Baloch and Pashtun political activists have raised the growing issue of enforced disappearances in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces of Pakistan during the 54th Session of the UN Human Rights Council Session on Friday.
In his intervention, Munir Mengal, President of the Baloch Voice Association brought to the attention of Council a grave humanitarian crisis that has been unfolding in the region of Balochistan, where the fundamental rights and freedoms of its people are being systematically violated by the government of Pakistan.
He particularly drew attention towards the alarming issue of enforced disappearances in Balochistan.
Munir said, Enforced disappearances are a deeply concerning and inhumane practice that has been ongoing in Balochistan for far too long. Thousands of innocent people have vanished without a trace, their whereabouts unknown, and their families left in anguish and uncertainty. This issue not only violates the most basic human rights but also undermines the principles of justice and accountability that the United Nations stands for.
In August 2023, the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons documented and verified reports of 56 cases of enforced disappearances of Baloch people, which include two women and 26 students. Additionally, there were 43 cases of extrajudicial killings, including five women. The family members of Dr. Deen Mohammad, Zakir Majeed, Zahid Kiurd, Rashid Hussain, Hameed Zehri, Taj Mohammad Sarparah, and thousands others are waiting for the safe recovery of their loved ones, he further said.
Munir Mengal said that Aijaz Ahmed Langaove, a Baloch youth Footballer was taken from his home at midnight and after three weeks his tortured mutilated dead body was recovered from Khuzdar.
His brother said to BBC They snatched my brother in front of mother and returned his dead body.
The United Nations bodies shall take effective measures to save the lives of those who have fallen victim to enforced disappearances in Balochistan.
The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has a pivotal role to play in this regard. It is their duty to investigate these cases, hold those responsible accountable, and ensure that justice is served for the victims and their families. The situation in Balochistan is dire, and the international community cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of its people any longer.
The Baloch political activist urged the United Nations to conduct independent Investigations.
The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances must conduct thorough and independent investigations into cases of enforced disappearances in Balochistan, he added.
This includes gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and pressuring the Pakistani government to cooperate fully.
He also demanded to hold the perpetrators accountable. Those responsible for enforced disappearances, must be held accountable for their actions. The UN should work towards bringing these individuals to justice through international mechanisms if necessary.
The Pashtun political activist, Fazal-ur Rehman Afridi, who is also a member of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) said, We are concerned about the acts of reprisals, intimidation and systematic use of torture directed against members of Pashtun Tahhafuz Movement particularly Alam Zaib Mehsud and Fazal ur Rehman Afridi by Pakistan for their work with United Nations on Enforced Disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture.
He said, Those who demand their rights are systematically disappeared and killed. This year dozens of Pashtuns have been forcibly disappeared by the Pakistani Military. In 2022, 30 confirmed and more than 100 un-documented cases of Enforced Disappearances were reported in KPK. PTM organized several protests in front of the UN Human Rights Council against these abuses.
Afridi said that Ali Wazir, Ex-MNA and Human Rights Defender is subject to extreme torture in custody. He was investigated by Military Secret services and not allowed to sleep the whole night with his arms up in the air.
The Military Secret Services allegedly told him that if we kill you nobody will come to your rescue and no one can make us accountable. The investigators abused him on a daily basis by calling names and cursing. He is pressured not to oppose the deal between Pakistan and TTP to be re-settled in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he told the Council.
Afridi added, Earlier, in Shaktoi area of Waziristan, Pakistani military abducted 27 civilians to a nearby Military camp and tortured them collectively for days. Pakistan, signatory to the UN Convention against Torture should be urged to co-operate with UN treaty bodies and mechanisms. (ANI)