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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Rotting dead bodies found on roof of Pakistani hospital are missing Baloch?

A Pakistani human rights group has alleged that around 500 decaying dead bodies have been found on the rooftop of a hospital in Punjab province of Pakistan, and they are suspected to be of missing Baloch people. The Sindhi Narrative twitter handle shared chilling footage of the decaying bodies discovered at Nishtar hospital in Multan.

Pakistani news outlets report that ‘several’ unidentified and putrefied bodies were found on the roof of Nishtar Hospital, which is a teaching hospital of Nishtar Medical University in Multan.

Former federal minister Moonis Elahi shared the initial response of the head of department (HOD) of Nishtar Medical University’s anatomy department. The HOD reasoned that these are the unidentified bodies handed over by the police to them for post-mortem and “if required” to be used for “teaching purposes” for MBBS students. He said that these bodies were in such bad condition that they could not be used for teaching purposes as well and so after the “process of complete putrefaction”, the “bones are retrieved” for medical students. 

The HOD claimed there is “no issue of disrespect” regarding the bodies and that after retrieval of bones, the bodies are “always buried properly”, suggesting it is a routine practice at the hospital. No confirmation or denial has been given yet, however, by any government official over the number of bodies, although other twitter users have also repeated the figure of ‘500 unidentified bodies’ being found.

The Pakistani Army and security forces are widely accused of being responsible for the forced disappearance of an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 persons over the last 2 decades. Activists from Balochistan province are high on the list of these missing persons, as they oppose curbs on civil rights and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects that deprive Balochs of natural resources while giving few jobs. Baloch insurgent groups like BLA (Baloch Liberation Army) are also fighting for complete independence from exploitative Pakistani rule.

Enforced disappearances are used as a tool by Pakistani authorities to terrorize people who question the all-powerful army establishment of the country, or seek individual or social rights. Cases of enforced disappearances have been majorly recorded in the Balochistan and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces of the country which host active separatist movements.

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