Major Surendra Poonia, an Indian army veteran, tweeted a video of personnel in military uniform thrashing a group of blindfolded men, whose hands are tied behind their back, with a cane. Tweeting the video, he claimed that these were the Pakistan army’s Special Service Group (SSG) commandos flogging the “Baloch freedom fighters in Mand Area of Kech District in Pakistan”. At the the press-time, it has been retweeted close to 6,000 times. (UPDATE: Major Poonia has now deleted his video, a screenshot of which can be seen below and archived version is available here.)
MyNation shares video with different narrative
On March 12, My Nation published a report titled, “‘Peace loving’ Pakistan assaults its own security force”. The article based on the same video said, “A video accessed by MyNation shows atrocity of Pakistan Army Special Service Group (SSG) who can be seen brutally thrashing soldiers of Pakistan Frontier Corps who deserted their posts and fled away after the Baloch Republic Army (BRA) soldiers attacked them”. According to the report, soldiers of the Baloch Republic Army had attacked the Pakistani army outpost on February 27, 2019, raising slogans against the Pakistani army after which the soldiers of the Pakistan Frontier Corps fled the location. The narrative propagated by My Nation suggests that the video pertains to an incident of the soldiers of Pakistan Frontiers Corps fleeing the camp on February 27.
SSG Commando training video
Alt News found that these are Pakistan’s SSG personnel training other soliders under a torture-proofing exercise. We did a YouTube search with keywords, “SSG commando training”, and found the same video titled, “Pak Army SSG training” posted on February 5, 2019. While the My Nation report claims that the video is related to an incident of Pakistani soldiers being thrashed after they deserted the army on February 27, the same video has been available on YouTube atleast since February 5, 2019. Thus, the core assertion in My Nation’s article is false.
Watching the video frame-by-frame, one can see the word “instructor” written on the back of the t-shirt of one of the personnel, further indicating that this is a training process. The slow motion video can be seen below.
The attire worn by the soldiers is also a give away that these are NOT Baloch freedom fighters, but Pakistani army soldiers.
Moreover, there are several videos available on YouTube where the SSG commandos can be seen tortured by a group of army personnel in a training module called Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE).
A reportage of Express News, an Urdu News channel also explains about the torture resistance training given to the Pakistani army soldiers. At 7:20 mins in the video below, he can be heard talking about the survival skills imparted in their training module.
Video of Pakistani army’s SSG training with their own personnel was passed off as Pakistani army soldiers thrashing Baloch freedom fighters. In the past as well, Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir had shared a video of the same training module as of the Indian army flogging Kashmiri civilians.