BALOCH INSURGENCY, ITS MANIFESTATION AND KILL AND DUMP
POLICY OF PAKISTAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
if the President or Chief Justice tells us to release you, we wont. We can
torture you, or kill you, or keep you for years at our will. It is only the
Army Chief and the (Intelligence) chief we obey.”
– Pakistani Official to Bashir Azeem,
the 76 year old secretary- general of the Baloch Republican Party, during his
un-acknowledged detention, April 20101.
is bounded by Arabian sea towards South, Afghanistan in North, Iran in West,
Punjab province of Pakistan in Northeast and Sindh province of Pakistan in
East. The area is mountainous and barren with heights ranging from 6000 to
11000 feet. The Baloch plateau has an average altitude of 2000 feet. Overall
region is mosaic of barren and vast land, rugged mountains and coastal belt2.
44 percent of land mass of 347190 square kilometres, Balochistan is the largest
province of Pakistan. Interesting irony is it being least populated accounting
for merely 4.9 percent of population of Pakistan. With a unique
ethno-linguistic origin, Baloch are spread between Pakistan, Iran and
Afghanistan. Pashtuns and Brahui are two other large ethnic groups apart from Baloch.
The region is also home to Punjabis and Sindhis along with other minor groups
such as Turkmens, Uzbecks and Sikhs. The region is distinctly dominated by four
major groups with Baloch occupying eastern regions, Pashtuns dominating north
and east, Brahvis in the west and southern coast being Makrani dominated belt3. The Baloch have been subjected to
state-sponsored repression ever since they had expressed their demand to be
free of Pakistan. There was nothing common, be it the language, or culture, or
history, between the Baloch and the Punjabi Pakistanis. The Baloch always
consider themselves to be a separate nation of people. They were however forced
into submission by Pakistan Army with the West, Britain and US in particular,
supporting the new occupier than the people. Since then, Pakistan has been
trying, without much success, to convert Balochistan into a subsidiary
province, more like a supplier of minerals, gas and other natural resources to
Punjab and Sindh. But the people of Balochistan have been opposing the state
project tooth and nail. For that, they have been over the decades terrorised
through brutal military means.
perspect of Baloch Insurgency
16. The Colonial Era. The British annexed Balochistan to
British India in 18844
and later ceded the western part of the territory (now Sistan-o-Balochistan
Province) to Iran. The north western part of the territory were ceded to Afghanistan
where as part of remaining area was termed as ‘British Balochistan’5.
These were divided into the Khanate of Kalat and three other principalities
namely Makaran, Las Bela and Kharan. Foreseeing the eventual departure of
British from the subcontinent, some Baloch leaders had started to lay claims
for independence as early as in 1930s6.
17. First Phase of Insurgency. The First Rebellion is the term given to a separatist
movement led by the younger brother of Khan of Kalat in 1948 against the
It was to oppose the forceful accession of The Khanate of Kalat, de facto independent
province under British rule, on 27 Mar 1947.
At the time of the Partition, these four princely states were forced to
choose between joining India or Pakistan.
This first phase of Insurgency was crushed by Pakistan military with relative
ease. It is interesting to note
that for 11 years, Mohd Ali Jinnah, who later became the founder of Pakistan
acted as attorney for Khan of Kalat.
During this time, Jinnah prepared arguments for a separate Kalat state
but later backstabbed Balochistan by threatening it and forcibly annexing it8.
Second Phase of Insurgency 1958-1959. The second rebellions
was sparked because of the implementation of the One Unit policy, a measure
that decreased the federal representation of tribal leaders. It is suggested to
have been instigated by then Pakistani President Major General Iskander Mirza
so that he could promulgate martial law in the country. Pakistan was passing through a critical
period and control of the central government was waning. In this phase, the
Khan of Kalat on instigation declared independence, dishonoured Pakistani flag
and hoisted the old flag of Kalat. This provided the President Iskander Mirza, the
much needed alibi, need to quell Baloch uprising and he promulgated martial law across the whole of
Pakistan, dismissed central and provincial governments, banned political
parties, abrogated the constitution, dissolved assemblies and appointed General
Mohammed Ayub Khan, Chief of Pakistan Army as the chief martial
administrator. The Nawab Akbar Khan
Bugti, then Interior Minister, attempted negotiation failed and President
Iskandar Mirza ordered arrest of the Khan of Kalat on 06 Oct 1958. This
provoked Balochis and rebellion against Pakistan started under the leadership
of Nouroz Khan, head of Zarakzai tribes of Balochistan. The rebellion ended in
his arrest, subsequent death in Hyderabd jail and five of his family members
also being hanged to death. However later
Yar Khan was released and his title restored in 19629.
