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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Pak soldier killed in clash with Baloch freedom fighters, now Pak targeting overseas dissidents?

A Pakistan Army solider has been killed during a clash with Baloch freedom fighters in the troubled Balochistan province of Pakistan.

In a statement, the Army said that based on an intelligence report regarding the presence of ‘terrorists’ and their facilitators in Jatt Bazar near Awaran, security forces launched a search and clearance operation on Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Due to an intense exchange of fire with the ‘terrorists’ during the operation, a soldier was injured and immediately evacuated to Karachi, the statement from the army’s media wing the Inter-Services Public Relations said.

However, the soldier died due to excessive bleeding, according to the statement.

Baloch struggle and mysterious deaths of exiled activists

Balochistan was an independent sovereign state ruled by the Khan of Kalat after the British left, and was invaded by Pakistan in 1948. Ever since then, insurgencies have been raging in the troubled province to establish an independent Baloch state, the latest of which started in 2006 under 80-year-old Bugti tribal chief Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti.

According to Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), a human rights organisation, more than 6,000 people are still missing from Balochistan. Since 2009, 1,400 people who were abducted by security forces have been found dead, their bodies riddled with bullets and drill holes, or bearing signs of torture and mutilation.

On Monday, Baloch human rights activist, Karima Baloch, living in exile in Canada was found drowned off an island just near Toronto’s lakeshore. Karima was a vocal critic of the terrorist-spawning Pakistan Army, and had compared Pakistan’s ethnic cleansing and persecution of the Baloch people to their 1971 genocide in then East Pakistan, which later became Bangladesh.

In an interview given in his Dubai home, General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s last military dictator, hinted at a state policy of killing dissidents abroad, justifying assassinations of “traitors” and laughing that he had a list in mind.

According to Karima’s family, they had been receiving threats to stop her activities in exile and come back to Pakistan, if they wanted to free their uncle who was missing. When Karima didn’t agree, her uncle’s dead body was dumped. Karima had also raised alarms about retired Pakistan Army officials settling in Canada & questioned Canadian govt for allowing this, as she feared that this could lead to attacks against Baloch living in Canada.

Karima’s death is the second case of a Baloch dissident dying under mysterious circumstances in a Western country this year. In May, journalist Sajid Hussain, editor of Balochistan Times news website, who was living in exile in Sweden was found dead drowned in Fyris river near Uppsala.

(With IANS inputs)

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