Balochistan: Family of 'forcibly disappeared' student protests for his safe return

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
6 Min Read

The family of enforced disappearance student Anees Baloch on Sunday staged a protest on the Karachi-Quetta highway. Prominent Baloch activist Mehrang Baloch said they demanded the safe return of the abducted student.

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Mahrang Baloch called enforced disappearances a “serious crime” and accused the Pakistan government of being involved in the enforced disappearances of thousands of Baloch people.

In a post on X, Mehrang Baloch said, “Khuzdar: The family of enforced disappearance Anees Baloch staged a sit-in at a public pump on the Karachi-Quetta highway and demanded only the recovery of Anees Baloch. Enforced disappearance is a serious crime across the world but the Pakistan government is involved in the enforced disappearance of thousands of Baloch people and it is increasing day by day. I appeal to the people of Khuzdar to become the voice of Anees Baloch's family and reach the sit-in in large numbers and stand with the family until Anees Baloch is recovered.”

In another post on x, Mehrang Baloch mentioned that Hanif Baloch, a gold medalist at Bhawalpur University, was forcibly disappeared from Barkhan. He said that Hanif Baloch's brother Saeed Baloch, who was a student at Punjab University, was also reported missing after being called to Lahore and illegally detained.

Speaking to X, Mehrang Baloch said, “Incidents of enforced disappearances of Baloch students have increased. Hanif Baloch, a gold medallist from Bhawalpur University, has been forcibly disappeared from his native village Barkhan, while his brother Saeed Baloch, a student of Punjab University, was called from Lahore and illegally detained and made to disappear.”

He said, “Enforced disappearances are acting like cancer for the Baloch society, swallowing our entire society, no person, home and region is safe from it and it is a dangerous form of Baloch genocide. Staying silent at home against the Baloch genocide is not an option, rather we can stop it only through public resistance struggle.”

Meanwhile, at least 20 people were injured as protesters and Pakistani security forces clashed for the third consecutive day in Chaman, Balochistan on Friday, the Balochistan Post reported on Saturday.

Violence broke out when security forces tried to disperse protesters gathered outside the deputy commissioner's office. The protesters accused the Levies, police and Frontier Corps of using tear gas and other force against them.

Officials said 45 people were arrested for damaging public and private property and targeting security forces during the protests, the Balochistan Post reported.

The unrest has shut down business centres, government offices and the Quetta-Chaman highway. Banks have also been shut for several days due to the ongoing violence.

Protesters expressed frustration over the continued detention of their leaders. “More than 48 hours have passed and the leaders arrested from the protest in Chaman have not yet been produced before any court,” the protesters said.

The protesters said the deputy commissioner and other district officials had been absent from office for three days. They accused the provincial and central governments of not talking to them or trying to negotiate.

The protesters have vowed to continue their protest until their demands are met. They said the agitation will continue until the previous norms for crossing the border are restored and all arrested leaders and detainees are released, reports Balochistan Post.

The protests initially began when the government imposed stricter rules for passports and visas at the border. Previously, Pakistanis and Afghans could cross the border with their respective identity cards. The new rules, aimed at curbing illegal activities, have left thousands of people unemployed in Chaman, the report said.

The protesters have demanded that the old norms for border crossing be reinstated and highlighted the impact of the new rules on families and tribes who are divided by the border and depend on frequent border crossings for their daily survival.

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