Friday, 29 July 2011
Pakistan forces accused of torture and killings
Security forces have seized scores of political activists since the civilian government was elected in 2008
Disturbing testimony gathered by human rights workers has drawn attention to the untold numbers of people being detained, tortured and “disappeared” by Pakistan’s security forces in Balochistan. The activists say such incidents of torture and extra-judicial killing have continued since the election of a civilian government in three years ago.
Dragged, hand-cuffed, blindfolded, beaten and almost never told why they have been seized, dozens of individuals have bean hit with sticks or leather belts, hung upside down or deprived of food or sleep. The people doing it to them rarely identify themselves.
Many of the people seized are activists seeking independence or autonomy for the province in the west and south-west of the country. One man, Bashir Azeem, a member of the Baloch Republican Party, was seized in 2005, 2006 and 2009. He told Human Rights Watch (HRW) that had been questioned, threatened and tortured. “
They pushed pins under my nails, put a chair on my back and sat on top of it, and put me for 48 hours into a room where I could only stand but not move,” he said. “When they took me out, my legs were so swollen that I collapsed on the floor and fainted.”
Detailing Mr Azeem’s treatment in a new report based on interviews with more than 100 people, HRW says that while hundreds of people have disappeared since 2005, there have been dozens of cases since the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government came to power in 2008. It details a total of 45 cases of alleged disappearances.