KARACHI, Pakistan | Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:10am EDT – (Reuters) – Abdul Razzaq Baloch worked nights. After dinner, he would start his shift as a proofreader at the Daily Tawar, a newspaper published on a shoe-string from a cramped office in Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial capital. At 2 a.m., the 42-year-old would make the short journey home on his new Super Star motorbike.
One night in March, Baloch did not return. His phone was switched off and his bike was missing. His family made enquiries with the police, then hospitals, and finally in the lanes of Lyari, the gritty neighborhood where they live.
The word on the street was that Baloch had been kidnapped, his relatives said. He had last been seen as he was bundled into a white SUV with a blanket over his head.
Speaking to Reuters two months later, Saeeda Sarbazi, Baloch’s outspoken sister, was in no doubt as to the identities of the culprits: Pakistan’s intelligence services.
“This case is like a bombshell – nobody we go to wants to touch it,” Sarbazi said at the family home in Lyari, where his wife and four children awaited his return. “People are scared that the agencies will harm them.”
On August 21, Baloch’s body was found dumped amid the brambles overrunning wasteground in Suranji Town, a scrappy neighborhood on Karachi’s northwestern fringe. A piece of paper bearing his name had been stuffed into his pocket. His hands were tied; he had been strangled. Pakistan’s military, which has repeatedly denied involvement in extra-judicial killings, did not respond to a request for comment on Baloch’s death.