Asian Human Rights Commission has in early January published a report which reveals a shocking trend in Baluchistan, women who have been struggling for the greater autonomy of Baluchistan have been arrested by state agencies and have been forced into sex slavery under the custody of the Pakistan Army.
AHRC had earlier also published another report accusing General Pervaiz Musharraf of running these military torture cells during his tenure. The report initially originates from a Baluchistan Liberation Front activist Munir Mengal who in 2006 was trying to launch a Baluchi TV channel but as coincidence would have it, the Pakistan Army was dead-set in uprooting the Baluchi uprising which resulted in the assassination of Nawab Akbar Bugti.
The report can be read in its entirety on the AHRC’s website but a few shocking sections are reproduced here. A close look at the incidents that have been quoted range from 2005 to 2007, the Musharraf era. Though we cant be sure that if these cells still do exists or have been dismantled at the fall of military dictatorship in February 2008, and sincerely hope that such heinous crimes are not still being orchestrated by our democratic government. But it seems that Ms. Zarina Marri is still missing and suspected to be held hostage against her free will.
AHRC – Ms. Zarina Marri, a 23-year-old schoolteacher from Balochistan province, was arrested in late 2005, and has been held incommunicado in an army torture cell at Karachi, the capital of Sindh province. She has been repeatedly raped by the military officers and is being used as a sex slave, to induce arrested nationalist activists to sign state-concocted confessions.
Mr. Munir Mengal, the managing director of a Balochi-language television channel, was arrested on April 4, 2006 from Karachi International airport by the state intelligence agencies and transferred to a military torture cell in Karachi for nine months. He narrated the story of the forced sex slavery of the young teacher Zarina Marri whom he encountered in a military cell. Mengal says that, “a young Balochi woman, Ms. Zarina Marri, was used as a sexual slave by the officers. They even once threw her naked into my cell. I did not know what had happened to this mother of a family who was arrested by the army in our province.”
Another Balochi nationalist (name omitted by request), who was arrested by the military intelligence agency twice and kept in military cells in different cities, has confirmed to the AHRC that there were young Balochi females seen at those two torture cells, naked and in distress. The prominent Balochi nationalist leaders say that they know fact that young Balochi women are being arrested, either during or after protest demonstrations on the disappearances and are missing. They also know about the women are sexually abused in the military custody but they cannot say so publically because of their sanctity and harassment of their families.
Mr. Munir Mengal was also tortured and his penis was severely injured when he refused to have sex with Zarina Marri. He told RSF, “on 27th January, 2007 at 6 pm Major Iqrar Gul Niazi (Military Intelligence) called me in his office and showed me some nude pictures, and laughingly told me that you have been a director of a TV channel so certainly you have good relations with actresses.”
When he returned to his cell he found porn pictures strewn all over it. Around 12 pm a low-ranking military officer called Subedar brought a female there. She was trembling and weeping. “He threw her on my body and told me, ‘You know what to do with her. You are not a child we have to tell what to do with her.'” Mr. Mengal says after half an hour the officer returned, and seeing them sitting apart, abused them and forcibly took off their clothes. Mengal said he was stunned when the woman began praying in the Balochi language. She told Mengal her name was Zarina Marri and that she belongs to the Kohlu area, headquarters of the rebel Marri tribe, a scene of a bloody insurgency that begun in 2005. She said she was a schoolteacher and that the army personnel had abducted her along with her one-year-old.
“They accuse us for spying for the Baluchistan Liberation Army,” Zarina Marri said. She begged Mengal to kill her. “I have been undressed several times for them.”
Mengal said on the refusal to have sex, the intelligence officials inflicted cuts on his private parts. “I thought I would lose my manhood,” he said. Ms. Zarina told to Mengal that she has seen some females in the torture cell but was not allowed to talk with them.
The Asian Human Rights Commission has already reported that 52 torture cells are run by the Pakistan army, Karachi was stated to have three military torture cells.
Pakistan is the signatory to Convention on the Elimination of All Forms Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) but women are being used as sex slaves in a gross violation of the Convention by army officers.