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The death of Lala Hameed Baloch: a case study of a state sponsored murder

Baloch journalist Lala Hameed Baloch, (whose real name was Abdul Hameed Hayatan) was born in 1985, was involved in Baloch nationalist politics, and was a journalist for Daily Karachi and Tawar and played a role in establishing Gwadar press club. Lala Hameed’s journalistic and political activities put him on the wrong side of the Pakistani intelligence agencies. Here is an excerpt from his biography on a Baloch nationalist website:

Among millions of supporters and writers, he also avidly wrote in favor of Baloch Armed Struggle. Due to his brave stand, he was falsely blamed for many bomb blasts and many cases were filed against him for his violent speeches by the government and his agencies. He faced a trial for one year for taking pictures of police officers. He also gets exonerated in few cases by the court. He could not face his cases when agencies started abduction of Baloch political leaders even in the premises of court of law.

Finally, on October 25, as this news report describes, he was abducted by plain-clothed security agents from Gwadar. Between October 25 and November 18, he became one of Balochistan’s thousands of missing persons. While, in the abstract sense, many Pakistanis have rallied around the missing persons issue, it seems that individual cases like that of Lala Hameed cause no outrage or even merit any attention in the national press. Most Pakistanis following the mainstream Pakistani media would not have known of the abduction of this journalist for the 24 days before his death because there was simply no mention of it. This must be considered as a failure of the journalistic community to not highlight the abduction of one of their own.

On November 18, the body of this young journalist along with that of another journalist Hameed Ismail was found in the Sami River of Turbat district. He had been shot in the head. Along with the dead bodies, a gruesome note was also found which read: “A Gift of Eid for the Balochs”

It is perhaps disrespectful to the dead to show the following pictures of their bodies, but it should be shown what, exactly, the abductors of these journalists consider to be an “eid gift” for their own citizens, to show the level of respect that is shown to the people of Balochistan by our state intelligence agencies.

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Laila Ebadi

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