Missing Persons? Nah, Missing Truth

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Image Credits: Fayyaz Ahmad/EPA

Pakistan was rattled by the BLA Majeed Brigade militants’ recent attack on the Gwadar Development Authority Complex on 21st March, 2024. Thankfully, Security Forces effectively countered the attack, eliminating all eight terrorists. However, a disturbing pattern has emerged – the identification of these eliminated militants amongst previously reported “missing persons.” This incident is not an anomaly. Last month, a similar situation unfolded during the Mach attack, where a previously reported missing person was found amongst the slain terrorists. These events expose a troubling truth – the Baloch missing persons’ narrative, often weaponized by a specific group of activists and media personalities, appears to be a carefully constructed drama.

Separatists’ Playbook

There is enough evidence to support this claim that these alleged “missing persons” are separatist militants.

For a long time, the Pakistan Government has argued about the credibility and source of the fabricated myth of the “missing persons” and rightly so. There is enough evidence to support this claim that these alleged “missing persons” are separatist militants. These terrorist outfits such as BLA, BRA and TTP prey on underprivileged Baloch youths, exploiting their weaknesses and fooling them with false promises. The separatist plan comprises multiple components. They employ money from elsewhere to create the appearance of widespread persecution in Balochistan. They then utilise aggressive tactics to increase their numbers, such as robbing or purchasing children from destitute families. When these disappearances are used as weapons, the Pakistani Government is presented as the antagonist. NGOs with money and influential media people neatly support their narrative, further harming Pakistan’s image.

A Manufactured Crisis and Self Serving Agendas

The drama “Baloch Missing Persons” revolves around state-ordered disappearances. The goal of this staged disaster is to win over the public’s sympathy and, most all, to secure financial support from outside parties who support the Baloch separatist movement. The funds become these groups’ lifeline, allowing them to continue spreading bloodshed and instability throughout the region.

Let’s be clear. Mahrang Baloch, Eman Mazari, and Farhatullah Babur are among those who profit off the Baloch people’s hardships. The Baloch community’s well-being is sacrificed for the sake of self-promotion and financial benefit via their association with foreign-funded NGOs.

Asad Toor, Hamid Mir, Nida Kiramani and Matiullah Jan are just a few of the journalists and YouTubers who meet these criteria. Their selective fury betrays their true goals – ratings, relevance, and personal profit – as they remain conspicuously missing during natural disasters such as the recent floods in Balochistan, where only the Pakistan Army provided aid.

Also Read: Missing Persons – Myths and Realities

Dismantling the Lies with Facts

A judicial commission constituted by the Government conducted an independent inquiry into over 10,000 cases of missing people.

For years, claims of forced disappearances of Baloch people have fueled a separatist agenda. But closer study reveals a different story. A judicial commission constituted by the Government conducted an independent inquiry into over 10,000 cases of missing people. The inquiry discovered the following:
Over 77% recovered, with a sizable number (over 7781 people) located alive, debunking the notion of mass disappearances. Kidnappings for ransom or people leaving their homes accounted for roughly 15% (approximately 1477 instances). The remaining 820, a relatively modest number, warrant additional investigation. However, data shows a substantial link to terrorism.

Victims of Manipulation and Violence

The human cost of this fabricated crisis is staggering. Families are saddened, clinging to a false hope for the return of loved ones who actively participate in violence and terrorism against state. The story of enforced disappearances instills fear and distrust, hampering genuine attempts at development and growth in Balochistan. This manufactured crisis diverts attention away from genuine Baloch issues like as poverty, inadequate infrastructure development, and limited access to education and healthcare. Focusing on a misleading narrative takes resources and attention away from addressing actual challenges.

Breaking the Cycle

Baloch people deserve better. They deserve peace, prosperity, and a future free from self-serving actors. By publicizing the truth about the missing person’s issue, we can begin to erode the separatist movement’s support. The Baloch people must understand that their well-being is intimately related to the state, not these false organizations and individuals.

Baloch people’s activism, shrewdly orchestrated by vested actors to perpetuating the missing people’ narrative could be channeled for state aligned Baloch centric policies. Increased investment in education, healthcare, and infrastructure development would empower the Baloch people and contribute to a brighter future for the region.
The narrative around Balochistan must shift away from misleading myths and towards genuine prosperity for its people and for Pakistan.

The opinions shared in this article reflect the author’s personal views and do not necessarily align with the institution’s official stance.

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