Pakistani ISI Death Squad Leader Attends Human Rights Meeting In Karachi

Ahmar Mustikhan | Ahmar Mustikhan is a senior Balochistan journalist who has worked in newsrooms in Pakistan, UAE and the US.

Pakistan’s CIA, the infamous ISI, is allegedly using all forms of threats and terror to silence the ethnic Baloch from exposing the crimes against humanity being perpetrated by the deep state in southwestern Balochistan, recent developments there reveal.

France-sized Balochistan forms the northern side of the Straits of Hormuz, and the Chinese have built a key port there at Gwadar with the intent of connecting it with Kashgar in China as part of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s Silk Road vision. The area is rich in fossil fuel and natural resources but the socio-economic indicators are worse than the poorest African countries.

At the same time, Balochistan has replaced Chile and Argentine as the world capital of enforced disappearances. Premier human rights bodies such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused Islamabad of carrying out a kill and dump policy there.

On Wednesday, an event entitled “Baloch missing persons and the role of state and society” was organized at the University of Karachi in the commercial capital of Pakistan, even though the university officials at the bidding of the deep state – a conglomeration of top spooks, security and defense personnel — announced the event had been cancelled and got the Arts Auditorium where the event was planned sealed off.

The organizers remained undeterred and held the event at an alternate room at the campus. Chemistry professor Dr. Riaz Ahmed, who is with the Teachers Against War and Oppression — the main organizer of the event — was cited as saying in Dawn newspaper, “By disallowing the event to take place at the arts auditorium they have added to the ignominy of Pakistan as all this is going to be reported by the international media.”

Wednesday event was also meant to pay tributes to Sabeen Mahmud, 40, a Karachi human rights defender, hacktivist and feminist. She was killed allegedly by the ISI minutes after she organized “Unsilencing Balochistan” at her intellectual boutique and free speech gallery called T2F on April 24.

What was most ominous Wednesday was the presence of a leader of an alleged ISI-sponsored death squad named Zakria M. Hasni at the university event. M. Hasni has allegedly been active in the abductions and killing of Baloch freedom activists at the behest of the ISI for some years now in Khuzdar, a traditional seat of tribal power, and other towns of Balochistan, according to journalists and human rights activists.

Hasni is mostly seen in the company of high ranking Pakistan army generals, whose presence in Balochistan is detested by the Baloch natives.

The former editor of Pakistan’s oldest newspaper Dawn, Abbas Nasir, reported about the man in an article in which he said Zakria M. Hasni is “holding an AK-47 standing next to a man hanging upside down in what is claimed to be a torture chamber in Khuzdar.” The former editor asked, “Can those at the helm in Balochistan look into this and tell us if this goon and his gang exist or he is merely a figment of someone’s imagination?”

Pakistan intelligence services have allegedly sponsored a number of death squads in Balochistan to abduct, torture and kill Baloch freedom activists. As many as 169 bodies have been found in eight mass graves, according to Mama Qadeer, president of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), who spoke at the university Wednesday. Zakria M. Hasni was with a group who tried to disrupt the event. This is not the first time Pakistan is using such death squads to crush peoples’ revolt. Way back in 1971, Pakistan army and intelligence services sponsored the Al Shams and Al Badr terrorist outfits in the former East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.

One of the keynote speakers Wednesday was Banuk Farzana Majeed, elder sister of Zakir Majeed, who was abducted on 8, June, 2009 from Paringabad area of Mastung in Balochistan. The family not heard of him since then.

Majeed is general secretary of the VBMP, which has been holding a hunger strike in front of Quetta and Karachi Press Clubs for almost 2,100 days now for release of Baloch victims of enforced disappearances. The group last year walked for 106 days, covering a distance of 1,860 miles, from Quetta to Islamabad via Karachi to create awareness about human rights in Balochistan.

“Throughout our march we were threatened on many occasions. Several times we came face to face with military personnel who blocked our way and stopped us for many hours,” Farzana Majeed said, adding, “Many people who hosted us (during the march) were later disappeared and killed and several are still being hunted.”

Ahmar Mustikhan is a senior Balochistan journalist who now lives in the Washington DC area.

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