Thousands of Baloch students studying in different universities of Pakistan boycotted their classes on Monday in protest for the safe release of Hafeez Baloch. The Baloch Students Council Islamabad gave the call for the protest, which was answered by student bodies in Balochistan and various major cities of Pakistan. Baloch students also organized a peace walk in the federal capital Islamabad for the safe release of Hafeez Baloch.
Baloch students in Islamabad carried out a peace walk near the National Press Club, carrying banners and placards featuring portraits of missing Hafeez Baloch and demanding his safe release. The protestors chanted slogans against the racial profiling and harassment of Baloch students in various universities of Pakistan. The demonstration culminated in a sit-in in front of the press club where speakers addressed the gathering and demanded the safe release of Hafeez Baloch. The speakers said that the abysmal educational apparatus of Balochistan and the parlous situation has forced the Baloch students to seek quality education in other cities of Pakistan. But unfortunately, the Baloch students could not escape the prejudice and harassment even there.
The Baloch Student Council Islamabad appealed to the teachers and academics in different universities of Pakistan to raise their voices for the safe release of Hafeez Baloch and the racial profiling of Baloch students. In a media statement, the student body said that the teachers are responsible for instilling democratic and humanistic values in their pupils. BSC said that academics across the country must raise their voice against the “undemocratic practice of enforced disappearance” and play their due part in putting an end to this menace. The student group also appealed to students across the country to be a part of the campaign for the release of Hafeez Baloch and boycott their classes on March 21.
Baloch students across the country answered the call and observed a one-day boycott of classes on Monday. Baloch students in Lahore boycotted their classes and carried out a demonstration in the university, calling for the recovery of Hafeez Baloch. Students in Multan also observed the one-day boycott to express solidarity with their fellow students. In Bahawalpur, the demonstration organized by the Baloch students for the safe release of Hafeez Baloch was interrupted by a university faculty member. In the videos posted on social media, the professor can be seen staying in the way of the students and calling them “ignorant” for carrying out the rally. Despite the disruption, the students carried out the demonstration and observed the one-day boycott of classes.
In Punjab University Lahore, the Baloch students boycotted their classes and carried out a peace walk in the university premises, demanding the safe release of Hafeez Baloch. The students said that this is not just about Hafeez, Faseeh or Sohail Baloch, but about the future of the thousands of Baloch students who are studying in universities throughout Pakistan. These students have to face prejudice and go through racial profiling only because of their ethnicity. The students said that we no longer feel safe in this country – we are being treated as hostile foreigners.
The Baloch Students Action Committee boycotted classes and carried out demonstrations in different cities of Balochistan. In Quetta, students in the University of Balochistan marched inside the university campuses to express solidarity with their peers across the country and demanded the safe release of Balochistan. Baloch students in BUITEMS also boycotted their classes and demanded an end to the harassment and racial profiling of Baloch students.
Baloch students in Lasbela University, Uthal, also observed the one-day boycott and demanded a safe academic environment for students across the country. They said that education is a fundamental right of every citizen and the harassment and racial profiling of Baloch students is tantamount to denying that right. The students also demanded the safe release of Hafeez Baloch, Sohail Baloch and Faseeh Baloch.
In Balochistan University of Engineering and Technology Khuzdar, Baloch students boycotted their classes and shut down the varsity library in protest, demanding the safe release of Hafeez Baloch. There are also reports that teachers in some schools across Balochistan also boycotted classes on Monday in protest.
Balochs students across Pakistan have also organized a social media campaign for the release of Hafeez Baloch. Hundreds of students, activists and political workers have participated in the campaign to express solidarity with the Baloch students demand the recovery of Hafeez Baloch. The hashtag #ReleaeHafeezBaloch and #StopHarassingBalochStudents were in top trending on social media in Pakistan on Monday.