Remembering Disappeared Baloch on International Day of the Disappeared  

Imran Baluch ( UK )  

On 30 August, the International community remembered the missing and disappeared people throughout the world. The day has been officially declared as the Day of the Disappeared. On that day, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) calls on all governments to provide answers to families on the fate and whereabouts of missing persons. International Human Rights Organisations have declared enforced disappearance as a grave human rights violation and a crime against humanity. On this day, 30th August 2007, the fate of tens of thousands of innocent Baloch youth and elders remains unknown. Thousands of Baloch families in Pakistan occupied Balochistan are looking for justice for their beloveds and peace of mind for themselves in particular and for the Baloch society in general.

The people in the Pakistan occupied Balochistan are facing a peculiar situation of uncertainty and injustice. The secret agencies of Pakistani army, which is ruling the country for the last 60 years one way or the other, can pick a Baloch at any time with impunity. They do not care whether this Baloch is 80 years old or a 12 years teenager. In the list of the disappeared Baloch, many victims have included women and children also. They could be taken at any time, day or night. Their captors may be in uniform or civilian clothes. They forcibly take them away, giving no reason, producing no warrant. Their relatives desperately try to find them, going from one police station or army camp to the next. The officials deny having arrested them or knowing anything about their whereabouts or fate. The courts in that ‘God Given Country' are helpless. A decision made by even an army subaltern carries more weight than a high court judge does.

Disappeared Baloch persons from Pakistan occupied Balochistan have been denied the right to a proper arrest and to a fair trial. There has been evidence of inhuman torture on many of the disappeared persons. Some have eventually been killed and some have been dumped away in half-dead condition.

One of the main affect of these enforced disappearances in Balochistan is the grave socio-economic situation of their families. Many of the disappeared were the main bread earner for the family and their families are facing immense financial hardship.

All the well-known human rights organizations and other concerned institutions have been voicing their serious concern regarding the fate of missing persons in Pakistani Balochistan. Internationally, Pakistan has been identified as one of the countries with high numbers of enforced disappearances unfortunately; most of these forced disappearances took place in Balochistan. Currently more then 6000 Baloch youth/ political activists are either missing or being tortured in the Pakistan 's army secret dungeons.

This inhuman behaviour of Pakistan has forced hundreds of the Baloch women and children to take into streets and protest against forced disappearances, torture and extra judicial killings of Baloch youth. This is an act, which is indicative of extreme conditions and desperation of Baloch masses where women held the utmost respect and not supposed to take to street on political or social issues.

Enforced disappearance of Baloch elders and youth by Pakistani armed forces violates the rights of both the disappeared person and their relatives and the Baloch society as a whole. The clear responsibility to provide answers regarding the fate of missing persons lies with the government of Pakistan as government secret agencies and it armed forces are responsible for these enforced disappearances. Nevertheless, it is now an open secret that Pakistan has neither any respect of National and International human rights laws or it has any tradition to respect value or human lives. This has been particularly obvious regarding their attitude and behaviour vis a vis Baloch people.

The only hope left for the Baloch is the support of international community. It is the moral obligation and duty of International Human Right Groups, International Commission on Missing Persons (ECMP) , UN, EU and all freeborn people to put pressures on Pakistan regarding enforced disappearances, torture, extra judicial arrests and gross human rights violations in Balochistan, as currently the fate of tens of thousands remains unknown. The Baloch are looking for justice and peace of mind. There will be no peace mind for their families until their beloved who have been forcefully taken away from them are found and the perpetrators of inhuman crimes are brought to justice.