On Thursday, a 25-year-old resident of Turbat in Pakistan, Hayat Baloch, was reportedly shot dead by the paramilitary Frontier Corps in broad daylight. He was a final-year student of BSC (Physiology) at the Karachi University.
On the fateful morning of August 13, Baloch was harvesting dates on a farm with his father Ma’azar Mohammed. Reportedly, a convoy of Pakistani security forces was passing by the Aapsar area, just before noon, when it was attacked with an IED explosion. Since the farm was located adjacent to the road where the blast took place, troops of paramilitary Frontier Corps entered the farm. As per reports, they began harassing Hayat Baloch and accused him of engineering the IED explosion.
The Murder of Hayat Baloch
Frontier Corps tied him up and carried him to the other side of the farm, despite his father pleading to the security forces that Hayat had not left the farm since morning. Mohammed’s plea fell on deaf ears as the FC Corps personnel dumped him on the ground while one of the officers fired 8-10 shots at him. Reportedly, the security personnel then abandoned his dead body while the parents of Baloch wept by the side of his dead body. Hayat Baloch was dead even before they could manage to take him to a hospital.
Breaking: Visual evidence has emerged strengthening the fact that Hayat Baloch was killed in front of his parents. In these images Hayat’s parents can be seen mourning on his dead body soon after he was killed. Hayat was killed by personnel of Pakistani security forces on 13 Aug. pic.twitter.com/OrTYW6eJq6— The Balochistan Post – English (@TBPEnglish) August 17, 2020
Accused FC personnel handed over to Turbat police
The family of the victim then lodged a First Information Report (FIR) with the Turbat police. The parents of Hayat Baloch have informed the cops that they can identify the murderer of their son. According to SSP (Turbat), an internal investigation by the Frontier Corps found that the accused personnel ‘reacted in haste’ and handed him over to the police for further probe into the extra-judicial killing of the 25-year-old student.
Eye witness accounts reveal details about the military excess
Dismissing claims that Hayat Baloch was killed in crossfire between militants and Pakistani security forces, an eye witness anonymously revealed, “I saw five or six FC men beating him. Whenever he raised his head, I think to explain something, they kicked him more. He must have been shot dead later when we left. He was not caught in the crossfire.” The spokesperson for the Human Rights Council of Balochistan (HRCB) said, “The security forces took him to the road. He was not caught in the crossfire as being claimed.”
According to another witness, he had not heard anything that ‘sounded like gunfire.’ The witness informed that Hayat Baloch was made to bend on his knees while the security personnel kicked him. He left in his car believing that the FC Corps will let the victim go. Another witness stated that she believed that the security forces will either question the victim or atmost abduct him. “I did not know they would kill him. I feel so hurt now knowing they killed this young man,” she was quoted as saying.
Protests against the extra-judicial killing of Hayat Baloch
Following the extra-judicial killing of the 25-year-old resident of Turbat, campaign groups reportedly organised protests in Karachi and Quetta. Hundreds of people took part in the demonstrations, demanding justice for Hayat Baloch. The protestors were seen carrying posters, placards, and portraits of the victim.
As per reports, the agitation in Quetta was held at Quetta Press Club and was attended by Baloch and Pashtun students and families of victims of forced disappearances. The speakers urged the youth to be the voice of resistance against the hegemony of the Pakistani State and armed forces, besides reiterating that they have lost faith in the government.
Similarly, demonstrations in Karachi were held at Karachi Press Club and labelled the killing of Hayat Baloch as ‘the abject violation of human rights.’ The Baloch Republican Party also condemned the killing of the 25-year-old student and said that it was a part of the mission of the Pakistani security forces to eliminated educated youth in Balochistan.