K. Ali Baloch: Another endangered Baloch leader
After the callous murder of three prominent Baloch nationalist leaders –Balochistan National Movement (BNM) president Waja Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, BNM Vice President Waja Lala Munir Baloch and Baloch Republican Party (BRP) central deputy secretary general Sher Mhohammad Baloch – the life of another leading Baloch leader Mir Kachkol Ali Advocate Baloch is in danger. Mr. Baloch, a former leader of the opposition in the Balochistan Assembly and the lawyer of the three slain Baloch leaders, is the sole eyewitness to the kidnapping of the Baloch leaders by the the official functionaries from his Turbat office.
His party, the National Party, has officially stated that the State apparatus is out to kill Kachkol Ali Baloch in order to submerge the truth of the whole episode. I wish to appeal to the international human rights organizations, world governments, political groups and the media to come to protection of a key educated, middle class Baloch nationalist leader whose life is currently endangered.
I visited Kachkol Baloch the one day after the gruesome murder of three prominent Baloch leaders and asked him to tell me in detail as to what had actually happened. Despite all pressure, a brave Kachkol agreed to speak to me. I summarized his account in the following write-up.
Kachkol Ali Baloch, Balochistan’s former leader of the opposition and a High Court lawyer, saw it under his nose how three of his clients were whisked away by what he now describes as the personnel of the intelligence agencies. Last Friday, on April 3rd, his clients and old political friends Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, Lala Munir Ahmed and Sher Mohammad had been taken into official custody in a dramatic move by the government functionaries soon after ransacking Kachkol’s office and asking them all to put their hands up. In less than a week period, now all the three missing leaders are pronounced dead.
“It was a hectic day and everyone was delighted as we got free from the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Turbat where all the three Baloch leaders had come to appear before the court to face some previous charges,” he told Daily Times. According to him, as soon as the leaders got free from the court proceedings at around 12:00pm, Sher Mohammad, the central deputy secretary general of the Baloch Republic Party (BRP) agreed to walk with Kachkol to his chamber while the other two leaders promised to see them in Kachkol’s chamber after going to bazaar for some shopping.
“As we trudged towards my office, Sher Mohammad grumbled over being constantly chased by the personnel of the intelligence agencies,” he recollected. “Will they ever let us live in peace,” asked Mr. Baloch while quoting Sher Mohammad having Jokingly remarked. Before Kachkol could utter a response to what Sher Mohammad had said, a bearded man silently walked into the law chamber and asked if he could sit there for a while. “He said he had given his shoes to a cobbler for polishing. So we did not object his plea for permission to sit and wait inside the office.”
As the stranger sat, Sher Mohammad reminded his lawyer that the suspected that the stranger in fact belonged to the intelligence agencies and was among the people who had been previously following them secretly for many days. In the meanwhile, Ghulam Mohammad, who chairs the Balochistan National Movement (BNM) and his vice president Lala Munir also arrived.
Kachkol continues that they started debating with each other in Balochi if the stranger pretending to be waiting for his shoes to be polished was a member of the intelligence agencies or just ‘another non-local citizen’. “Thus, we decided that two of us would walk outside the office. I the stranger, it was decided among the four fellows, also walked with the Baloch leaders then we would rightly assume that the latter worked for the intelligence agencies,” he remembered the gruesome episode, adding that they had already seen a gray van of the functionaries stationed outside his office.
“As Ghulam Mohammad and Lala Munir began to walk outside, they man suddenly shouted and called for some other friends of his from outside. Around five to six other officials dressed in plainclothes walked inside my office. They were carrying guns in their hands; spoke Urdu; overpowered the Baloch leaders and tied their hands from the backside. Masks were also put on their faces and they were driven to an unknown place,” said Kachkol Ali.
Subsequently, Kachkol and his lawyer friends went to the local police station to lodge a case against the colonels of the Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI), the Military Intelligence (MI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the commandant of the Frontier Corps (FC). “We were certain that our men had been whisked away by the intelligence agencies. The courts should have taken notice of the incident and asked the officials of these agencies to explain their position regarding the whereabouts of the Baloch leaders,” he said.
On its part, the police said it could not register a case against the intelligence agencies. However, it agreed to jot down the details of the case in its daily diary. Later on, Kachkol Baloch also wrote an application to the Balochistan High Court and appealed for immediate intervention. As luck would have it, there was no action taken by the court as well.
Four days after the disappearance of the three Baloch leaders, their dead bodies were recovered in Turbat district.
“Had the judiciary acted swiftly, our important leaders would never get killed,” says Kachkol Baloch who directly holds the intelligence agencies responsible for the unprecedented murders.
Kachkol Baloch demands a judicial investigation in the case. “This investigation should, nonetheless, be held by the Supreme Court Judges, not those who took oath under the PCO,” he appealed.