The families of the Baloch missing persons held a demonstration in the federal capital Islamabad on Thursday ahead of World Human Rights Day. The demonstration was also joined by Baloch student activists, members of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement, workers of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and other political and human rights activists. The demonstrations started near the National Press Club and culminated at the D-Chowk where the family members addressed the gathering.
Activist Sammi Baloch, the daughter of missing Dr. Deen Muhammad Baloch, Mahzeb Baloch, the young niece of missing Rashid Hussain, and several other family members of Baloch missing persons travelled from different parts of Balochistan to the federal capital to highlight the issue of enforced disappearances.
Addressing the demonstrators, the families of the missing persons said that we staged a sit-in at this very spot – the D-Chowk – for the safe release of the Baloch missing persons. We were assured that our loved ones will return, but ten months later, nothing has changed. Now, we have come back to seek answers.
The speakers said that despite our protests, the situation in Balochistan has not changed. Enforced disappearances are ubiquitous – the Pakistani security forces detain innocent civilians, students and activists on an arbitrary basis and imprison them for months or even years. A handful of them return, but most of them never see the light of the day.
The speakers said that when our loved ones are forcibly disappeared, we seek all the legal and constitutional solutions at our disposal. Today’s gathering here serves to prove that the authorities and the judiciary have denied giving us justice.
In a fiery speech, young Mahzeb Baloch said that ten months ago, the Human Rights Minister of Pakistan, Shireen Mazari, had promised us that our issues will be resolved. But the government is now silent on the issue.
The families of the Baloch missing persons will also participate in a conference on Friday to mark World Human Rights Day.