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Dec 4, 2009

A Baloch’s tale of the torture cell

Shafi Baloch, a student and the Junior Joint Secretory of B.S.O. Azaad, working for the independence of Balochistan, was recently released by authorities after being tortured by Pakistan’s armed forces. He was arrested by Barori Police and later disappeared. Police deny ever arresting him. After his release, Mr. Baloch was admitted to a hospital in Quetta where he described the methods of torture used by security forces to wish to create a climate of fear amongst those Baloch who are seeking independence.

Below is Shafi Baloch's statement:

“I was arrested infront of Bolan Medical College Quetta when I was returning home after attending a public gatering in the college. At the time i was being taken away I was severly beaten by the officials of Barori police station and was then taken to the police station where I was abused and humiliated in every way possible, they kept on beating me and asking me questions about the contacts I had saved in my cell phone, after being beaten for about two hours I was blindfolded and taken to some higher official where I was welcomed with punches and kicks coming from all the sides, I didn’t knew whether it was police or the army of Pakistan as I was unable to see anything. After asking me several questions regarding India’s, Afghanistan’s and America’s invovlment in the Baloch freedom movement and not getting satisfactory answers I was taken to some far place as it took quite a while for us to reach there. Each question was asked with a kick or punch on the sensitive parts of my body but I didn’t knew even bitter things were about to come. As I was brought to this new place I was unblinded in a very dark cell, and I was asked to admit that the students organization (Baloch Student Organization Azaad) I am working for is involved in the armed struggle against Pakistan army, but as our organization is unarmed and I didn’t had any idea of what to reply I was turned naked and hanged upside down for about two days, where I was given nothing to eat, from time to time some guy came and talked with me in Punjabi (language spoken by the ruling ethnic group in Pakistan) and asked to admit that I was a terrorist and getting a negative response he beated me severly. Once an army official who looked quite gentle with beard on his face wrote “Baloch” with a sharp pen on my forehead and then he urinated on that. I was beaten severly by that official and while he was beating me he kept on singing “ Long Live Pakistan”. I was also given electric shocks after the person urinated on face, the electric shocks made me unconscious for a while, but as i came back in my senses further shocks were given so that i may not have a moment of relief. 

I was told by an interogator that the cell I was kept in also contained Maulana Farooq Sanjrani, Safar Khan Marri and Hassan Marri (Baloch abductees), and I also heard sounds of helicopters landind and taking off outside the cell I was kept in. I was also able to hear other Baloch friends who were kept in the adjacent barracks as they spoke with each other in Balochi or Brahvi (languages apoken by Baloch people). The torture I faced was inhuman and barbaric, but I still believe myself amonst the luckier ones as their in the cells I came to know of Balochs who were phsically paralysed and many were facing mental illnesses and had lost their mental capabilities. After being severly tortured in the way I mentioned I was again a day blindfolded and was thrown out of a car on some road, I didn’t knew where it was as I was not concious enough to even recongnize people, at the time I was being leaved I was asked not to speak a word of what happened to me or else they would kill me, but today I am speaking to let the world know about the conditions which thousands of other Balochs are facing in the torture cells of Pakistan.”