The Baloch Dilemma

Kill and dump, fake encounters, enforced disappearances, threats, and now blasphemy are a part of life in Balochistan

The Baloch Dilemma

Rauf Baloch, an English teacher, was killed on the allegation of blasphemy on August 5, 2023, in Tubat, Balochistan. He is the first person killed in the area on charges of blasphemy. His image went viral on social media. 

He was shot dead while he was going to attend a jirga of ulema in Malikabad, Turbat, to deny charges of blasphemy lodged against him by students. He had earlier tendered an apology for any objectionable words he was accused of using. 

Turbat has lost a young and bright man. Baloch worked part-time at a petrol shop to meet the cost of his education. After finishing his education, he chose to become a teacher at a language institute in Turbat. He was a keen learner and always interested in new references, books and literature. He had dreams about his family. 

Baloch’s death marks the start of religious extremism in what was once considered a secular region of Balochistan. Armed men in uniform, who were entrusted to protect the people from crimes, killed him in broad daylight.

Noshad Baloch, a teenage student, was abducted at Absor checkpost in Turbat on July 31, 2023, when he was returning home. Ten days after his abduction, his family members held a press conference at the Turbat press club on August 10 against his forced disappearance and held a protest rally outside the commissioner’s (Makuran) house for the student’s safe release.

It was heart-wrenching to see tears in the eyes of his seven-year-old cousin Durnaz at the protest rally. What could have stopped those tears from running down her innocent face? Her tears were telling. She was crying for Noshad and hundreds of other students, children, women and elderly who have faced forced detentions and extra-judicial murders. 

Kill and dump, fake encounters, enforced disappearances, threats, and now blasphemy are a part of life in Balochistan. One wonders if the Baloch people were made to suffer all forms of atrocities? 

Imagine the agony of a Baloch when his brother goes missing from a university, as is the cases of Sohail, Fassieh, Feroz and others. Imagine the misery of a Baloch woman when her brother is falsely charged with treason and convicted through a one-sided media trial, not the judiciary, as is the case of Mahal Baloch. Imagine when a brother and son are abducted on the way home or killed on the alleged charge of blasphemy, as is the case of Noshad Baloch and Rauf Baloch.

Also, try to imagine the anguish of someone whose beloved is killed in a fake encounter, as is the case of Shehzad Baloch, Dr Mukhtar Baloch and several others.

The writer studies Law at University Law College Quetta and tweets at @Alijanmaqsood12