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Old video of Balochistan cemetery does not show graves being ‘destroyed’

Video has resurfaced amid protest against alleged rights abuses in Balochistan

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Claim: A video shows graves of Baloch people that Pakistan Army soldiers desecrated as the ethnic community marched to Islamabad, demanding an end to alleged human rights abuses.

Fact: The video dates as far back as at least 2018 and is not “the state’s ongoing attempts to attack the graves of those killed” allegedly by the military.

On 26 December 2023, Instagram user @jamal__baloch posted (archive) a video showing graves in a rugged region. The accompanying caption reads as follows,

“What better describes a genocide than the state’s ongoing attempts to attack the graves of those killed by the #PakistanArmy? Pakistan forces destroyed the ‘Baloch Martyrs Graveyard,’ where hundreds of victims of extrajudicial killings are laid to rest #MarchAgainstBalochGenocide”

The March started in November 2023, after the death of Balaach Mola Bakh­­sh, a young Baloch man whom police detained for reportedly possessing explosives and whose family claims he was murdered in an alleged extrajudicial killing.

The ethnic community claims it is being targeted as part of a “genocide”.

Protesters headed to Islamabad to demand an end to alleged rights abuses but were met with clashes and disruptions along the way, culminating in a standoff with police and violence when marchers reached the capital. More than 250 of those arrested were later released and a committee was formed to investigate Bakhsh’s death.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check reverse-searched keyframes from the video and found that it appeared in a 10 September 2018 Balochwarna News article (archive) titled “Balochistan: Pakistani forces destroyed Baloch Martyrs’ graveyard in New Kahan.”

Balochwarna News cited a video by Facebook user ‘Hooran Baloch’ dated 9 September 2018 in its report. The caption accompanying the clip is as follows:

“نیوکاہان شہدہ ء بلوچستان کے قبروں کے نام کے تختیاں توڑ کے نکلے گیے ہیں ریاست اور اس کے پیروکار بلوچ شہیدوں کے مقبروں سے بھی خوف زدہ ہیں
[New Kahan: The headstones of martyrs of Balochistan have been broken off and removed. The state and its followers are afraid of the graves of Baloch martyrs as well.]”

Moreover, the video does not necessarily show an “attack” or “destroyed” graves, as some of the graves in the video appear intact, while others are too far to confirm if their headstones were removed or not.

Interestingly, upon going through more recent pictures of the same graveyard on the profile of Facebook user ‘Hooran Baloch’, we found that apart from one cemented enclosure painted in white and with marble graves, the rest of the cemetery in Balochistan looks the same as it did in 2018. Such posts can be found here and here.

Lastly, there is a lack of evidence to support the accusation against the Pakistan Army.

Virality

The Instagram video by @jamal__baloch has gained more than 35,400 views as of the time of writing. It appears that the same user also posted (archive) the clip on X (formerly Twitter), where it was viewed over 10,700 times.

A screenshot from the viral clip was also posted on Facebook here.

Conclusion: The video is old and dates back to at least 2018. There is no evidence of the cemetery being destroyed by the Pakistan Army.


Background image in cover photo: BYCislamabad


To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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