Baloch missing persons:
On Eid, relatives hold rally
instead of celebrations
Voice For Baloch Missing Persons rally throughout Quetta, stage sit-in at Meezan
Chowk. PHOTO: ZAFAR ASLAM/ EXPRESS/ FILE
QUETTA: Scores of women and children rallied in Quetta on Eidul Azha to protest against the practice of enforced disappearances in
Balochistan and appealed to the world community, particularly the United Nations and International Humanitarian Organisations, to play their role
in ending the man-made humanitarian disaster in the province.
Voice For Baloch Missing Persons (VFBMP), an organisation striving for the immediate recovery of the Baloch missing persons, took out rally
from hunger strike camp outside the Quetta Press Club and marched through different roads and streets of the provincial capital.
About 50 women and children participated in the rally holding placards and portraits of their loved ones. The protesters staged a sit-in at Meezan
Chowk which is the busiest intersection in Quetta. “We are not celebrating Eid because all I want is my brother to get back home,” said sister of
Zakir Majeed, a nationalist leader who was listed missing about two years ago.
Addressing the protesters, Chairman for VFBMP Nasarullah Baloch said that neither the judiciary nor the government has made any serious
effort to release a single missing person.
“The issue of enforced disappearances is going unnoticed, thus we are on the roads. It has been almost one and half years that relatives are on
strike but to no avail,” he said, adding that National Crisis Management Cell is backing the government and its functionaries instead of taking
steps to address the concerns or raise the voice.
The VFBMP announced that they will soon march to Islamabad where they will hold protest demonstrations outside the offices of United Nations
and International Humanitarian Organisations.
“Our apprehensions have come true that all missing political opponents are subjected to brutal torture as the mutilated and bullet-ridden bodies
are turning up every day,” said sister of Jalil Reki, Central Information Secretary of Baloch Republican Party (BRP). “It seems that the judiciary
and government had condoned the killing of Baloch people as they do not bother to ask why mutilated bodies are being dumped on a daily basis
and who is behind this massacre.”
According to VFBMP, as many as 230 bullet-riddled bodies of Baloch missing persons have so far been found dumped in desolated places of
Nasrullah said that most of the women had come from far-flung areas only to draw the attention of Humanitarian organisations of the world. “The
victims belonged to poor families and are merely political workers or had affiliation with nationalist parties,” Nasrullah said who puts the figure of
missing persons to around 14,000. He said his organization has complete details of 1,300 Baloch missing persons.
EDITORIAL: Killings in Balochistan continue
When people all over Pakistan will be celebrating Eid-ul-Azha, the people of Balochistan will be mourning their loved ones. The responsibility for
this lies with the Pakistan military, its intelligence agencies and the Frontier Corps (FC). The entire nation should be ashamed of the brutalities
unleashed by the military against its own people in Balochistan. Javed Naseer Rind, a young journalist, was abducted in September and his
tortured, bullet-riddled body was found the other day in the province. More than a dozen Baloch, including women, were killed last week in less
than 24 hours during a military campaign in Balochistan; the same week when the FC was placed under the provincial government of
Balochistan. The fifth military operation of our history is underway against the people of Balochistan but it seems that the rest of Pakistan
remains oblivious to it. The apathy of the government and the nation is something that has further alienated the Baloch from the Pakistani state.
Thus a new wave of separatism has found resonance in Balochistan. The lessons from 1971 have not been learnt.
The PPP-led government in Islamabad seems helpless before the Pakistan Army and its skewed policies. Even then there is no reason that the
government cannot put pressure on the army and make a logical case against its brutalities. Promising development and aid will not serve its
purpose unless and until the military is called back from Balochistan and the people of the province are empowered in letter and spirit. The
Baloch insurgency started only to ask for their just rights but in order to quash their nationalism, the military under General Pervez Musharraf
started using force. Even after the ouster of General Musharraf, the same policies are being carried out. When democracy returned to the
country in 2008 after nine years of military rule, it was hoped that the civilian government would do away with a military dictator’s wrong policies.
Instead, we have been disappointed with the way the ‘kill and dump’ policy is being carried out with impunity in Balochistan. Thousands of Baloch
are still missing while hundreds of them have been slaughtered like animals by the army. Is this the way to deal with a demand for just rights?
The need of the hour is to settle this conflict through a political settlement. Military means cannot crush the honourable Baloch people. The
government must talk to the Baloch leadership, both in the mountains and those who are in self-exile, and bring an end to the insurgency on a
just basis. All the missing persons should be brought back to their homes safely. The military operation must be stopped at once. The
Balochistan government is toothless and cannot do much to stop what is going on. The federal government must come to the rescue. If things
keep on going the way they are, the federation will be in trouble. The government should not take this matter lightly. The Baloch deserve better
from a democratically elected government. Cruelty is not the answer to anything. Peaceful means and political negotiations are key to bringing
peace and prosperity in Balochistan. *
|Voice For Baloch Missing Persons rally throughout Quetta, stage
sit-in at Meezan Chowk.
By Shehzad Baloch
Published: November 9, 2011