The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in Pakistan's Balochistan province has been accused of killing three missing persons in a "fake encounter", the media reported.
The allegation was leveled by Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) chairman Nasrullah Baloch, reports Dawn news.
A press release from the CTD said that it had received information that some "terrorists" of the banned Balochistan Liberation Army group were present on the outskirts of the Kharan district and possessed a large number of weapons and ammunition, intending to plan a major terrorist activity.
The press release stated that subsequently a team of its personnel and a security institution was constituted to locate the possible hideout.
The intelligence teams located the hideout and determined the presence of seven "terrorists" led by Ashfaq Ahmed alias Jameel. The joint team then planned an operation and was met with indiscriminate firing.
The press release said that as an act of self-defense, the operation team retaliated and the exchange of fire continued for an hour, during which, Jameel and two others managed to escape, Dawn reported.
The CTD said that its team tried to chase the fleeing "terrorists" but was unsuccessful in making arrests due to poor visibility and the mountainous landscape.
He said that Tabish was a leader of Baloch Students Organisation-Pajjar who was allegedly picked up from Khuzdar on June 9, 2021, and his case was even forwarded to the provincial and federal governments, along with the federal cabinet's subcommittee on missing persons, Dawn reported.
Nasrullah said that Tabish's family had identified his body and the other two were Fareed and Salaal, who was picked up from Quetta on September 28 and October 6, respectively.
"The issue of these two missing persons was also raised through VBMP's platform and the concerned authorities were informed," the VBMP chairman said.
He urged that the VBMP had no issue if any state criminal was punished by the law, adding, however, that "killing missing persons in encounters is against the Constitution and a serious violation of human rights, which we strictly condemn and demand that this brutal practice be stopped".
Veteran politician Afrasiab Khattak also said that there must be a "credible" judicial inquiry into the incident.
"Killing prisoners even during a war is a war crime. There is no military solution for the political problems in Balochistan," he said. (KB/IANS)