bdul Razzaq Baloch worked nights. Ater dinner, he would start hisshit as a prooreader at the Daily awar, a newspaper published on a shoe-string rom a cramped oce in Karachi,Pakistan’s commercial capital. At 2 a.m., the42-year-old would make the short journey home on his new Super Star motorbike.One night in March, Baloch did not re-turn. His phone was switched o and hisbike was missing. His amily made enqui-ries with the police, then hospitals, and -nally in the lanes o Lyari, the gritty neigh-bourhood where they live. Te word on the street was that Balochhad been kidnapped, his relatives said. Hehad last been seen as he was bundled intoa white SUV with a blanket over his head.Speaking to Reuters two months later,Saeeda Sarbazi, Baloch’s outspoken sister, was in no doubt as to the identities o theculprits: Pakistan’s intelligence services.“Tis case is like a bombshell – nobody we go to wants to touch it,” Sarbazi said atthe amily home in Lyari, where his wie andour children awaited his return. “People arescared that the agencies will harm them.”On Aug. 21, Baloch’s body was ounddumped amid the brambles overrunning wasteground in Suranji own, a scrappy neighbourhood on Karachi’s northwesternringe. A piece o paper bearing his namehad been stued into his pocket. His hands were tied; he had been strangled. Pakistan’smilitary, which has repeatedly denied in- volvement in extra-judicial killings, didnot respond to a request or comment onBaloch’s death.Baloch’s associates believe his disappear-ance and murder was linked to the Daily awar’s coverage o a separatist guerrillacampaign in Baluchistan, a huge Pakistaniprovince bordering Aghanistan and Iran, where his amily has its roots. Te Daily awar supports independence or the prov-ince, and according to several o his riends,Baloch himsel belonged to a pro-indepen-dence party. Te Baluch rebels, who believe the resto Pakistan has always treated Baluchistanlike a colony, have agitated and ought ortheir own independent, secular homelandor decades. In response, the security orc-es have waged a lengthy but little-knowncounter-insurgency to try to quash them.In the past three years, the bodies o hundreds o members o pro-independencepolitical parties, student groups and evenpoets have been discovered on desolate verges or patches o scrub. Baluch activistssay the bodies are evidence that the military is pursuing a systematic “kill-and-dump”campaign to crush dissent – a charge thearmy denies.Under growing pressure rom Pakistan’sincreasingly assertive judiciary to explainthe disappearances, military ocers havespeculated that a range o armed groups orcriminal gangs active in the province may be to blame.But Baloch’s death has hardened a belie among Baluch that the security orces – arrom sotening their stance – have sharply expanded their crackdown this year in adrive to extinguish the uprising once andor all.In a new trend, the bodies o the dis-appeared have begun to turn up beyondBaluchistan’s borders in Karachi, a city o 18 million people and the motor o Pakistan’s economy. Te discovery o Baloch’s remains,alongside those o another man, broughtthe total number o bodies o missingBaluch that have been ound in the city to 18 since the start o this year, accord-ing to the Human Rights Commission o Pakistan (HRCP). Although Baloch van-ished in Karachi, many o the others hadbeen reported missing hundreds o kmaway in Baluchistan itsel. Asked to comment on Baloch’s
LEFT BEHIND: Baloch’s wie Gul Aroz and their daughters, Zainab, let, and Sara. Baloch’s body wasound last month.
This case is like a bombshell– nobody we go to wants totouch it.
Abdul Razzaq Baloch’s sister