It was in March 1948 that the last of the erstwhile Balochistan Agency acceded from British India into the newly formed State of Pakistan. However, the assimilation and acceptance of the Baloch people into Pakistani society and Pakistan as a whole has been characterized by both active and passive resistance. The denial by the Pakistani State in providing mere provincial status and rights to Balochistan till 1970 was also accompanied by a policy of systematic oppression of the Baloch people that has continued till the present – the most recent phase of which was set in motion when General Pervez Musharraf assumed power after conducting the 1999 coup d’état replacing the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In January 2000, under his orders as the Chief Executive of Pakistan, his army ravaged the New Kahan area to the south of Quetta – the capital of Balochistan, in a joint military operation involving the police and paramilitary, the latter of which included the Pakistan Rangers. In one day alone, 125 people were arrested, others disappeared forever (Television, 2010).
Pakistani forces not only arrested the locals of New Kahan but also vandalized their residences, of which the semi-permanent settlements were destroyed completely. The arrested included almost all of the adult men, while only women, elderly and children were left. These arrests however would soon turn out to be state-abductions, without any respite to the relatives, who approached the authorities for the whereabouts of their loved ones to no reciprocation – the regional authorities had no answers.
New Kahan (News) is an area to the south of Quetta populated by the Marri Baloch Tribe. The Marri Baloch had migrated to Afghanistan during the 70s military offensive and lived in Afghanistan as refugees until the Taliban took over, after which they were forced to return to Balochistan in the early 90s. New Kahan and surrounding area has always been, and remains, one of the primary regions of retaliatory offensives whenever there is an attack on Pakistani forces and government installations in Quetta. The latest raid in New Kahan was conducted on the night of 14 August 2020, ten residents were reportedly arrested and soon after they disappeared.