Widespread deaths and killings in Balochistan have become normal. There’s hardly any discussion about the deaths in Balochistan. But on May 26, something, rather unusual, happened even in the context of Balochistan that sent shock waves throughout the population of Makran.
Disturbing news of a woman’s violent death and her 4-year old daughter’s injury emerged from Turbat, the largest city of Makran. It was apparently a case of armed robbery. During the incident, a woman Malik Naz was shot upon and her 4-year old daughter, Bramsh, was seriously injured when a bullet ripped through her collar bone. In the scuffle, one of the so called “robbers” was captured by the local residents.
In Balochistan, locals enjoy sleeping in front of their homes under open sky, especially during the summers. Several Baloch people insist on having a large open compound in front of their house which is then marked by outer walls. Malik Naz’s house was also like this, and she was sleeping in the compounded of her house under open sky, which is quite usual for a hot place like Turbat on a seemingly normal night.
“It was at around 3 AM when some armed men jumped in, woke us and ordered all the men to step aside away from the women,” said an eye witness of the incident. “I disobediently ran quickly inside the house. The so called ‘robbery’ had all the hallmarks of the usual operations carried out by the (Pakistan) Army to forcibly ‘disappear’ people. So, thinking that I would be kidnapped, I jumped out of the window to the other side of the house and ran for life. In the meant time I also shouted for help.”
Locals of Dannuk then quickly responded to the call of young men and gathered near the house. Local Baloch people then surrounded the house from three different directions and called for the armed men to surrender as they had no chance of fleeing the scene.
“We were still confused whether these men were there for the sole purpose of committing robbery or to forcefully ‘disappear’ a person,” said a relative of deceased analysing the connections between the killers and Pakistan Military intelligence. “Malik Naz was also one of the ones who did not take commands from the armed men and resisted them which made them fire point-blank at her,” said the uncle of deceased Malik Naz.
After gun shots were fired the Baloch locals surrounding the house jumped inside the compound and successfully captured one of the ‘robbers’ while others managed to flee from the scene. The captured man was identified as Altaf Mazar.
Later, after being arrested the confessions of Altaf Mazar to the locals revealed the link between Altaf and his group of ‘Death Squads’. Death Squads in Balochistan is the term used for groups which are supported by the Pakistan Army. The army and its intelligence agencies are now increasingly outsourcing their job of killing and abduction to these criminal groups. They are often paid well and are allowed to carry heavy weapons and terrorize local people. They are also used as tools during the election manipulation to force locals to vote for the Pakistan Army’s henchmen, who then end up in Balochistan’s Parliament.
According to Altaf Mazar, he was working under Sameer Sabzal, who is also a member of the Balochistan Awami Party and during the last elections did the army´s job of forcing locals to vote for Zahoor Buledi, the current Minister of Finance of Balochistan. He can be seen in various pictures and videos with this Minister Zahoor Buledi. The minister denies knowing him.
Within a few days of this incident Sameer Sabzal posted an Instagram story in which he shared a seeming threat from ISI. Translated into English, Sameer Sabzal’s post reads: “All Pakistanis are requested to keep a close watch on their sons and daughters and to check whether they are being lured into a conspiracy against the state of Pakistan and it’s security forces or not. All people are herewith warned that everyone who uses social media to share posts deemed against the state of Pakistan and its security forces are under close watch and will face extreme repercussions because for the safety and peace of the state no one will be forgiven.”
On the other hand, Bramsh, the four year old child of deceased Malik Naz was rushed to a hospital in Karachi. Turbat city with a population of more than one million still lacks quality medical services.
The police have registered a case against two perpetrators namely, Altaf Mazar and Basit Faiz.
Balochistan has been plagued by this present wave of armed conflict that has been going on for the last 20 years, but this continues to be ignored outside Balochistan.
Human rights organizations report of more than 8000 extra judicial killings, and another 45,000 plus Baloch people have been made victims of “enforced disappearance”. Thousands are internally displaced and still several brutal human rights violations continue to be committed by the Pakistan military and its contractors. But nothing of these gets reported either in the international media or the local media.
In fact, Balochistan is one of the world’s most violent conflict zones that continues to remain in the grip of Pakistani troops, allegedly in far greater numbers than ever.
The Balochistan conflict seems to be too complex and labyrinthine to be fully comprehended by the world, which it seems to have grown weary of conflicts and wars that do not affect it directly. But for those Baloch locals who continue to live with this horror day in and day out, this conflict takes a different shape.
World has no answer to 4-year old Bramsh’s question that why she has a bullet in her chest and why her mother had to die at the hands of Pakistani Death Squads.