PANJGUR, MEKRAN: Panjgur, the cultural Mecca of coastal Mekran division, presents the look of a war-torn town in the backdrop of continued atrocities of Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corp, infamous in Balochistan by its acronym “FC.”
Located on Pakistan’s border with Iran, the entire town turned upside down after the FC opened fire and killed Hakeem Baloch on August 11.
The situation nose-dived when the Pakistan para-military forces abducted three activists, two of them teachers, from a medical store in Panjgur on Sunday afternoon. The three were Agha Abid Shah, Safeer Baloch and Abdus Sattar Baloch and their fate is still unknown.
The three appear to be latest victims of enforced disappearances in Balochistan. There are more than 1,100 such victims already.
Safeer Baloch, who is a teacher from Soro is suffering from kidney ailment and need of medicare; Abdus Sattar Baloch is from Parom and president of the Pangur Teachers Association; while Agha Abid Ali Shah, is a leader of the Baloch National Movement and is from Chitka’an.
The following day on August 16, Hussain Baloch, was among hundreds of male and female protestors who were demonstrating against the arrest when he was picked up by the Frontier Corp militiamen. Hussain Baloch was then badly beaten up and taken to a Frontier Corp camp and shot dead in cold blood, his family alleged.
His body was then dumped at the Civil Hospital.
In April last year three Baloch activists Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, Lala Munir Baloch and Sher Mohammad Baloch were abducted by Pakistani security forces from the office of their lawyer, former fisheries minister Kachkol Ali Advocate.
The bodies of the three activist were found from the Pidarak foothills in the outskirts of Turbat a few days later.
“The civilian deputy commissioner of Panjgur, who is an ethnic Baloch, told residents that he was unable to help them with the release of the three activists abducted by the Frontier Corp,” according to a Panjgur resident who now lives in Vancouver, Canada.
In a hard-hitting editorial in Baloch Hal online newspaper journalist Malik Siraj Akbar, who is originally from Panjgur, castigated the Pakistani authorities for doing nothing to change the situation in Panjgur and lamented that Major General Saleem Nawaz who “cheers torture, disappearance, violence and bloodshed” is still ensconced in his seat.
“Panjgur in the control of FC is like a bull in a China shop,” Akbar who is now a Hubert Humphrey Fellow at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University in Phoenix wrote.
“It was last week when the students and faculty members of all private schools in the district staged a protest rally in Panjgur to condemn the firing of FC on a school bus. The administration of private schools complained that the FC was terrorizing young children in order to dissuade them from attending their classes,” Akbar added in the editorial.
Panjgur is known all over Balochistan for producing some of the sweetest dates anywhere in the world and many leading Baloch intellectuals hail from the district.