19. The Third Phase of Insurgency 1963-1969. The third phase of Baloch freedom struggle is
a result of resistance to the Pakistani government plan to construct military
bases in these key conflict areas in 1963-1969. The opposition was coupled with
demand for royalty for the mineral resources including the gas extracted from
the Sui gas field in Balochistan and sent to other provinces10. The chief of Marri tribe, Sher Muhammad Birani
Marri, spearheaded the fierce guerrilla warfare against the Pakistani
government supported by several other tribal heads including the Mengal and
Bugti. This rebellion spanning from 1963 to 1969 covered an area of about
72000km. This phase saw a steep curve of violence with Balochis acts of
attacking military installations, convoys and resultant killing of several
security personnel along with other acts as bombing of railway tracks and
damage to government property. These
were met with equal or higher degree of retaliation by Pakistan Army with
vengeance. They killed and arrested a large number of Balochis, raped their
women and burnt their houses, which further fuelled the insurgency. Ultimately in 1969 a ceasefire was agreed
upon and the One Unit policy was abolished11.
20. The Fourth Phase of Insurgency 1973-1977. 1973
marked the commencement of the fourth phase of insurgency. President Zulfiqar
Ali Bhutto abolished the provincial governments and imposed martial law, citing
treason and despite the ceasefire of
1969, Pakistani forces continued the attrocities against the Balochis. Bhutto promulgated Martial Law in
NWFP(North West Frontier Province) and Balochistan. The three major reasons
cited for Bhuttos imposition of martial Law were, firstly the loss of
Bangladesh and the perceived defiance of Ataullah Mengal led government of
Balochistan, secondly the capture of large cache of arms and ammunition from
the Iraqi embassy and thirdly the perceived collusion between USSR and Iraq to
dismember Pakistan and Iran12. Balochistan
People’s Liberation Front(BPLF) came in to existence under Marri tribe head, Nawab
Khair Bakhsh Marri and was joined by fighters from Marri and Mengal tribes.
BPLF commence a guerrilla war against the federal government and resultant killing
of more than 400 Pakistani soldiers.
to hesitation of risking to chase real guerrilla fighters who were hiding in to
hills, Pakistani army targeted and
killed thousands of civilians, destroyed several houses, raped women and
perpetrated diverse kinds of atrocities on Balochis. Iran too assisted Pakistani troops in th
fight against BPLF so as to prevent spread of the same to the Sistan province.
This phase of insurgency continued till 197713. During this period the exile of many Baloch
tribal leaders led to a political vacuum in Balochistan.
22. The Fifth Phase of Insurgency 2005 onwards. The reconcialtion efforts by Nawab Akbar Bugti
and Mir Baloch Marri in form of 15 point
agenda demanding more autonomy, more royalty for the mineral resources of the
province and stoppage of construction of military bases in the state were ignored
by Pakistani government. Near simultaneous targeting of Frontier Corps Major
General Shujaat Zamir and a Brigadier by separatist led to onslaught of
massacre of Balochis by the Punjabi dominated Pakistani army. Furious with the
act, they used lethal weaponry against the Balochis, in which 79 year old Nawab
Akbar Bugti was killed in an special operation on orders of President General
Parvez Musharraf. Though in the ensuing violence approximately 60 Pakistani
soldiers and 7 officers were killed as well.
Pakistani forces abducted Baloch National Movement president Ghulam
Mohammed baloch and two other prominent leaders of BNM in April 2009 and after
torturing, killed them, and threw their bodies in the market to show that the
rebels would be eliminated ruthlessly.
