Accusing Pakistan's military and intelligence services of forcibly abducting and torturing Baloch nationalists, a human rights group on Friday asked Islamabad to immediately halt this practice of disappearances.
Pakistan's government should immediately end widespread disappearances of suspected militants and activists by the military, intelligence agencies, and the paramilitary Frontier Corps in the southwestern province of Balochistan, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Friday.
Several of those "disappeared" were among the dozens of people extrajudicially executed in recent months in the resource-rich and violence-wracked province, it said.
The 132-page report titled 'We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years: Enforced Disappearances by Pakistan Security Forces in Balochistan' documents dozens of enforced disappearances, in which the authorities take people into custody and then deny all responsibility or knowledge of their fate or whereabouts.
The report details 45 alleged cases of enforced disappearances, the majority in 2009 and 2010.
While hundreds of people have been forcibly disappeared in Balochistan since 2005, dozens of new enforced disappearances have occurred since Pakistan returned to civilian rule in 2008.
"Pakistan's security forces are engaging in an abusive free-for-all in Balochistan as Baloch nationalists and suspected militants disappear and in many cases are executed," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
"The national government has done little to end the carnage in Balochistan, calling into question its willingness or ability to control the military and intelligence agencies."
The report is based on over 100 interviews by Human Rights Watch in Balochistan in 2010 and 2011 with family members of disappeared people, former detainees, local human rights activists, lawyers, and witnesses to government abductions.