The Pakistan Army’s oppressive attacks against Baloch students may turn out to be Pakistan’s ‘Bangladesh’ error. Al Arabiya Post stated that, the Pakistan Army’s hit teams are engaged in a campaign against young Baloch students studying in different regions. They are trying to brutally put an end to the rising tide of protest among the community’s restless and young members. GyanJaraHatka had earlier published about the forced disappearances and kidnappings in Pakistan’s Balochistan region. The earlier reports had also mentioned the Balochi National Movement within the nation and abroad.
Many members of the civil society worry that the army’s strategy of demonising and repressing Balochis could lead to a repeat of the late 1960s when Pakistan launched a savage campaign of repression against Bengali Muslims over linguistic differences and ultimately lost East Pakistan. Over 48 Baloch students have been beaten, had their phones taken away, and had their bodies packed into large, unidentified vehicles in the past several months by unidentified armed jumpers both inside their homes and outside of their colleges. According to Al Arabiya Post, all of them were cruelly tortured in hidden cells, hanged upside down, and kept starved for days.
According to estimations, over 5,000 Baloch men and women have reportedly “disappeared” in the recent years. The number of young university students among them has alarmingly increased recently. The Pakistan Human Rights Commission severely denounced “the recent cycle of abductions and man-handling of Baloch students” in June of this year due to the army’s merciless campaign against Baloch students. The commission noted that, in reference to the kidnapping of students from Karachi University, these students were “supposedly being picked up by law enforcement officers, and those who demand their release are roughed up and detained.” In reality, there had been a significant uptick in crackdowns on Baloch students across the country after a suicide explosion outside Karachi University in April this year that killed three Chinese nationals, according to Al Arabiya Post.
Several students who were residing in hostels and other residences throughout Karachi were apprehended, tortured, and imprisoned in secret cells. Few have since made a comeback. According to Al Arabiya Post, Chinese concerns over the multibillion-dollar projects associated with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are the reason for the recent increase in the disappearance of Baloch students and others. The Chinese authorities have demanded that the attacks on Chinese nationals and infrastructure projects that pass through Balochistan must stop right away. The local Baloch are furious with the CPEC projects because they fear that they will steal their livelihood and alter the demographics of their country.
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The assaults on young and older Baloch men and women are anticipated to experience an unprecedented spike in the following days, according to Al Arabiya Post, since the Pakistan Army assured the Chinese of the security in Balochistan. Another justification for the Army’s ongoing persecution of the Baloch people is to prevent a new leadership from the ranks of university students from taking over. Regarding incidents of disappearances and attacks of a similar nature, the Pakhtun student leaders have applied considerable pressure on the army in recent years. The army’s harsh use of military force against the Pakhtun people and their motherland in the name of the “war on terrorism” is fiercely opposed by the Pakhtun people.
Oppression of people in Balochistan
A large number of residents of the province have left due to the disturbance produced by militant separatists to seek asylum in other nations. A decade-long programme of “pick up and dump” in which Baloch nationalists, militants, or even innocent bystanders are taken up, vanished, tortured, maimed, and finally slain has been charged against the Frontier Corps (FC), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, and other organisations. Human Rights Watch has charged Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency with grave violations of human rights in Balochistan, including the forcible abduction of hundreds of activists and nationalists. A total of 1102 persons are thought to have vanished from the area in 2008 alone.
Since the beginning of the millennium, violent kidnappings have occurred in Balochistan. Students are typically the target population in these abductions. The victims also include a number of political activists, journalists, teachers, doctors, poets, and attorneys. In the last 20 years, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistani Army forces are alleged to have abducted tens of thousands of Baloch people.
According to reports, several of the victims who were killed and buried are still detained in Pakistani torture facilities. The majority of students are held in extrajudicial custody after being detained during raids on residences and dormitories. 48 Baloch students from Balochistan and various other important Pakistani towns were kidnapped between January and May.