates remain unknown. Villages after village was destroyed in indiscriminate bombardment, crops were burned down and all the valuables including the livestock of people were looted by security forces. People were compelled to migrate due to the situation. 200,000 people from Kohlu and Dera Bugti migrated to Naseerabad, Jaffarabad, Jacobabad, Punjab and to the border areas of Balochistan where they are compelled to live as immigrants.


Hundreds of people died, a majority of them children, due to illness, extreme weather conditions and lack of shelter. Today, even after 10 years, the Internally Displaced Persons are living in the very same conditions in these areas. In 2006, United Nation showed its concern about migration of people in such a large number and the miserable condition of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and offered its services to work with IDPs but Pakistan government denied and said that no one had migrated, and there are no IDPs in Pakistan.


Due to censorship on media, neither electronic nor print media ever reported about military operations, internally displaced people and casualties that occurred as a result of these operations. A local newspaper published a report on IDPs in 2007, which was later shut down and its offices were seized. When Edhi Foundation and a European organization Oxfam tried to work on internally displaced persons, the government didn’t permit them.


Internally Displaced Persons after 2009:


In 2009, in order to counter the ongoing insurgency in Balochistan, Pakistan’s government started its kill and dump policy and intensified military operations all over Balochistan; as a result hundreds of people migrated from Quetta, Kalat, Mastung, Khuzdar, Awaran, Turbat, Sibi, Noshki, Bolan, Mach, Gwadar and Kharan to safer places, mostly to inner Sindh, Karachi and Hub Chowki. Till today in Hub Chowki, thousands of internally displaced people deprived of basic life facilities and are living in miserable conditions.


The common people are affected most in the war between Baloch insurgents and government. In the situation of encounter, state forces target civilians. Bombardment of houses of civilians, burning them down and abduction of people has become a daily routine of forces. In February 2010, forces abducted 35 people from Tootak in an operation in which some of them were later released while 18 people are still missing. All the abductees belong to Qalandarani tribe. After this incident many people migrated from Tootak to different areas of Balochistan.


In 2013, two mass graves were found from the same area, in which 160 corpses were found buried. Naseer and Kareem Buksh, both cousins and residents of district Awaran, were identified on the first day of digging by their identity cards placed in their pockets; were abducted few months back from Awaran Main Bazar.


In 2013, an earth quake hit Awaran and Mashkay which doubled the problem of the people, because these areas were already under military operations. The local organizations of Balochistan tried to provide aid to rehabilitate the people of Awaran and Mashkay, but the government didn’t allow them and stopped the rehabilitation work. International organizations offered their services but government didn’t grant Non-Objection Certificate, but the fundamentalist organization Jama’at-ud-Da’wah of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who carries a bounty of $ 10 million announced by the USA, was allowed, and even today they are busy in changing the secular ethos of Baloch people and fanning sectarian hatred. Moreover, regular army was deployed in these areas after earthquake and massive military operations were started in district Awaran and especially in Mashkay and its surroundings.


Due to earth quake and operations, a large number of people of district Awaran migrated from their lands. Till today district Awaran is under heavy military siege, due to which the accurate number of migrated people is hard to find, but at least 40% of the people of district Awaran have migrated. 2,700 people of 500 families have migrated from 20 villages of Kolwah, district Awaran, whereas the people of many villages of Tehsil Jhao and Mashkay of the same district have also left their homes and migrated. 500 families have migrated from Kohado, Daro Kuchag, Gazzi, Wadi, Zeelag and Shandi of Tehsil Jhao. The people who couldn’t afford to migrate were left behind on the mercy of security forces.


A resident of Kohado, tehsil Jhao, who wants to remain anonymous, said:

“We are all farmers and were totally dependent on our farms for our living. This source of income couldn’t be transferred with us. That’s why when we migrated to Hub Chowki, our problems were doubled. I sold my herd in order to fulfill the needs of daily life but the money which I got from selling my herd was not enough to buy medicine, giving rent and to fulfill other needs of daily life.”


This is the story of most of the migrants, as the source of income of 80 percent of
the population of Balochistan is farming.


Most areas of Balochistan are under military siege and due to non-documented migration of people from Tijaban, Shahrak, Hirronk, Balgatar and Shapuk, the exact number of people migrated is unknown and hard to be found out, but as per our survey and record, at least 2-3,000 families have left their homes and migrated. All these people have migrated to Hub Chowki, Turbat, Winder and to other areas, where they are living a miserable life.


Internally displaced persons from Awaran and Mashkay who have migrated to Hub Chowki were not even spared there. The series of operations and abduction were continued there too. Today, Balochistan has become a war zone, where number of internally displaced persons are increasing due to military operations and abduction of people on regular basis. Not even a single institution is helping them, and government isn’t fulfilling any of its responsibilities of rehabilitating the IDPs.


China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and IDPs:


China and Pakistan signed $ 46 billion agreement in 2013, namely China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which connects the port city of Balochistan, Gwadar, to China. In order to secure the route, security forces started military operations on its Western route and emptied the villages forcefully on either side of the route, and in some areas people were compelled to leave their lands due to adverse conditions.


In Shahrak, Shapuk, Sami, Hirronk, Hoshab and Balgatar, security forces threatened the residents to leave their lands or get ready for the consequences. Security forces forced them to leave their land by conducting military operations on daily basis. Abduction and killing of the residents of these areas compelled the people to leave their lands. 70% of the residents have left their homes and migrated to other areas of Balochistan.


A link road of CPEC passes from Dasht, district Kech, to connect Iran. In November, 2016, security forces started a series of military operations in Dasht. In 37 days, the forces abducted 180 people from Dasht. 200 families have left their houses and migrated to different areas of Balochistan so far, and the people who couldn’t afford to migrate are left at the mercy of security forces.


The state policies of countering insurgency and especially the strategy of completion of the CPEC have affected the people, and displaced thousands of families from their homes, whereas on the other side, silence of international media and human right organizations have worsened the situation in Balochistan. Displacement of people and their miserable condition made China a partner in crime equally.


From the BHRO annual report 2016

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