When Baloch activists on social media were protesting against the forceful abduction, torture, and harassment of Baloch women, another incident unfolded about another women reportedly ‘getting abducted by Pakistani forces’ from Gichk, Panjgur. Bibi Wasima and her husband Jamul were traveling on a bike but never managed to cross the FC outpost, which was situated on their path. Their whereabouts are since not known.
Realising that Baloch women hold an immense value in Baloch society and Baloch gravely react on humiliation of their women, Pakistani forces have allegedly adopted the policy of abducting and torturing Baloch women with full impunity. Would this new policy become the new norm in Balochistan?
If, kidnapping, torturing, and humiliating Baloch women is the new policy, then what are the possible objectives of this alarming development? The Balochistan Post spoke to Sohrab Baloch, the newly elected Chairman of Baloch Students Organisation – Azad, to get the answers.
“Their aims are very clear, they want to subdue the forces who stand against Pakistani regime, be it armed or peaceful political forces of Baloch, they want to overcome and pressurise them by picking up their family members and relatives”, said Sohrab Baloch.
Sohrab Baloch does not think the abduction of women is a new phenomenon.
“Abduction and rape of Baloch women is not a new phenomenon, such inhumane acts were done in the 1970s too, but even with that, they could not eliminate the movement. Baloch movement is much energetic now and has taken an organisational form. For that, Pakistani forces have sped up the abductions of Baloch women to pressurise the members of armed and political groups, in order to force them to step down from their demands”.
“Similar acts were carried out in Bangladesh in 1970s, when millions of Bengali women were raped by Pakistani army”, added Sohrab Baloch.
Reportedly, incidents of abduction and torture of Baloch women are not something new, such acts were done to pressurise political activists and members of militants groups in past too, but a dramatic surge has been observed this year.
Baloch political activists have protested against such acts time and again, but the recent wave of protests started, when on 22nd July three women were abducted by Pakistani forces from Mashkay, Awaran. All the three women are missing until today.
A 55-year-old woman, Noor Malik and her two young daughters, twenty years old Haseena and 18-year-old Sameena are the victims. They were not the first ones to be abducted in their family. Their 10-year-old brother Zameer Baloch was also abducted on 3rd July. His mother and sisters were struggling to secure his safe release but instead they themselves went missing.
The reaction to this incident was not calm; there was anguish among the people on the abduction of Noor Malik and her children. However, two more were abducted on 4th August, again from Noor’s family, this time it was her brother Khalil Lashkari, who was picked up by the forces along with his companion Habib ullah from Mashkay.
Zeba Baloch, the surviving daughter of Noor Malik, ha released a video message on social media about the incident.
“I am Zeba Baloch and I am a resident of Mashkay, Awaran. First, they took my 10-year-old brother Zameer, then my 55-year-old mother Noor Malik, along with my two sisters Sameena and Haseena. All I know that the kidnappers were the men of Pakistan Army and Sardar Ali Haidar Muhammad Hassni, but I want to know what was the crime of my family? I request the urgent release of my family”, she plead in the video.
In this regard, Khalil Baloch, Chairman of Baloch National Movement, has also posted a tweet on his official Twitter account.
En mass abduction of Baloch women by Pakistan’s paramilitary FC shows the so-called Islamic Republic has no respect for any human being, be it a man or woman. The world should make Pakistan accountable for its crimes against women, against humanity. #SaveBalochWomen
— KHALIL BALOCH (@ChairmanKhalil) August 3, 2018
Allegedly, this year’s first incident of mass-abduction of Baloch women happened two months ago on 4th June in Naag town of Washuk, where women were invited to an army camp to receive the humanitarian aid, but all were forcibly kept inside the camp for days. Political groups from the area accused that the women were raped and tortured, due to which a pregnant woman miscarried.
Baloch militant leader, Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, compared the incident to mass rapes in Bangladesh by Pakistan Army.
“Mass rapes of Baloch women are the continuation of Pakistan’s dirty war against Bengalis”, said Dr. Nazar.
Recent movement of Balochistan’s independence is somewhat different from the previous ones for reasons, such as, women are playing important roles in this movement and leading men on different fronts in different organisations like Baloch Students Organization – Azad and Baloch National Movement. Analysts believe this could be one of the reason Pakistani forces have started targeting Baloch women just the way they hunt down Baloch men.
The Balochistan Post spoke to Dilmurad Baloch, the central spokesperson of Baloch National Movement, he said, “Pakistan is aware of the structure of Baloch society and the value of Baloch women in it, they are targeting the female family members of those men who are struggling for the freedom. Pakistan wants to test our nerves. They are trying to create an environment of fear so that Baloch shun their struggle”.
“We should not forget that Pakistan had done the same with Bengali women, but that did not stop Bengalis from achieving their freedom, similarly Pakistan Army will not succeed in Balochistan”, he added.
According to Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict Proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 3318, “Attacks and bombings on the civilian population, inflicting incalculable suffering, especially on women and children, who are the most vulnerable members of the population, shall be prohibited, and such acts shall be condemned.”, similarly, According to Article 5 “All forms of repression and cruel and inhuman treatment of women and children, including imprisonment, torture, shooting, mass arrests, collective punishment, destruction of dwellings and forcible eviction, committed by belligerents in the course of military operations or in occupied territories shall be considered criminal.”
Noor Malik was never the first woman to be abducted, according to Baloch human rights organisations, at least 25000 people are missing from Balochistan including women that number 500 to1000.
Targeting women and children is does not only violate United Nation’s declarations and rules but it is also against Baloch code of honour. This will only lead to more unrest in Balochistan and the results can not be different than Bangladesh.