The Pakistani forces resorted to mayhem but could not break the resolve
was also the time when UNHRC representative, John Solecki was abducted from
Quetta. Afterwards a new wave of violence touched urban areas of province,
where in the insurgents started attacking developmental activities and hatred
against non baloch rsidents of province took the shape of target killings. Mir
Suleiman Dawood Khan of Kalat on 12 August declared himself the ruler of an
independent state of Balochistan which included Sistan and the Balochistan province
of Iran. Several secessionist groups of Balochistan
including Nawabzada Brahdagh Bugti, declared their allegiance to the Khan of
Kalat. The international media have commented on the barbarity committed by
Pakistan forces in Balochistan. General Abdul Waheed Kakar, former chief of
Pakistan army, criticised the acts of Pakistani forces in Balochistan by calling
it a “Crime against Pakistan”. More than 15000 civilians were massacred by
Pakistani defence forces in Balochistan from 1973 to 200915.
senior leadership of the Pakistan Army has so far been employing a heavy-handed
to put down rumblings of discontent in Balochistan and the Northern Areas in
the past. It has failed to understand that artillery barrages and helicopter
and air force bombings of civilian villages and towns are inherently
counter-productive. The field commanders must understand that success will come
only when the army begins to close in with the militants and clears them from
key areas systematically while ensuring that sufficient combat units are left
behind to prevent the militants from taking over the cleared territory again. Simultaneously
the civil administration needs to execute development projects and run schools,
hospitals, postal services and banks. And, army or paramilitary columns must be
physically deployed to ensure rear area security and keep the arteries open for
supplies and reinforcements. All this is, of course, infinitely more difficult
than lobbing 500 kg bombs from the air combined with artillery barrages.
25. The Kill and Dump Policy. The Kill and dump policy by Pakistan
forces presents itself in form of an urgent humanitarian crisis in the
Balochistan province of Pakistan. This crisis is underreported, un-investigated
and ongoing. The media is trying to focus the issue but no results from the
Pakistan government side are witnessed. Throughout Balochistan, hundreds of
ethnic Baloch have been abducted by Pakistani Security forces and killed while
in custody, with their bodies dumped shortly thereafter in what has been widely
referred to as the ‘Kill and Dump’ policy. The bodies of the slain bear marks
of brutal torture and mutilation. These actions are undertaken in the name of
counter insurgency, yet they represent a grave violation of human rights and
judicial due process.
roots to Kill and Dump policy lies in the forced disappearance in Pakistan
which allegedly originated during the military dictator General Pervez
Musharraf (1999 to 2008)17.
The practice continued during subsequent governments. This so called ‘Kill and Dump’ policy focuses on the
detainment of Baloch activists, holding them incommunicado for days or even
weeks during which they are subjected to torture, interrogation and execution.
Upon killing the men in custody, authorities dump the bodies of their victims,
sending a brutal message to the Baloch community. The extrajudicial detainment
and execution allows for authorities to escape all forms of oversight, legal
standards, or accountability.
Spirals of Violence
27. 2008 The clear signs of Kill and Dump policy became evident in form
of tortured dead bodies which began surfacing in Balochistan in 2008. Human Rights Organization launched
numerous protested against atrocities and “Voice for Baloch Missing
Person18” group conducted a long march from Quetta to
Islamabad over the issue. In 2008 alone, an estimated 1102 people were disappeared from the region19. There were several reports of
torture with increasing number of bodies being found on
roadsides having been shot in the head. In 2008, Pakistan’s interior minister, Rehman
Malik, admitted at least 1,100 victims.
28. 2010 The
killing of Siddique Eido, in 2010, marked the shocking example of the targeted
killing of human rights activists20.
Eido was a human rights coordinator for the NGO, Human Rights Commission of
Pakistan (HRCP). On December 21st, 2010 Eido and Yousaf Nazar were travelling
back from a court appearance in the city of Gwadar, accompanied by four
policemen. According to reports, both
men were abducted by men in state security uniforms and were taken away in vehicles
similar to those used by the state security forces. The bodies of both men were
discovered on April 28th, bearing marks of torture. In a statement released by
HRCP after the recovery of Eido’s body, HRCP pointed out that the condoning of
criminality by the government amounted to complicity in Eido’s murder.
