By Malik Siraj Akbar
Violence broke out in various districts of Balochistan on Monday after the recovery of the dead body of another Baloch nationalist leader who had been allegedly whisked away by the state-controlled intelligence agencies.
Khalil Ahmed Baloch, the secretary general of the Baloch National Movement (BNM), whose chairman Ghulam Mohammad Baloch and two other Baloch leaders were killed in April this year in Turbat, informed this writer from Khuzdar that the dead body of the party’s central joint-secretary Rasool Baksh Mengal had been found in Lasbela district.
The Baloch nationalist leader had gone missing since August 23 after being whisked away from Wayaro area of Uthal locality in Lasbela district. His sons had accused the state secrete services of whisking Mengal away in a recent press conference. They had also made a timely appeal to all national and international human rights organizations and pressure groups to rescue their missing father. Hey clearly stated that they feared that their father would be killed as brutally as three other Baloch leaders, Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, Lala Munir Baloch and Sher Mohammad Baloch, who were killed in April this year.
The dead body of the Baloch nationalist leader was found hanging on a tree near Qalanderi Hotel, 15 kilometers off Lasbela. According to one eyewitness marks of severe torture and burns were easily visible on the dead body which had been hanging naked. “ The dead body showed marks of cigarette burns, sings of military boots, forceful pulling of human flash and attacks by knife on the body of the Baloch leader,” said a local journalist, adding that the killers had dropped a piece of paper which read: “ Death to BLA (Baloch Liberation Army)” and “ Death to BNM”. The Pakistan national identity card of the Baloch leader had also been fixed on the tree in order to make it easier for the local people to identify the victim.
According to Nabi Baksh Ronjha, the sub-house officer (SHO), who quoted the local doctors, the leader had been subjected to tremendous torture with cigarette and other sharp items.
“We view these target killings of Baloch leaders as our success because Islamabad has now resorted to applying the worst tactics available against the Baloch liberation movement. We believe the Baloch leaders have finally become a serious threat to Pakistani rulers who are resorting to actions below human standards,” said Khalil Baloch. “All the leaders of Baloch Republican Party and Baloch National Party are on the hit-list of the Pakistani intelligence agencies that are bent upon killing us one after the other.”
Mr. Baloch, a former voice chairman of the Baloch Students’ Organization (BSO), said the recent target killing of Baloch nationalist leaders had forced them to believe that all the remaining missing persons of Balochistan had also been killed by their captors. “It is this reason that the government was unwilling to resurface hundreds of missing Balochs. We want the international human rights organizations to take notice of the endless campaign against Baloch leaders,” demanded the BNM secretary general.
Mengal’s killing sparked a wave of protest all over Balochistan. In Maskhy area, protestors burnt the offices of United Bank Limited (UBL), National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and that of the district government.
Violent reactions to the killing of Baloch National Movement’s (BNM) central joint secretary Rasool Baksh Mengal, were witnessed across Balochistan on Tuesday.
The Baloch National Front (BNF) had given a call for a complete shutter down and wheel jam strike across Balochistan which was endorsed by the Baloch Republican Party, National Party and Baloch Bar Association.
Wrapped in a flag of independent Balochistan, the slain Baloch leader was laid to rest in his ancestral town of Khuzdar in the presence of thousands of supporters and members of other nationalist parties.
Soon after the burial, the national highway, which connects Balochistan with Sindh province, was closed for regular traffic in protest against the killing. Angry protestors burnt four vehicles and pelted stones on major official buildings at Khuzdar’s Police Line. They chanted slogans against he government and demanded an end to the alleged target killing of Baloch nationalist leaders by the intelligence agencies.
Lawyers in Balochistan boycotted the court proceedings on Tuesday on a call given by the Baloch Bar Association. The Baloch Bar has strongly condemned the killing and termed it as an effort to further alienate the marginalized Balochs.
Protestors in Thump area of Turbat district burnt three banks and the official residence of a police officer to vent their anger. In another case, a hand grenade was fired on the local police station in Thump but it did not explode on the time.
In Mashky area of Awaran district, a mob attacked the local telephone exchange, damaged the Qazi court and the official residence of judicial magistrate. All shops and business compounds remained completely shut to mark the killing of the Baloch leader.
In Mand area of Turbat district hundreds of Baloch women took to the streets to agitate against the mysterious killing. As the protestors clashed with the Frontier Corps (FC), at least five women were injured after the FC resorted to baton charge.
Police arrested dozens of political activists as well as leaders from the Baloch Students’ Organization (BSO) in Turbat and Hub areas who tried to forcefully shut the shops in order to make their strike call a success.
Meanwhile, the BNM has announced three days of mourning while the BNF said it would initiate a ‘violent campaign’ to avenge Mengal’s murder.
Aasa Zafar Baloch, the central president of BNM, charged that Mengal had been killed by the state-controlled intelligence agencies. “This killing is the continuity of the three leaders’ killing in Turbat. Islamabad is repressing our movement for independence. We will continue our struggle in the future as well,” he said.
Complete shutter down strike was observed in the districts of Kalat, Noshki, Mastung, Awaran, Panjgur, Turbat, Gwadar and Lasbela districts.
The killing of BNM leader has been widely condemned by leaders from all nationalist parties. Nawabzada Bramdagh Bugti, the chairman of the Baloch Republican Party, Tahir Bizanjo, central secretary general of the National Party (NP) and various human rights groups have denounced the killing of the Baloch leader at a time with the government is attempting to reconcile with the Balochs.
Asma Jhangir, the chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, strongly condemned the killing of the Baloch leader. A news agency reported quoted her saying that irresponsible attitude of the rulers in Islamabad was taking the Balochistan issue to an alarming point where people had begun to talk of their independence.