Baloch Woman killed, 200+ activists detained in massive search operation in Quetta
By Malik Siraj Akbar
QUETTA: Security forces unleashed a massive search operation in Baloch-populated localities of Quetta city throughout Tuesday, killing the mother of a Baloch political activist and rounding up around two hundred people hailing from assorted domains of life.
The crack down has opened floodgates of criticism of Baloch nationalist parties which have called for widespread protest rallies to condemn the door-to-door search operation at Baloch households.
According to the details, security forces arrested around three hundred Balochs in search operations in Qili Ismail, Kechi Baig,Qili Qambarani, Sariab, and Kili Sarday, Wali Jet localities of Quetta city. Eyewitnesses said personnel of police, Anti-Terrorist Force (ATF) and the Frontier Corps (FC) entered into the houses and beat up different people before taking them into custody. The search operation, according to the officials, was intended to arrest suspects involved in Friday’s suicide bomb blast, kidnappings, target killings and other violent cases that are taking place in Quetta.
The whole day witnessed clashes between the government functionaries and the civilians who were beaten up, blindfolded and taken to unknown locations by the government. In one similar search operation, the mother of an activist from the Balochistan National Party (BNP), Sanaullah Mengal, was killed by the forces allegedly by applying violent means.
Habib Jalib Baloch, the central secretary general of the BNP, told Baloch Hal that the forces tortured the old lady which caused her death. The mother of the BNP activist was identified as Shahnaz Bibi.
The Baloch National Front (BNF) has strongly condemned the search operation and pledged to avenge the killing of Shahnaz Bibi saying that the Baloch traditions encouraged taking revenge for the killing of one person.
The BNF, led by professor Saba Dashthayari and Shahzaib Baloch, took out a protest rally in front of Quetta Press Club in the afternoon to protest against the arrest of hundreds of political workers and common civilians in the freshly launched search operation against the Baloch population.
The BNF announced to observe a complete strike throughout Balochistan on April 26 against the killing of Shahnaz Bibi and the arrests, saying that protest rallies would be taken outside press clubs in Turbat on April 22, Noshki (24 April) and Panjgur (25 April) to lodge a democratic protest against the grave violation of human rights in Balochistan by the security forces under the pretext of maintaining law and order.
Speaking in the protest rally, the BNF leaders said the Balochistan Package and the recent 18th Amendment Bill did not mean anything for Balochs, nor would it deter the Baloch national struggle in any form. The Baloch people do have a history of taking revenge for its martyrs rather than shedding tears over such instances when its brave sons are killed, they said.
“We will not tolerate people like Mushahid Hussain Syed to step on the Baloch land,” said one of the speakers. Balochs have become very conscious about their national rights and the exploitation they have come under over the past many years.
The BNF leaders severely castigated the media for taking the government’s side and not reporting the widespread arrest of Balochs in the search operation.
Chief of the Balochistan National Party and former chief minister of Balochistan, Sardar Akhtar Mengal has also strongly condemned the crack down on the Baloch people in Quetta by terming it as a continuity of the previous government’s policies against the Baloch people. He described the arrests as the harbinger of a new military operation being launched in Balochistan.
He said the current governments in Islamabad and Balochistan were totally powerless and the real power still rested with the establishment which did not intentionally want the improvement of the situation in Balochistan. The establishment is working on a policy of genocide against the Baloch people while the Sariab Road operation has violated and disfigured the Baloch code of honor as the forces entered people’s homes and humiliated women and children.
The Mengal Sardar said the 18th amendment was totally meaningless for the Baloch people as no change had taken place in Balochistan even after the signing of the 18th amendment bill by the president of Pakistan. “There is no let-up in repression of the Baloch people. The democratic rulers are powerless. The military establishment wants to keep the Balochs as slaves in Pakistan but history clearly shows that we have never bowed on gunpoint and we will no surrender this time too,” he said.
A spokesman for the National Party (NP) also strongly condemned the operation against the Baloch people on Tuesday saying that the deployment of the FC was not meant to eliminate lawlessness but to eliminate the Baloch nation.
The Baloch National Front (BNF) is going to protest against the operation in Karachi today (Wednesday) while Baloch students studying in Islamabad have also decided to take up the issue and demonstrate in the federal capital against the latest developments in Balochistan