The story of Islam Murad Baloch
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This is the story of a young man, Islam Murad Baloch. One of the many who crossed the Montgenèvre border.
It is the story of his long and difficult journey across the murderous borders and their guards. A story about repression in Balochisan. A story of the violence of the thousand borders he had to cross to escape death.
He himself asked that it be spread so that the story of his people and what so-called “migrants” are forced to endure will be known.
I am Islam Murad Baloch, I belong to the barren mountains of Balochistan. Balochistan is a forcefully annexed and occupied territory of Pakistan. It has been occupied on 27 March 1948 by Pakistan. Since then its people have struggled to recover their land and rights from the invaders. Pakistan has continued its suppression and cruelty on Baloch. Baloch have been put in troubles, their survival and identity have become a question mark for them. Pakistan treats them as strangers in their own land. It made tough their lives in their own motherland. Whosoever speaks up of their rights and resources they will be abducted, killed and their mutilated bodies will be thrown in the deserted areas. According to the Voice For Balochistan Missing Person Report (VBMP) more than 53,000 Baloch are missing in Balochistan their whereabouts are unknown for the last 2 decades. I am one of them who has been the victims harof enforced disappearance in Balochistan. Once at 3 pm at mid-night my room was knocked, I thought they are my friends they have an emergency they are knocking the door when I glanced from the mirror I could see the armed men on the door. I knew that they are Pakistani intelligence. To save my life from the cruel Pakistani agency I hurriedly jumped from the second storey of the building. I was terribly wounded and became in critical condition, but successful in escaping. I witch off the cell phone so that they must not trace me. I called home by a friend’s cell phone and informed them about the issue. They were worried a lot but they thanked Allah the almighty that I am still alive. Mom suggested me not to further stay in the country. Here your life is in threat. They suggested me to leave the country immediately. Listening these words of mom I was shocked and I refused to leave the country because everything mine belongs to this country. My childhood’s memories, friends, family and loved ones. Leaving the country and taking asylum abroad was too hard for me. I was not ready to leave my motherland Balochistan at all. But mom has compelled me that if you do not leave the country, Pakistani intelligence agencies do not leave you alive. They will chase you at every corner of the country. It is better to go abroad. Mom says if you do not go they will kill you. Then there is no need of me to be alive. I will end off my life if you do not go out from this country. It made me compelled to take the hardest decision in my life. I had merely two options to stay in the country to be killed or go abroad. I could not insist to mom because she was already suffering from terrible situations of Balochistan. Then I took the help from agents (human smugglers) to reach in Iran. From Iran I along with 50 other were loaded in a pick up car taken by agents from Iran border for about a 1000 kilometers. The car was overloaded that it was hard to breathe properly. I thought I would not survive in the journey. Agents did not allow us to fresh up ourselves on the way when we asked for the toilet they only humiliated us but also tortured us. It was only the hope of survival which impelled us to continue the journey. There was no break in the journey till we reached at Iran- Turkey border. It was a really suffocating journey that I cannot explain it in words. I thought life will end off from here. Having the constant journey the complete body was numb, kidneys and lungs got terribly affected. This 1000 kilometer journey traumatized me. Agents treated us as inhuman in the whole journey. Even some of the refugees have been unable to walk owing to deteriorated condition of their health. They could not cross the Iran-Turkey border. We, on the struggle with other refugees to cross the border, Turkish army caught all of us. They tortured and gave us inhuman punishment. We were affected psychologically and physically in their custodian. Then they deported us in the Iran border again. We call the agents to receive us Safe. Safe was a code agents told us when we need help we should call them with this code. They received us and treated the same. Agent were infuriated on us that why we have trapped ourselves to the Turkish police. They refused to give us food on our return as well as warned us if next time we would be back they will kill us. The next time we were the same caught and tortured and deported to Iran border but in the 5th attempt I was successful. We approach at Van city of Turkey. Van is 120 kilometers far from Iran border. Agent kept us in safe places but we could not have access of anything to eat, shower, sleep and contact to the family member that we are safe. Then agent provided us Turkish SIM to contact the family member for the payment. I had 200 dollar I purchased a SIM card a cell phone and informed the family member that I have reached safe and sound in Turkey and asked them for the payment of agent. They paid the required money to the agents. Turkish agents called the Iranian agents to come take the refugees to the Tatvan city. In here all refugees were tantalizing of unavailability of water and food. Agent assured us to come in car and take them to Tatvan.
