Intimidation against human rights defender Nasrullah Baloch in Pakistan

April 7, 2014

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppeddescribes a classical but fearsome case of intimidation of a human rights defender, Nasrullah Baloch, who is assisting the Supreme Court in Pakistan with cases of disappearances.

Nasrullah Baloch is the Chairperson of Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) and has come to prominence for his work on cases of missing persons and extrajudicial killings. The human rights defender is also assisting the Supreme Court in the context of an investigation into mass graves in Balochistan. Nasrullah Baloch took part in the Supreme Court hearings concerning a number of disappeared persons on 25 March 2014. He also met with the head of the Norwegian Mission to discuss the cases. The hearings were attended by officers of the military and intelligence, who observed the exchange with the Norwegian diplomat and made threatening gestures towards the human rights defender. Nasrullah Baloch was then followed back to his hotel in Islamabad by plain clothes officers.

On 26 March 2014, after attending a second day of hearings, Nasrullah Baloch was followed by intelligence agents to his travel agent, where he was to confirm his flight home. His ticket was destroyed by the intelligence officials at the Blue Area market. The officials stated that “You are [a] traitor and briefing the Norwegian mission, the foreigners about the missing persons,” adding that if Nasrullah Baloch continued with his work, he would be killed as others have been.

While travelling to the airport that same evening, the human rights defender was stopped and searched by persons in civilian clothing. Nasrullah Baloch was later told at security clearance inside the airport that his luggage would be searched because the authorities had information that he was carrying arms. He was also subjected to a body search before being allowed to proceed.

After passing through security, Nasrullah Baloch was approached by a person in plain clothes and told that he had been lucky, as a gun could have been planted in his luggage during the search, causing him to be arrested for attempting to carry arms onto an aircraft. The human rights defender was also told that his hotel room had been searched and that there was nowhere beyond the reach of those involved in the intimidation. Furthermore, Nasrullah Baloch was warned that if he did not cease attending court hearings concerning the cases of missing persons, as well as mass graves in Balochistan, and bringing the issues to international attention, he would be severely punished.

[The pattern of intimidation of him and his family: In November 2013, one of Nasrullah Baloch’s younger brothers was approached by armed personnel who warned him that if the human rights defender continued with his work on disappearances, Nasrullah Baloch would be “dealt with in a wrong way.” In October 2013, during a march from Quetta to Karachi to raise awareness of the issue of disappearances, led by Nasrullah Baloch, the human rights defender’s other brother was abducted, tortured and released. The brother was told by officials of the intelligence agencies that if Nasrullah Baloch did not stop campaigning against disappearances he would be eliminated. In September 2012, following the visit of the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances to Balochistan, the vice chairman of VBMP received threats. Nasrullah and others submitted an application to the Supreme Court of Pakistan about the threats received and the Chief Justice directed the police to file a First Information Report (FIR) regarding the threats. The Supreme Court, on more than one occasion, ordered the police of Quetta to file FIRs on the threats. However, the police have failed to comply with the ruling.]

One Response to “Intimidation against human rights defender Nasrullah Baloch in Pakistan”

  1. […] For another post on repression of the Baloch:… […]

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