29. 2011. Pakistan faced difficult situation throughout the year 2011.
Devastated by floods, insurgency, terrorist attacks and the government’s urge
to become a super power in Asia and the assumption of near-total control of
foreign and security policy by a military that operated with complete impunity
worsened the matters. Religious minorities faced unprecedented insecurity and
persecution. Security continued to deteriorate in 2011, with militant and
sectarian groups carrying out suicide bombings and targeted killings across the
country. The Taliban and affiliated groups targeted civilians and public
spaces, including marketplaces and religious processions. Ongoing rights
concerns include the breakdown of law enforcement in the face of terror
attacks, a dramatic increase in killings across the south-western province of
Balochistan, continuing torture and ill-treatment of criminal suspects, and
unresolved enforced disappearances of terrorism suspects and opponents of the
military. Abuses by Pakistani police, including extrajudicial killings, also
continued to be reported throughout.
January 2011 Balochistan’s home minister, Mir Zafrullah Zehri21,
however stated in provincial legislators
that only 55 persons were considered missing and provided no explanation for these figures,
which are hugely at variance and inconsistent with those of credible sources.
31. 2012. In 2012
statement to the Supreme Court, the Pakistani government denied allegations of
the use of secret operations, or death squads in Balochistan. According to
Major General Obaid Ullah Khan Niazi, commander of the 46,000 paramilitary
Frontier Corps stationed in Balochistan, civilian killing were carried out by
militants impersonating his soldiers. “Militants are using FC uniforms to
kidnap people and malign our good name.22”
However, Balochistan’s former chief minister Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal, in a
statement to the Supreme Court, claimed the current civil disturbances in
Balochistan were a direct result of enforced disappearances.
32. 2013. The Kill and Dump policy was still prominent BBC news which was
broadcasted regarding the same issue during the period of elections in Pakistan
in May 2013. The channel reported that many youth political workers went
missing prior to elections and post elections. The Balochistan National
Party-Mengal in its one of statements on June 2, 2013 mentions that during the
interim government 279 Baluch have been disappeared and 50 dead bodies found
however channel reported only a dozen. It should be noted that kill and dump of
Baluch missing persons increased when the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)
government announced Aghaaz-Haqooq-e-Baluchistan Package (the Beginning of
Rights of Baluchistan) in November 2009 to deal with long-running Baluch
political, economic, and human rights abuse grievances.
Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, cited the killing as an example of
Pakistan’s failure to investigate the murder of dissidents, saying; “The
government’s failure to open a credible investigation into the killing of
someone as prominent as Saba Dashtiyari only adds fuel to the fire of anger and
suspicion in the province.23″
and NGO statistics on the number of persons who disappeared in Balochistan
continued to diverge. NGOs compiled a list of 3,356 Baloch whom security agents
allegedly abducted or killed while in custody. The VBMP claimed the total
number of persons who have disappeared could be above 19,000. Meanwhile, the
government reported only 194 families had come forward with detailed
information on their missing relatives as of July. According to the Interior Ministry’s
Home Department, law enforcement authorities had recovered more than 612 bodies
in Balochistan since 2010, many belonging to missing Baloch political workers.
The VBMP claimed to have records of 455 tortured bodies dumped in Balochistan
during the year and of 435 missing persons. Official Home Ministry of
Balochistan figures indicated only 164 dead bodies had been recovered in
Balochistan during the year .
extrajudicial and targeted killings, disappearances, torture, lack of rule of
law (including lack of due process, poor implementation and enforcement of
laws, and frequent mob violence and vigilante justice), and sectarian violence24
together emerged as cause of most serious human right problem. According to the International Voice for Baloch
Missing Persons, 18,000 Baloch had gone missing by January 2014. Of these,
2,000 were killed between 2001 and 2013.
36. 2015. Zeenat Shahzadi25,
a 24-year-old female journalist became the target of Kill and Dump policy. she
was investigating a disappearance case and was allegedly abducted by some armed
personnel on 19 August 2015 and went missing. As of 2017, she remained missing.
