Pakistan 'Disappearing' Thousands of Separatists

US fears some may have been tortured, killed
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2010 7:46 AM CST
Pakistan 'Disappearing' Thousands of Separatists
Pakistan's paramilitary soldiers patrol on a road to ensure security in Quetta, a capital of Pakistan's Baluchistan province, Monday, Dec. 13, 2010.   (AP Photo/Arshad Butt)

(Newser) – In Pakistan, thousands are missing—and the US fears the country may be using the war as an excuse to round up and disappear political separatists. For years, human rights groups have reported on Pakistan’s security forces holding prisoners incommunicado, without charges; there are also concerns that some have been tortured or killed. Captured Taliban insurgents are among those missing, but many others are members of a nationalist opposition that seeks separation from Pakistan. Last month, the State Department urged Pakistan to address the issue, the New York Times reports.

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Pakistan officials are believed to be rounding up separatists—some guerrillas and others civilians—in Baluchistan, a province far removed from the Taliban fight. The State Department’s report on the issue also notes that the Pakistani military may have killed unarmed Taliban members instead of putting them on trial; two months ago, the US refused to train or equip Pakistani Army units suspected of doing so. “There continue to be gross violations of human rights by Pakistani security forces,” the report concludes, marking a rare public scolding of the US ally.
(Read more Pakistan stories.)

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