The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) says it has found 169 bodies in mass graves in the Pakistani province of Balochistan. The corpses are believed to be members of groups calling for greater autonomy and rights for Balochistan. The AHRC suspects they are some of the thousands of Balochs who were reportedly arrested and kidnapped by Pakistan's security agencies. The commission has called on the United Nations to senda fact-finding mission to ascertain the truth behind the killings. Pakistan's government denies the claimsmade by the AHRC and says the total number of bodies found is just 15. The AHRC expressed "shock and deep concern" over the latest killings.
Balochistan is one of Pakistan's poorest regions, although it has vast natural resources. Baloch separatists allege that Pakistan is systematically suppressing development in the region to keep its people weak. The people want a whole series of issues addressed. These range from human rights abuses, greater autonomy,increased royalties from the region's abundant natural resources, and full independence. In the period between 2003 and 2012, an estimated 8,000 people from Balochistan were reportedly kidnapped by Pakistani security forces. Pakistani expert Malik Siraj Akbar said: "The international community must play its role in bringing the people behind these crimes to justice."