They brought a container and put 500 of us in it. The container did not have any ventilator so that we could breathe. After 20 minutes of journey most of the refugees became unconscious we knocked the container for the help. Lately, it stopped. All of us came out from the container. In the same time Turkish police reached on the spot. They provided us first aid and took the critical ones to hospital. I was taken to the police station. Police wanted me to deport in Iran border, on the border I ran away from police custody they ordered me to stop I did not stop they fired on me but I was successful in escaping from their custody. I encamped in the mountain in the complete night without food and water. I called the agent to receive me. They assured me to receive me on the next day but they did not come, on the 3rd day they received me. I was tantalizing in the thirst of water and dying of hunger. Agent took me to the mountains another day and then took me to Afghan refugee camp. Police was present there too. Police caught me once again. They took us to the Iran border for deportation. Once again I ran away from the police custody. They fired but I did not stop. The reason was I had to pay once again if I were deported to Iran’s border. I did not care for my life I was fed up from it. Death carries no meaning to me. If I die it is better I get ride off from this suffocated life. I asked the agents to pay him double to take me a safe city. But they denied that police is so strict they cannot do it. I was very disappointed but still I was optimistic. Because it is hope which keeps life. I decided to go on feet to Caldiran to Patos. Patnos is a bigger city I could get the ticket of Istanbul. It was in distance of 115 kilometers. I went to the nearest market I had 200 dollar bought a bag, and foods then left for Patnos. I travelled in the day near road side and slept at night. After one and half day travelled I was caught by the civilian, they took me to the nearest police station. Police did not keep me in the police station rather they took me to place it looks like a garage. Some Arab refugees were also there, I was kept there. I escaped from the garage merely with my mobile and charger. I tried to walk at night and stay at day. But the weather was so cold that I could not travel at night I walked at day and hide myself from police. It was hard to bear the chilly weather of Turkey. I hide myself in the jungle and found warm places to pass the night. In the surrounding I heard the sounds of animals. In the next day I went to the nearest market where I bought a packet of soap to bathe. On the other day I continued my journey. After a five days walk I went to a nearest Kurdish village. I plead them to give me shelter and food, I have travelled for five days I am unable to walk anymore. They told me that they will provide me everything but cannot give me shelter because Turkish police create problems for them. Kurdish offered me delicious food I took launch and slept on the spot they tried to awake me but I was too drowsy that I could not get up. I got up at 12 pm and took shower and moved towards the destination. I was at the distance of 10 kilometers from Patnos. Unfortunately, police saw me walking along the road. They ordered me to stop, I had the fear that they deport me to Iran’s border, I did not stop. I ran away, after 5 minutes they chased me via drone camera. And then the Turkish army approached me with a lot of soldiers they ordered me to surrender. And told me to take off the cloths. I haplessly cried a lot. They told me to deport me at Iran border. I told them kill me or let me go at Istanbul. I refused to go to Iran. Turkish army said we will drop you in a nearest town where you can get a taxi for Patnos. Turksih army felt pity on me they brought back me 30 kilometer to a town where they told me to get a taxi to go to Patnos. I asked the taxis to take me at Patnos but they refused because of security reason. I then continued walking towards Patnos and took lift by the car. He took me to Patnos freely.
Reaching at Patnos I took a ticket of Istanbul, it took us 24 hours to reach at Istanbul. I contacted the next agent in Istanbul he received me there. I stayed at his home for one week. Then I proceed my journey towards Bulgaria with other refugees. Bulgarian border is one of the riskiest borders in the region. We were guided by agent via Google map to pass the border. It is a journey of 5 to 6 hours on foot to reach Bulgaria. Bulgarian army have trained dogs they can trace the refugees via smell. They are very dangerous dogs they can harm a lot. Moreover, Bulgarian border is fenced that is highly risky to cross it. Because after every 20 minutes police patrol on the border. On this border one needs to be very conscious while crossing it. When one crosses the border he/she must hastily need to move in the jungle to hide themselves so that police must not catch them. On the next side of the border agents are ready to receive you. They take them to Sofia, capital of Bulgaria.
