Voice for Baloch missing persons accuses counter terrorism dept of killing three men in fake encounter

Baluchistan: Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) chairman Nasrullah Baloch on Tuesday accused the Baluchistan Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of killing three 'missing persons' in a fake encounter in Baluchistan's Kharan district, a Pakistani newspaper reported.

The chairman while talking to Dawn newspaper alleged that the killings were a "staged encounter" and not an operation as claimed by the CTD.

Earlier, Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in a press release claimed that four "terrorists" were killed in a counter-operation carried out by the department in "self-defence".

Baloch, on the other hand, told Dawn that three out of the four casualties have been identified. One of the casualties is Tabish Waseem Baloch, the leader of Baloch Students Organisation-Pajjar, who was allegedly picked up from Khuzdar on June 9, 2021.

His case was forwarded to the provincial and federal governments and the federal cabinet subcommittee on missing persons.

"The issue of these two missing persons was also raised through VBMP's platform and teh concerned authorities were informed," the VBMP chairman said to the Pak daily.

While Tabish was identified by his family, the other two were identified as Fareed and Salaal, who were picked from Quetta on September 28 and October 6 respectively, Baloch said.

He further said that there would have been no issue if any state criminal would have been punished as per law, but "killing missing persons in encounters is against the Constitution and a serious violation of human rights, which we strictly condemn and demand that this brutal practice must be stopped.

Earlier, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in a press release claimed that they had received information about some "terrorists" of the banned Baluchistan Liberation Army group planning a major terrorist activity in Kharan with a large number of weapons and ammunition, the newspaper reported.

After this, the intelligence team constituted by CTD located the hideout and determined the presence of seven "terrorists". The team led by Ashfaq Ahmed alias Jameel then planned an operation but was met by indiscriminate firing.

The CTD further claimed in the release that the operation team had to retaliate in "self-defence". After the exchange of fire for around an hour, Jameel and two others managed to escape. Although the operation team tried to chase them, they were unsuccessful due to poor visibility and the mountainous landscape.

Four bodies recovered were identified as Salaal Ahmed, Shukrallah, Waseem Sajjad and Fareed, and several weapons and ammunition were also recovered, CTD said in the release.

Reacting to the incident, veteran Pakistan politician Afrasiab Khattak also said that there must be a "credible" judicial inquiry into the incident.

"Killing persons even during the war is a war crime. There is no military solution for the political problems in Baluchistan," the newspaper quoted Khattak as saying.