A Sixteen Years Old “Ali Haider” on Land of Missing Persons
Author: Noroz Hayat
The Balochistan post
I am Ali Haider I was born in Mashkay, Balochistan. I have two sisters and one brother. Balochistan is the wealthiest and most backward province, and it covers 47 percent land of Pakistan with many resources including more than thousands kilometer warm sea from Gwadar to Karachi.
Unfortunately, when I was born, there was a long insurgency between the Baloch nationalists and the Pakistani military. Baloch nationalists believe that the Pakistani Government and military are involved in the exploitation of Balochistan’s resources. Mashkay is located in most war-affected district Awaran.
It is tough for families to provide one-time food and primary education to their kids in Balochistan. Out of 3.7 million children, only 1.3 million children go to school, 50% of people live under the poverty line, which compels the parents to send their children to work instead of to the school. Furthermore, Balochistan has the highest infant and maternal mortality rate in the region.
There is lack of schools in Mashkay with only a government school and the military has occupied it already. Sometimes we did not have teachers for months and months. My parents decided to move to Gwader to give us primary education and to provide three times food on our table. Gwader is also called hub of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC); it is a high security zone.
My father opened up a small laundry shop in the town. He worked there seven days a week and more than ten hours each day to support our small family.
On July 24, 2010, I was traveling with my father in a passenger bus to Gwadar from Karachi. Security forces stopped the bus in Uthal zero point, they came inside and asked my father “are you Ramazan Baloch?” My father had not responded before they dragged him beat him up in-front of me and took him away. I was seven-years-old when my father was forcibly disappeared. My uncle went to the police station to register for the first investigation report (FIR). Uncle came back home and said “police has refused to file FIR against army personnel.”
After three years of the abduction of my father, I joined the caravan of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), a human rights organization, campaigning for missing persons. I was 11 years old and studying in fourth grade. I with my two sisters and an older man, Mama Qadeer other young women along with Farzana Majeed and Sammi Baloch walked for months.
Mama Qadeer’s son Jalil Rehki was abducted in February 2009. He was missing for more than four years when his body was found in Mand, Balochistan on November 23, 2013. His body was severely injured, burned with cigarettes, and there were many gun-shoot wounds on his chest and head.
Farzana Majeed is the sister of missing Zakeer Majeed who was abducted on June 07, 2009 from Mastung, Balochistan in-front his friends. He was a student of English literature at Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water Marine and Science (LUAWMS). Moreover, he was a student leader of one of the most massive student bodies in Balochistan.
Older than me and younger than Farzana Majeed, Sammi Baloch is the daughter of missing Dr. Deen Muhammad. Dr. Deen Muhammad was forcibly disappeared from Ornach, Kuzdar during his duty on June 28, 2009. He was a government employee and a political activist. His family also registered a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan along with other family members of missing persons.
We had started one of the longest long march of south Asia from Quetta to Karachi and Karachi to Islamabad on October 27, 2013. We marched for more than 2000 kilometers with a big hope that the United Nations and other international human rights organizations will intervene on Baloch missing person case and get my father back to reunite with my family.
I was the youngest participant of VBMP’s long march, pushing a trolley carrying the pictures of missing persons from Quetta to the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad. I was asked many questions by journalists and members of human rights organizations.
Do I go to school?
Why I took leave from school?
Do I fear while walking on dark nights and desolate roads with some young women and only an older man?
Why I took this life risk?
My only answer was I need my father back.
Despite the longest long march in our region we failed to recover the missing persons I could not bring my father back. Life was on; I came to Gwadar to continue my school, Mama Qadeer sat back on token hunger strike of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), and Farzana Majeed received extreme life threats because of her activism and she escaped to the United States of America.
The campaign of VBMP retrieved its impulse again in 2018 when Seema Baloch and Zarina Baloch sister and wife of missing student Shabeer Baloch joined the camp of VBMP despite the chilly weather of Quetta capital of Balochistan. Shabeer Baloch was whisked away on October 24, 2016, in Pidark, Turbat. Family members of missing persons started coming back to VBMP camp from all over the Balochistan. I also made a comeback and joined the camp of VBMP with a new hope to get my father back. However, this time I was scared, I knew that I am old enough to be abducted if I protest against Government and military for the release of missing persons.
On Sunday, July 15, I became the victim of the same fate that my father was back in 2010. I was standing outside of our house at noon and two pickup cars stopped in front of my house. People driving with plain clothes came and asked me to go with them. I didn’t resist, but they blindfolded me with a piece of a cloth, folded my hands behind me, slapped me, beat me up and dragged me into the car to take me to their camp, where I was left alone in a room.
After a while, a person came and asked me the details of the 2013 long march of (VBMP), some questions related to my father’s abduction and some other about Gwadar.
Luckily after six days on July 21, I was released near Gwadar Development Authority (GDA), office they said I was mistakenly abducted and I am an innocent. However, it has been nine years now that my father is still missing, my family does not know the whereabouts and well-being of him. I hope one day he is released too.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Balochistan Post or any of its editors.