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'Pak govt must provide immediate justice for Baloch atrocities': Amnesty International

By Nitsi

Islamabad, Oct 27 (ANI): The Pakistan government must investigate the torture and killings of more than 40 Baloch leaders and political activists over the past four months, human rights group Amnesty International has said.

"The Pakistani government must act immediately to provide justice for the growing list of atrocities in Balochistan," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Director.

"Baloch political leaders and activists are clearly being targeted and the government must do much more to end this alarming trend," he added.

According to AI, activists, politicians and student leaders are among those who have been "targeted in enforced disappearances, abductions, arbitrary arrests and cases of torture and other ill-treatment" against a backdrop of "increasing political unrest and Pakistan army operations in Balochistan", which is a south western province of the country.

Among the latest victims of the ongoing violence are Faqir Mohammad Baloch- a member of the Voice of Missing Baloch Missing Persons, and Zahoor Baloch- a member of the Baloch Student Organization-Azad , whose bodies were discovered in the district of Mastung on 21 October 2010.

The discovery of the two men's bullet-ridden bodies, showing signs of torture, is part of a growing trend of "kill and dump" operations, the group said.

The victims' relatives and activists often accuse the Pakistani security forces and intelligence agencies of carrying out these violations, it added. A previously unknown organization, Sipah-e Shuhada-e Balochistan, has also claimed responsibility for some of the killings.

"The Pakistan government's ongoing failure to prevent abuses has emboldened the perpetrators behind these atrocities," said Zarifi.

"The Pakistani government must show that it can and will investigate the Pakistani military and Frontier Corps, as well as intelligence agencies, who are widely accused of playing a role in these incidents," he added.

The HR group has warned that the "rise in enforced disappearances and kill and dump incidents has aggravated political tensions in Baluchistan and led to reprisal killings by Baloch armed groups." (ANI)

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