Tribesmen in Balochistan continued a sit-in at Quetta for a second day on Wednesday, demanding justice for three bodies that were found in a well near Barkhan earlier this week.
On Monday night, three bullet-riddled and tortured bodies were found in a well, with Khan Muhammad Marri, a local tribesman, alleging they belonged to his wife and two sons. “These are the bodies of my wife and two sons who were kept in a private jail in Haji Kot for the last four years,” he told daily Dawn, claiming that five more of his children were still detained in a “private prison” of Balochistan minister Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran.
As the allegations were reported and circulated on social media, police raided the accused minister’s home on Tuesday. However, they claimed they had found no evidence of any prison and have yet to register a case against the accused or take anyone into custody. The protestors in Quetta have vowed that they would not end their demonstration until a FIR has been registered. They have also demanded that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visit them and listen to their grievances prior to the burial of the discovered bodies.
Khetran, speaking with media, has denied the allegations, declaring them a “conspiracy” of one of his own sons, who he claims is attempting to defame him ahead of elections due later this year. His son, Inam Shah, has rebutted this, alleging that the three recovered bodies had all been detained in a “private jail.”
On Wednesday, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove wrote a letter to law enforcement agencies seeking the “safe recovery” of the remaining children of Marri. “It is the responsibility of all law enforcement agencies to protect the life of the public,” reads the letter, demanding a progress report from police within 24 hours. Langove has also constituted a five-member JIT to probe the matter and submit a report within 30 days.
In a statement, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan demanded a “prompt” investigation into the allegations against Khetran. “HRCP is horrified by the discovery of three bullet-ridden bodies in a well in Barkhan, Balochistan,” it said. “The deceased are reportedly the wife and two sons of Khan Muhammad Marri who, along with these family members, has allegedly been held hostage in a private jail owned by a provincial minister,” it noted, adding that these “serious allegations” must be investigated and those responsible for the murders prosecuted.