A new chapter in the Baloch struggle for justice in Pakistan
The Pakistani state claims that we are against it, but the truth is that it is the state that is against us.
November 23, 2023 marked the beginning of a new chapter in the Baloch struggle for justice and accountability in Pakistan.
On that day, the country’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) claimed that Balach Mola Bakhsh, a 24-year-old Baloch man who had been forcibly disappeared in October, was “killed in an encounter” with security forces in the city of Turbat in Balochistan.
His family knew this could not be true, as Bakhsh had been presented to a “anti-terrorism” court by the same department just two days earlier and charged with possessing five kilogrammes of explosives. He was in state custody when he was killed.
The killing of Bakhsh, and the attempts by security forces to lie about what happened to him, was not only a mockery of Pakistan’s justice system, but also a perfect example of the injustices and gaslighting our community has been facing in this country for many decades.
After receiving the young man’s dead body, his family organised a sit-in protest in Turbat attended by thousands. At the protest where Bakhsh’s corpse was also present, they demanded the state investigate his death and punish those responsible. On November 25, a local court called for a First Information Report (FIR) to be registered against counterterrorism department officials, but the police defied the order. Eventually, the High Court had to intervene and get the FIR registered. Yet, the culprits who had custody of Bakhsh at the time of his death remained free (in fact, they did not face any accountability to this day).
After our week-long sit-in alongside Bakhsh’s dead body in Turbat achieved no results, in the first week of