FIR registered against 4 CTD personnel in Turbat killings case

Published December 9, 2023
A protest procession for Balaach Mola Bakhsh reaches Khuzdar on Saturday. — Photo by author
A protest procession for Balaach Mola Bakhsh reaches Khuzdar on Saturday. — Photo by author

A first information report (FIR) was registered on Saturday against four personnel of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in connection with the alleged extra-judicial killing of a Baloch youth in the Turbat town of Baloch­istan’s Kech district.

Over the last couple of weeks, Kech district has been gripped by mass protests following the reported killing of Balaach Mola Bakhsh, who was earlier taken into custody by the CTD.

The CTD termed the killing a result of “armed clashes with militants”, adding that three more suspects were killed in the clash on Pasni Road in the north of Kech’s district headquarters, Turbat.

One of the deceased was identified as Balaach. The CTD claimed to have arrested him with five kilogrammes of explosives on November 20. An FIR was registered against him on Nov 21, and he was presented before an anti-terrorism court (ATC) on the same day in Turbat. However, on the night between Nov 22 and 23, Balaach’s body was brought to Turbat Teaching Hospital, where his family identified him.

Initially, the CTD, in a brief statement, had said that four insurgents were killed in an intelligence-based operation on Pasni Road. Later in the evening, in a more detailed statement, the CTD explained that based on a tip-off provided to its personnel by Balaach, a CTD team raided a house where insurgents had taken shelter.

During the exchange of fire, three insurgents, including Balaach, who the CTD said was acting as a guide, were killed. The CTD had also claimed that Balaach died as a result of firing from the insurgents.

Soon after, Balaach’s family refuted the CTD’s claims, saying he was forcibly taken away from their home on the night of October 29 and produced before a court almost a month later. They accused the CTD of extrajudicially killing him. Subsequently, the family, along with thousands of residents of Kech, staged a sit-in with Balaach’s body on Turbat city’s main road, demanding an impartial inquiry against CTD officials.

Today, an FIR was registered at the Turbat police station on the complaint of Mola Bakhsh under Sections 34 (common intention) and 302 (murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code against the CTD regional officer, investigation officer, SHO and lock-up officer.

Mola Bakhsh said his son was picked up by unknown persons from his house on Oct 29 at 1am and taken to an unidentified location and kept there. He added that an FIR was registered against his son on Nov 20 and Balaach was presented the next day in court, which remanded him in 10-day judicial custody.

“On Nov 23, I found out in the morning that my son was martyred along with three others in a fake encounter,” Mola Bakhsh said, adding that he was registering the case against the four CTD personnel because Balaach was in the CTD’s custody on judicial remand and held them responsible for his son’s killing.

Procession reaches Khuzdar

Meanwhile, Gulzar Dost, convener of Turbat Civil Society, told Dawn.com that a procession comprising the deceased’s family, political party members and civil society workers reached Khuzdar after being initially stopped by the local administration.

Dost said today marked the 17th day of the procession, which would stay in Khuzdar for a night and hold a protest rally on Sunday before going on the move once again for Quetta.

Family members had previously said the participants would stage a sit-in in the Red Zone area of Quetta until the arrest of the CTD officials while demanding the formation of a judicial commission for an independent inquiry into the CTD’s action.

Talking to Dawn.com regarding the protesters, Balochistan caretaker Information Minister Jan Achakzai said: “Facilitation of a terrorist is equal to terrorism. Abettors of terrorism will be dealt with sternly no matter what platform they gather.”

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