QUETTA, Pakistan -- Relatives of missing ethnic Baluchis in Pakistan say the bodies of more than 200 of their loved ones have been recovered in the past 15 months, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.
The claims were made by relatives who have been protesting for the past 18 months in the south-central Pakistani city of Quetta about the authorities' failure to locate or release hundreds of their loved ones,
The wives and daughters of the missing persons are encamped outside the Press Club Quetta with such signs as "Rescue the abducted Baluchis" and "Stop killing them." Some protesters accuse Pakistani intelligence agencies of abducting their relatives, whose bullet-ridden bodies have often been found.
The protesters said the bodies of more than 230 vanished Baluchis have been recovered in the past 15 months in remote districts. They say the victims' bodies show signs of having been tortured.
"My brother was abducted by the intelligence agencies on October 9, 2009, and we found his mutilated body two years later on July 2, 2011," a protester named Rukhsana told Radio Mashaal. "His body was so mutilated that one could barely recognize him."
The protesters said they don't trust government institutions and rely only on human rights organizations for help.
Tahir Hussain, chairman of the Baluchistan chapter of Pakistan's Human Rights Commission, told Radio Mashaal that "we passed on the message of the relatives of Baluchi missing persons, but neither the provincial nor the central government took serious notice of it. So far, the mutilated bodies of 230 missing Baluchis have been recovered."
Baluchistani Interior Minister Mir Zafarullah Zehri told Radio Mashaal that the government is working to resolve the missing-persons issue.
The protesters say state intelligence agencies have abducted thousands of Baluchi politicians, lawyers, doctors, and activists, both men and women.
On August 1, Pakistani military chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said the army and its intelligence agencies are not involved in so-called "kill-and-dump" operations in Baluchistan.
Kayani was speaking in Quetta, where Human Rights Watch said in a recent report that Islamabad "should immediately end widespread disappearances of suspected militants and activists by the military, intelligence agencies, and the paramilitary Frontier Corps."
While Baluchistan makes up nearly half of Pakistan's territory, its population accounts for less than 5 percent of the country's 180 million people.
Baluchi separatist factions headed by mostly young leaders are involved in their fifth rebellion against the Pakistani government in the country's 64-year history -- Islamabad crushed earlier insurgencies in 1948, 1958, 1962, and 1973-77.