Teardrops on the shawl – TBP Editorial

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Let’s forget for a moment that Baloch movement is not 70 years old and stories of enforced disappearances had not started half a century ago, but all this started at the beginning of this millennium. What have the last two decades given to Balochistan?

Since the beginning of this millennium, not a single year has gone without a report of a person being forcibly disappeared. Ali Asghar Bangulzai’s abduction allegedly by Pakistani forces in 2001 was the point when the grief-struck faces first appeared in Quetta.

It has been 19 years since his abduction and it is Ali Asghar’s nephew Nasrullah Baloch who chairs the organization of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), which recently marked the completion of its 11 years of its formal establishment though its members were active since 2001.

Abduction of any Baloch activists has been bringing the family members of the missing persons to Quetta with the hope to find their loved ones. Women and children crying in front of Press Clubs, Mahrang Baloch’s tears for her father Ghaffar Langove, who was killed after remaining disappeared for months. Seema Baloch’s tears for her brother Shabbir, who still remains missing. Zakir Majeed’s mother has been crying for a decade now since his abduction in 2009. Luckily, Ansa Baloch’s tears brought her brother Amir back, a rarity.

Although Ansa’s tears brought her brother back the tears of other sisters have not dried yet. On the 8th of June, Haseeba Qumbrani’s heart-wrenching appeal for the release of her brother and cousin went viral. On Twitter, it has been watched half a million times on @MahrangBaloch5’s timeline and around 2 lac times on Rafi Ullah Mandokhail’s timeline. These stats are taken only from two accounts on two social media platforms which gives a clear idea of the reach of that video.

Haseeba’s tears are a few more drops in the decades-old pond of tears that keeps filling in front of Quetta Press Club. It is her second time to cry for justice at the same place, in 2015, her brother Salman Qambrani and Cousin Gazzain Qambrani were abducted and remained missing for a year before their mutilated dead bodies were dumped in August 2016.

She had to return in front of the press club with the broken voice and teary eyes when her remaining brother Hassaan Qumbrani was picked up along with another cousin Hizbullah Baloch in February 2020. She fears if their fate will be the same as Gazzain and Salman. However, reportedly, the prime minister’s office has contacted her regarding the issue but it could not be confirmed independently who had contacted her and if anything was assured to her.

The last two decades of Balochistan can be summed up in three phrases, enforced disappearances, mutilated dead bodies, and teardrops on the shawl.

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