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Pakistan atrocities touch new low as abducted Baloch woman is docked as suicide bomber

<br>The abducted women include Gul’s mother Mahnaz, sister-in-law Mahal Baloch and three nieces – Nugrah, Nazeenk, and Banadi. Baloch activists have alleged that Mahal Baloch was tortured in the presence of her children.

Balochistan capital Quetta erupted in protests as women’s organisations took out a rally against Pakistan’s new tactic of abducting Baloch women and chidlren.

In a tweet, HRCB alleged: “All family members including children were blindfolded and taken to a police station. The children were interrogated in the absence of a guardian and were placed in a room where they could hear Mahal’s screams coming from an adjacent room.” The HR body also alleges that their house was ransacked by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD).

The HRCB also said that Mahnaz was abandoned in a desolate area after warning her from speaking to anyone. It adds that the children were released on Saturday but Mahal continues to remain in custody.

Mahal, who originally hails from Turbat in Balochistan, had moved to Quetta due to the military offensive in her hometown. Balochistan, which is Pakistan’s largest and poorest province, has a raging nationalist insurgency as the Baloch feel alienated and deprived under Pakistan’s colonial-style rule. Islamabad has responded through a severe crackdown by abducting Baloch students and women.

Pakistan’s CTD alleged that it has arrested a Baloch woman suicide bomber. In a tweet on Saturday, the agency said: “Terrorism Plan of BLF Defeated. An IBO (Intelligence Based Operation) conducted by CTD along with Intelligence Agencies near Ladies Park Block 4 Satellite Town Quetta against Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) One female potential Suicide Bomber arrested. Suicide Jacket recovered.”

Baloch human rights organisations and activists have condemned the arrest Mahal’s arrest and labelling her as a suicide bomber. They also firmly rejected the CTD’s claims of arresting her from a public area and alleged that she was arrested during a raid on her home.

Nasrullah Baloch, chairman of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), said that the organization has received a complaint that Mahal Baloch was forcibly disappeared by Pakistani forces from Satellite Town in Quetta. Baloch Warna news website says last year another Baloch woman “Noor Jahan was disappeared from Kech and faced similar charges. However, her release was ordered by a court as the charges were not proven.”

This incident makes Mahal Baloch the second woman to be abducted on the charges of being a suicide bomber. The killing of three Chinese teachers of the Confucius Institute in Karachi last year by Shari Baloch — the first woman suicide bomber among the Baloch community has spooked Pakistan.

On February 3, another Baloch woman Rasheeda Zehri was arrested along with her entire family. The abducted people included husband Mohammad Rahim Zehri, mother-in-law and her children. Rasheeda and the other family members were released after an outburst over her abduction but her husband remains in illegal confinement of the Pakistani agencies.

The CTD’s actions could be in response to HRCB’s work-related to documenting human rights violations including forced abductions, torture and killings of Baloch community by Pakistani security forces and spy agencies. The HR body had submitted a report to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) on Pakistan’s depredations against the Baloch community in September last year documenting the rights violations of the community.

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