Her disappearance caused her younger brother to commit suicide. The relatives of missing
persons in Balochistan say that 463 individuals went forcibly
missing around the province in 2015. Dead bodies continued to be found in different regions
of Balochistan. Though the provincial
government claimed that the ratio has decreased. According to a Voice
for Missing Baloch Persons, 463 people were forcibly disappeared in
Balochistan, out of whom 157 were tortured to death, in 201526. Some of the prominent activists that had gone
Mohammed Baloch (found dead in 2009,Turbat killings)
Reki Baloch (abducted in 2009, killed three years later)
victims families gave horrifying descriptions of tortured suffered by the
abductees. Some bodies were found without their heart, lungs and intestines.
Some had their eyeballs removed. In one case, the body was reportedly given to
medical students for training.
38. 2016. Facts continued to startle and could no longer be suppressed. In
August 2016, for instance, the DIG Investigations and Crime, Balochistan
informed a committee of the Senate that 1,040 people were killed in Balochistan
in the last two
such data rarely comes from official sources, the numbers cited by the senior
police official could be taken as a reliable reference point. The Baloch
people, however, contest the official figures and argue that the number of
abductions and killings have been quite high in the recent past, especially
after the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project picked up.
1 Human rights watch Jul 2011 report.
2 Syed Ramsey, Balochistan in Quest of Freedom, Alpha Editions p 28.
3 Syed Ramsey,
Balochistan in Quest of Freedom, Alpha Editions p 29.
4 Ibid p 62
5 Balochistan, the Foreign Policy Centre, p 14
(available at www.fpc.org.uk)
6 The revival of Insurgency in Balochistan,
Strategic Analysis Apr-Jun 2005, p 252
Verma, The Independence Movement of Balochistan, AAKROSH, Volume 20 Number 74
Jan 2017 p46
8 Qandeel Siddique , PAKISTANI OR BALOCH, A
PRECURSORY STUDY OF BALOCH SEPARATIST MOVEMENT IN PAKISTAN, Centre for
International Studies and Analysis report No 20, 2014 p
Kumar Verma, The Independence Movement of Balochistan, AAKROSH, Volume 20,
Number 74, Jan 2017 p47.
11 Ibid p 48
12 Balochistan, The Foreign
Policy Centre, p 28 ( available at
13 Balochistan, The Foreign Policy Centre, p 28 ( available at www.fpc.org.uk)
14 Jai Kumar Verma, The Independence Movement of
Balochistan, AAKROSH, Volume 20, Number 74, Jan 2017 p49.
Kumar Verma, The Independence Movement of Balochistan, AAKROSH, Volume 20,
Number 74, Jan 2017 p49.
16 Gurmeet Kanwal, PAKISTAN ARMY A STATE WITH IN A STATE, CLAWS
journal, summer 2012 p 37
17 Human Rights Watch
Article, ” We can torture, kill or keep you for years” dt 28 July 2011.
18 The Diplomat article
“Balochistan Missing Persons” by Kiran Nazish dt 06 Jan 2014.
19 The New India Express
article “10 Things you must know about the Balochistan conflict” dt 28 Aug
20 Statement of HRCP
mission to Balochistan , dt 07 May 2011.
21 Human Rights Watch
Article, ” Pakistan: security forces ‘disappear’ opponents in Balochistan” dt
28 July 2011
22 The Guardian article ”
Pakistans secret dirty war” dt 29 Mar 2011
23 Bauchistan House article “The Veiled Warfare of Pakistan: Kill and Dump Policy in Balochistan” dt
10 Oct 2013
24 US State Department
Human Rights report on Pakistan 2014
25 The Hindu, “Zeenat Shahzadi, missing Pakistani
Journalist, fund after two years”. October 21 2017.
26 The Nation (Pakistan) article “157 killed, 463
Missing Persons in Balochistan last year: VBMP” dt 02 Jan 2016.
27 Article “How ISI is
turning Balochistan in to a Mass Grave” by Farooq Ganderbali.