Engineer Zaheer Baloch, previously reported one among the thirteen killed in Balochistan’s Ziarat incident in response to the abduction and murder of Colonel Laeq Mirza, a DHA officer, and his cousin Omer Javed. The thirteen killed Baloch were later said to be members of the Baloch separatist organisation Baloch Liberation Army. However, one among the reportedly identified bodies was found alive in Quetta on Friday (July 29) who was recognised as Engineer Zaheer Baloch. He called for a press conference along with Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Noor Ahmed Bangulzai in Quetta where he (Zaheer) endorsed that he was imprisoned in Iran for last ten months and was released the other night.
In his press conference, Zaheer said that he called an agent to make him reach to Iran for the purpose of moving to Europe and was called in Balochistan’s Noshki. He added that he, along with some others, were taken along in a Zamyad car from Noshki to Tiftan, from where they were then taken to Iran. Zaheer said that they were told that they had to move on feet for some distances when they had crossed the Pakistan-Iran border, after which they would be in their destination. “Unfortunately, Irani forces found us and we were told to run, but we knew we could not run in the desert and were caught,” Zaheer said, adding that the Irani forces put a mask on their faces.
Zaheer said that since then he was imprisoned there unless the other day when he was said that he was being released. He said that he was set free in the Pakistan-Iran borders where he saw someone known and asked him for lift to Noshki and then he came to Mastung. He added that he remembered no other number other than that of his cousin and he called him to come and receive him from Mastung. He said that when he came to his home, they were all shocked. He added that his family told him that they had observed entreaty for him as they were told that Zaheer was shot dead in Ziarat and labelled to belong to the separatist Baloch organisation of BLA. “I turned to our tribal leader [Noor Ahmed Bangulzai] after which he and some others advised me of calling for a press conference,” Zaheer said, stressing that he, along with his family, was an educated person and belonged to no anti-state organisation.
His elder brother, Kurshed Baloch said that when the bodies were brought, doctors told them that he was Zaheer after which they took and buried him in their hometown in Khuzdar. He said that he was called by Sardar (Noor Ahmed) in his house where he found Zaheer alive. He said that it was not less than a miracle for him and his family that Zaheer was alive. He also rendered his apologies to all those who got hurt with the news of death of Zaheer.
Noor Ahmed Bangulzai said that he was not against formation of a Judicial Commission but the commission must be for the whole Ziarat incident – from army officer Colonel Laeq’s and his cousin’s abductions to their murder and to the case of missing persons. While pointing out to the separatist Baloch organisations, Bangulzai said that how they could make a state out of an existing state. He added that they wanted a future Balochistan as a developed region and not such as a bloodshed field.
On the other hand, Imran Baloch Advocate, lawyer of Engineer Zaheer Baloch, while presenting the facts of Zaheer Baloch’s case before the public, said that in April 2018, two brothers of Zaheer Baloch, Dr Bashir and Kurshed, who were asked to present before them Zaheer Baloch on whom anti-state allegations were made, were taken off from their home in Khuzdar by forces. They were kept in their custody for two months after which they were released, he said, and then they produced before them Zaheer Baloch – who was studying in Islamabad back then. Zaheer was kept under their custody for a week after which they released him and told them that he was innocent. “But Zaheer was told not to leave the city and ensure his attendance before them weekly or fortnightly,” Advocate Baloch added, saying that he had the documents as facts of the case.
He said that it went on for two months after which Zaheer and his family went to them and told them that his career was getting destroyed by staying there in his hometown. He said that they requested them that Zaheer was getting overage and if he was guilty of any crime, legal proceedings must be made against him in a court of law. He added that Zaheer told him job opportunities had come in a firm in Quetta where he wanted to apply and get the job. “With the due permission of you people, Zaheer requested them that he wanted to go to Quetta and do the job after which he was granted permission,” said his lawyer.
Advocate Imran Baloch added that Zaheer came in Quetta and started working in the firm. It was continued unless Zaheer was “disappeared” on October 7 from Quetta’s airport road. His lawyer said that on July 28, he received the text from court that it was the hearing date of Zaheer Baloch’s case. He added that he had submitted all the evidences to the court which proved that Zaheer was abducted from Quetta’s airport road on October 7, 2021, at 3 in the afternoon.
Other than these, the protest of families of Baloch missing persons is continued for last ten days against the killings of Baloch in Ziarat, who, the families claim, were missing persons. Despite the fact that their demand for the formation of Judicial Commission was acknowledged by the Balochistan government, the families ask for “strong assurance” from Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa and the provincial government – none of whom have visited the protesting sit-in yet.