48 people killed by Pakistan security forces in Balochistan in the month of July

Balochistan, Pakistan:  48 killings by the hands of Pakistan’s paramilitary forces including 11 extrajudicial executions in July.

The rights group said 45 cases of involuntary disappearances were recorded in the month.

“Systematic killings and enforced disappearances are considered to be the most pervasive state violations against the people in Balochistan, affecting hundreds of thousands of civilians. These crimes are largely carried out by Pakistani security forces and their affiliated militias locally known as death squads,” the Human Rights Council of Balochistan said in its report.

These groups are operating as part of a deliberate and planned strategy often in a sweeping indiscriminate manner to instill maximum terror and fear into the largest possible number of people in Balochistan.

During the month of July, protesting families of the victims of enforced disappearances went through trauma and anguish all-over again as Pakistani security forces massacred 11 people in a fake encounter, labeling them as terrorists of the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA).

According to the rights group, the forces claimed that they were involved in the kidnapping and murder of lieutenant colonel Laiq Mirza Baig.

“Though there is no evidence yet to prove these allegations. In the following days, seven of these victims were identified by their families as previously disappeared persons with the help of doctors and the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP),” the Baloch council said.

The victims were identified as Shams Satakzai, Salim Karim, Dr Mukhtar, Shehzad Khuda Bakhsh, Shah Bakhsh Marri, Jumma Khan, and Muhammad Khan.

After the identification, the families of the victims took to the streets in protest saying their loved ones were already in the custody of security forces and demanded a judicial commission to investigate the massacre, assurance that the victims of enforced disappearance would not be extrajudicially killed and provide information about the whereabouts of the disappeared persons.

But in retaliation, the police charged the protesting women and children with batons and fired tear gas.

The families have been on a sit-in protest for the last 19 days in front of Governor and Chief Minister Balochistan house however, their demands have not been accepted yet.

In July, Pakistani security forces forcibly disappeared forty-five persons including ten students. Fifteen people were released later while the whereabouts of thirty-five people remain unknown.

July witnessed an increase in the cases of killings as compared to the previous months. Human Rights Council of Balochistan documented forty-eight cases of killings, including five women while fourteen dead bodies remained unidentified.

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