The Pakistani security forces reportedly detained 8 members of one family, including a professor and two lawyers, from Mastung on Thursday, attracting a wave of condemnation and protests. Human rights activists, political workers and student leaders took it to social media to condemn the “enforced disappearance” of the 8 individuals and demanded their immediate release.

Locals in Mastung blocked the main Quetta-Karachi highway, suspending the traffic for hours. Balochistan Bar Council also boycotted all judicial activities in protest.

Addressing a press conference in Quetta, Bibi Salma Baloch, the daughter of missing Professor Saleh Muhammad Shad, said a large cadre of Pakistani security forces beleaguered our house in Killi Shadi Khan, Parangabad, in Mastung on Wednesday night. She said the forces opened indiscriminate firing at our house and “forcibly disappeared” 8 members of our family, including my father. She identified the other detainees as Attaullah Baloch Advocate, Gul Muhammad Shahwani, Najeeb Ullah Advocate, Saifullah, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Salahuddin and Salman. She said that the latter two were picked up in critically injured condition.

She said our house was heavily damaged in the firing and shelling, and we got the news of our injured family members – Salahuddin and Salman – have been killed. Professor Saleh Shad Muhammad and Gul Muhammad were terribly beaten while in custody and brought to a hospital in Quetta in a critical state.

She said that this raid is the worst form of “state-sponsored barbarity” – if my family members were guilty of a crime, they should have been arrested through the peaceful legal process and then prosecuted in court via the constitution of Pakistan.

She called on the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Chief Justice of Balochistan and the government authorities to take notice of the raid and ensure the safe release of the detainees.

Members of the District Bar Association Mastung held an emergency press conference in the Mastung Press Club where they vehemently condemned the arrest of Ataullah Baloch Advocate and Najeeb Ullah Advocate who are also members of the Bar. The Bar Association boycotted all legal activities in protest and said that future conduct will be determined after discussions with the Balochistan Bar Council and the High Court Association.

Leaders of the Balochistan Bar Council also held a press conference in the Quetta Press Club where they condemned the Mastung incident and said that what the forces did amounts to a flagrant violation of human rights. The Bar Council leaders said that the forces did not only arrest 8 members of one family in an illegal raid, but they also killed two of the detainees.

The Bar Council leaders termed the raid as “extrajudicial” and said that the security forces are carrying out similar raids in other areas of Balochistan on an almost daily basis. They said that “enforced disappearances” are a gross violation of human rights – if someone is found guilty of a crime, they should be produced in court and prosecuted legally.

The lawyer body boycotted all judicial activities throughout Balochistan on Friday in protest against the Mastung incident.

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