‘State-sponsored death squad’ members hold armed pro-Pakistan rally in Turbat

ISLAMABAD: As Baloch protesters continued their sit-ins and protests for over 50 days, an armed rally took place on Saturday featuring masked individuals driving unregistered vehicles and brandishing weapons, Balochistan Post reported.
Participants of the rally displayed Pakistan’s flags and voiced support for a similar state-sponsored camp in Islamabad, led by Jamal Raisani.
Reportedly, the demonstration is in response to counter the movement against ‘Baloch genocide.’
The rally leader, identified by residents as Dilawar, is purportedly a key figure in these alleged state-sponsored armed groups commonly referred to as ‘death squads.’
According to the Balochistan Post, locals contrasted the apparent state leniency towards this armed rally with the stringent actions against peaceful Baloch protesters, highlighting a concerning disparity in treatment.
The Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC) asserted that their protests aimed to dismantle these alleged death squads.
However, they claim that instead of addressing the root issues, the state is mobilizing these groups to intimidate supporters of their movement.
Moreover, these “death squads” in Balochistan have long been a contentious issue, with Baloch residents and nationalist circles accusing the Pakistani army and intelligence agencies of involvement.
These groups are allegedly engaged in criminal activities including forced disappearances, murders of Baloch political activists, theft, robbery, kidnapping for ransom, and drug trafficking, reportedly operating with impunity under the state’s umbrella to counter the Baloch insurgency, Balochistan Post reported.
Recently, the Balochistan Post conducted investigations into the leaders of the ‘state-sponsored counter-protest in Islamabad’ and found substantial evidence linking several individuals to the leadership or membership of these ‘death squads’ in Balochistan.
The prominent figures included Fareed Raisani, Zahid M. Hasni, Khalid Yaqoob, and Zulfiqar M Hasni, as reported by the Balochistan Post.
Despite these protests and outcry in Balochistan, these squads continue to operate with state support, as highlighted by recent events in Turbat and Islamabad.
Last week, individuals alleged to be members of “state-sponsored death squads” organised a camp outside the National Press Club in Islamabad where the Baloch protesters were peacefully protesting against the “Baloch Genocide”, as reported by the Balochistan Post.
This counter-protest posed a potential threat to the ongoing peaceful Baloch protest and raises serious concerns about the possibility of disruptions.
Reportedly, the counter-protest camp was backed by the Balochistan government, with suspected directives from Pakistan’s security agencies, as reported by the Balochistan Post.
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