Unfortunately, on the Bulgarian border police arrested us. They took off our cloths and made us naked and torture us terribly. It is hard to explain the situation. One only can see such seen in the movies. I still be goose bump while thinking about the situation. They treated us inhumanly. As if we were animals. Even one feels pity in while beating animals but these cruel troops did not have any humanly feeling with us. After humiliating us they hand over us to the Turkish army they provided us cloths. We hired taxi and headed towards Istanbul. It was a journey of 5 to 6 hours. I did not have money to pay the fare of taxi drive, reaching at agent’s home he paid the fare of taxi. I called my family to send me money to proceeding the journey farther. I was terribly exhausted owing to the long journey. I stayed a few days at the agent’s home then he guided me the way of Greece border to go. I have taken food, water and other luggage for the journey. Agent took me to the Turkey-Greece border. We approach at the border at day time, awaited for the night to safely cross the border. At night we crossed the border though a river. Agents prescribed us not to talk with one another in forest and must not stay for lunch only we have to eat to survive in the journey. We were very careful in the journey but unfortunate after the 12 days of journey police us. They took us to the police station and treated the same as Bulgarian police did with us. They took off our cloths and gave us corporal punishment. I lost hope that I cannot survive in these critical situations. It is hard to describe the happened events which occurred with us in the all way. Their punishment was so much hard that I bled and vomited. Then they put salt on the wounds to make the pain worst. Besides this they pour cold water on us in the freezing weather. The policemen say if you try again to enter in Greece you will be treated the worst the next time. My entire body swelled because of hard punishment. Greek and Bulgarian army terribly racists. They did not have any feeling for the refugees. In addition, Greek army brought us to the Turkish border at night deported us at Turkey at 2 pm without cloths and shoes. It was so cold and border was thorny that we could not move ahead at night. It was such a situation that I loved to be dead than alive in enduring the troublesome. We are left haplessly in the open sky. In the dawn we went to the nearest village. They provided us cloths and shoes. I similarly hired a taxi to approach at Istanbul at agent’s home. He paid the fare. I called the family to get me money. I stay at agent’s home a few days. In the same way I took bags and luggage moved to Greece. For 4 times I was caught tortured and deported in Turkey. I was tried off being deported and tortured again. I made a deal with a taxi to pay him 5000 thousands euro to take me to Greece via car. He was agreed. Listing this agent put me in a cell and tortured me a lot for going with the taxi. He made my video and send it to my family member threatened them to pay him 5000 euro or he will kill me.
Family members were impelled to pay him 5000 euro. Finally he released me. It was the 5th attempt to cross the Greece border. I talked to another agent to take me to the Greece. He assured me to take me by car in Arriana. Arriana is a village of Greece which at a distance of two day to the Greece border. Agent told us to wait for the car they will pick up at the location. Awaiting for two more days no one came. Agent made alibis that car has broken which needs to repaired. But all was a lie, they told us nowadays security is alert we cannot send a car to pick you all up. So you must walk in the forest to reach at Florina city. Unluckily, we did not have good advisor to guide us the way via Google till we reach at Florina. Our food got finished we took some more food for the journey. We reach after a long days of travel we still did not get the car. Agent was excusing. He said you have to come in Cumenthene where we can get the car. We did not have any option besides the working on the instruction of the agent. We proceeded the journey. In here we were dodged too. He did not come for picking us up. He told us to come farther at Xanthi. Agent kept us in hope of car but for six days we stayed in the open sky on the rain. Neither we could sit properly nor could we sleep in the terrible weather. On the other side, we were dying of hunger. It took us 28 days to reach at Thessalonki. From here we took the ticket of Athens the capital of Greece. After the arrival of Athens I rented a room for 6 months to stay here for some months to rehabilitate. My health was deteriorated I went to doctor for the checkup. The long journey made me too weak. In the entire journey I spent couple of months in Iran,Turkey and Greece. Most of journey was on feet with limited food which affected the health severely.
