FC soldiers deliberately targeted Hayat Baloch, say witnesses

Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers deliberately targeted Hayat Baloch and the claims that he was killed in an exchange of fire between suspected militants and the security forces are false, according to witnesses.

“I saw five or six FC men beating him,” an eyewitness told the Balochistan Times on the condition of anonymity. “Whenever he raised his head, I think to explain something, they kicked him more. He must have been shot dead later when we left. He was not caught in the crossfire.”

The incident occurred on Thursday at about 11 AM in the Aapsar area of Turbat, Balochistan, where an FC convoy was attacked by militants after which the soldiers killed Hayat Baloch. The 25-year-old was a student of Pharmacy at Karachi University. Some reports in the media claimed he was caught in the crossfire.

“I even heard nothing that sounded like a gunshot,” said another witness. “I reached home and read on social media that he was killed in the crossfire. It’s not true. I saw he was on his knees and the soldiers were kicking him. Our driver sped up the car and we left thinking they would leave him.”

Another witness said: “Many of us saw the FC men kicking him, it was on a road.” She says she thought the soldiers would question him or perhaps abduct him. “I did not know they would kill him. I feel so hurt now knowing they killed this young man.”

According to the Human Rights Council of Balochistan (HRCB), Hayat was dragged from a nearby date orchard and brought to the road where he was hit and killed. “He was with his family in the orchard,” said Abdullah Abbas, the spokesperson of the HRCB. “The security forces took him to the road. He was not caught in the crossfire as being claimed.”

Balochistan has been in the middle of an insurgency for two decades, and incidents such as today’s have happened in the past. On quite a few occasions over the years when the FC was attacked by separatist armed groups, especially in towns, the soldiers deliberately targeted passersby and later claimed they were caught in the crossfire.