Saturday, 17 April 2010

Two Baloch are abducted by plain-clothed agents with the help of police; no FIRs yet lodged

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Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-046-2010

16 April 2010
PAKISTAN: Two Balochis are abducted by plain-clothed agents with the help of police; no FIRs yet lodged

ISSUES: Disappearances; illegal arrest and detention

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the illegal arrest, abduction and disappearance of two persons from the Baloch Nationalist Movement on two separate occasions in April. Eyewitnesses in both cases saw the arrests carried out illegally by persons in and out of uniform, and the family of neither man have been contacted by the authorities responsible. The local police stations have refused to file First Information Reports in both cases.

Military and security agents remain largely unchallenged by the government on their high rate of illegal arrests and abductions – often with the help of uniformed police. This is despite a Supreme Court order in February for police cooperation on the issue.

CASE DETAILS: (Based on reports received from the victims' families and media sources)

Mr. Mahboob Ali Wadela (pictured left) is a senior member of the Baloch National Movement (BNM), which is part of the Baloch National Front (BNF), a nationalist movement struggling for greater autonomy of the province. He had been traveling in a passenger vehicle in Karachi bound for Gwader, a port city in Balochistan on 2 April for just a few minutes when it was stopped by uniformed police from Maripur station in Yousuf Goth.

According to passengers on the bus two vans resembling army vehicles arrived at the scene almost immediately and plain-clothed persons emerged and began to check the identity cards of the passengers. When they came upon Mahboob they reportedly pulled him from the bus with his luggage and drove him away in one of the unmarked vehicles. The passenger vehicle was then prevented from leaving the area by police for some time.

When Mahboob was identified, according to the driver and passengers, one of the plain-clothed persons had announced 'that’s the one we’re looking for'. The eyewitness account of the passengers, from Vsh News on 4 April, can be seen here with English subtitles:

Speaking to media, the victim's brother Mr. Faisal Baloch has said that Mahboob was in Karachi for medical treatment for kidney pain and was intending to return after a short trip to Balochistan. The family does not know why he was arrested and has not been contacted with information on his whereabouts. They fear for his security in illegal custody and are concerned that the medicine that he needs may not be made available, which could also put him in danger.

Although Faisal tried to lodge an FIR at Marripur police station – in the area of the abduction – police refused to comply. After his insistence they filed a written complaint in the Roznamcha or daily police diary which can be seen here, along with a seating plan from the bus company, bearing Mahmood's name (No. 6). No FIR has yet been registered.

Mahboob's mother, Mrs Shamim, has written appeals to the Sindh High Court, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (seen here), the prime minister, the provincial minister of the interior in Sindh and various other authorities to ask for information and assistance in locating her son. She has received no response.

Mir Bohair Bangulzai, another member of the BNF, was abducted from his car on Thursday 1 April 2010 from Askari Park in Quetta, Balochistan. According to eyewitnesses he was driving home when he was stopped by uniformed police officers. Persons then emerged from a double cabin Toyota Hi-Lux jeep and despite the efforts of passersby to rescue Bangulzai, abducted him and drove away. The vehicle was driven by a person in plain clothes who identified himself as Frontier Corp (FC) personnel.

Though man's relatives have contacted the local authorities, Quetta police have illogically and illegally cited false police procedure: they have told relatives that they will investigate the incident before they file an FIR.

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