To approach the destination, I with other two friends, started the journey towards Macedonia. One of the friends was a heart patient he had two heart surgeries in Balochistan in 2001 and 2002 respectively. But after all these difficulties he was courageous he did not lose hope in the long troublesome journey. He was shoulder to shoulder with us in whole journey. He was a motivation for us in the journey. This journey was very hard without a guider to reach the next country. We called the next agent to guide us for crossing Macedonian border. He told us to come at Thessalonki. We reached at Thessalonki at his home. The agent guided us to get a train from Thessalonki to cross the Macedonian border. We did not get any ticket from train but were told to sit in the containers when train leaves from the station. We sit in the running train in between containers. The train official did not known some illegal people are sitting in it. It was too risky even to budge up from the position. If one moves, he could lose his life. Agent told us that we must jump on the train after travelling 3 hours. Because at the border of Macedonia, Macedonian army check the containers. We had 3 advisors at the journey. When the border was near they ordered us to jump from the running train. We jumped from the train. Some of the refugees were terribly wounded. We hide ourselves in the jungle at day and moved at night to cross the border. We had three agent advisors; first one was leading, the second was at the mid on the refugees and the third one was at last. They look after the refugees forced them to walk fast whosoever was weak to come were punished. While crossing any road, agents commanded us to cross it by running. Being weak and tried in the journey it was the toughest thing to run. But the compulsion made it done. The two constant-days-journey made the move very complicated for the heart patient. He was completely unable to move ahead. My two friends including heart patients were left behind by the agent because they could not walk any more. In the hard times, I was with them and accompanied them but the last time I could not they were left behind. Because it was not easy for a normal man to climb the Forestay Mountains, how a heart patient could do. Moving ahead the heart patient went missing when I asked the agent about the friend he replies he is no more. Listening this I was completely shocked and dishearten. I wanted to move back to see the friends but agent did not allow me to go to them. Insisting a lot agent pressured me to pay him a thousand euro he would allow me. I assured him that I will call at home they will pay you but he did not let me go. In the mountainous forest I slipped down the mountains I became critically injured and could not continue the journey anymore then the agent left me here in the jungle. I spent the whole night with hard pain of wounds and the next day I went to a nearest town’s market in Macedonia where I bought a SIM card and food. When I opened the internet I got a message from the heart patient friend he is safe and sound then I was too much happy that I am unable to express my feelings in word. Listening this news I did not feel any pain and tiredness besides being terribly injured and exhausted. My friends told me that they are at the Macedonian and Serbian border. I walked for two days reached at Belves. Belves is a city of Macedonia from where I fared a taxi to reach the capital city of Macedonia, Skopje.
Approaching at Skopje I called an agent to take me to cross the border he took me at late night at 11 o’clock. It took a 10 minute drive to cross the Serbian border. Agent demanded a thousand euro to take me to the next side of the border. I paid him the required money and 50 euro to the taxi drive for the service. We reached a bus station at Serbia but it was closed because of late night. I slept at night at the station. On the next morning I took a ticket for the capital city of Serbia, Belgrade. Reaching there I was penniless, I saw a Pakistani boy who had a Pakistani passport he could withdraw me money safely from the account. He made an agreement to withdraw the money if I pay him half of the money. I did not have any option I agreed on the term and condition. He took money and ran away. I slept for two days haplessly and the next day I found an Indian he helped me taking out money. He took them out without any charges. I insisted him to pay but he did not take then I offered him for the launch he accepted it. After the launch I took a ticket for Ljubovija. It is a town located at the Serbian and Bosnian border. Here comes a river on the way towards Serbian border I called a boat agent to take me across the river. He sent me a location to approach there at night. At late night I arrived at the location, where also another refugee was awaiting to cross the river. Boat rider took both of us across the river. We went to a near bus station, it was closed at late night. We spent the night there at the next morning I took a ticket for Tuzla. Tuzla is a city of Bosnia, from there Tuzla I took a ticket to reach at the capital city of Bosnia, Sarajevo.
Reaching at Sarajevo, I took a taxi to reach at the refugees’ camp of Sarajevo. Resting few days in the camp, I took a bus ticket to go to Kladusa Mirle Camp. Khaldusa is a town near the Bosnian and Croatian border. After a long travel I got to the Kladusa Camp. Here I spent a week. After a week I got prepared to go to Croatia. I bought food, water and other luggage for the Croatian journey. We were three colleagues in the journey, each one us took 3 bottled 500 ml water with us. Croatia is one of the hardest border to cross because here Croatian police have fit camera on the trees and mountains to arrest the refugees. We planned to go in the forest from the highest mountains so that police should not arrest us. But it was very risky we could lose our lives in the top of the mountains. We proceeded the journey with full commitment, to face any kinds of difficulties as we faced in the previous borders. On the 4th day of journey at the jungle we had stricken with a rainy weather. It rained constantly till we reached at the Slovenian border entrance. There was a huge river on the Croatian-Slovenian border. We tried a lot but due to heavy rain water level was so high that it was hard to cross the border. On the other side, we were exhausted and sleepless for the 15 days journey. Neither we could sleep nor could we hand over ourselves to Croatian police. It was the fear that they deport us to the Bosnia again. Finally, we got to a narrow pass of water and succeeded to cross the Slovenian border. From border we walked another day and reached at Trieste, Italy. From Italy I took train to reach in France and then the last destination. I arrived in Netherland after the long struggle between life and death. I suggest everybody around the world not to try this way. It is better to die home but not to endure such a troublesome, humiliated and suffocating journey at all. These were the toughest days of my life, but I did not have any other potion merely opting this way. If not I was abducted by Pakistani intelligence and my mutilated body was thrown in the deserted. We were born free so to live freely is our fundamental right.
Islam Murad Baloch