Rights Groups: Pakistan Engaged in Torture, Targeted Killings in Balochistan

Scores of Activists Among the 'Disappeared' Since Zardari Govt Came to Power

The Balochistan secessionist movement has long been a top of serious concern for Pakistani officials, but the means with which the Zardari government has been supressing that movement has been anything but public, human rights officials indicated today.

Rather, large numbers of human rights workers testified today that the Zardari government’s security forces regularly kidnap activists. Many are subjected to torture. Some are killed outright. Still others remain simply missing, part of the disappeared in a Pakistani dirty war.

One of the activists, according to Human Rights Watch, was kidnapped three times since 2005. Each time he was tortured. He’s among the lucky ones, however, as scores of the disappeared never turn up dead or alive.

Balochistan has had an active secessionist movement for decades, and that has included some militant factions willing to fight a war of secession over the matter. By and large, however, the recent violence has been relegated to the Iranian portion of Balochistan, while the Zardari government has, through sheer brutality, managed to keep the movement tamped down in Pakistan. That looks to be changing, however, and the situation looks to inevitably blow up in their faces.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.