Karachi: Baloch activists manhandled, arrested by police

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Scores of women protesting in front of the Karachi Press Club on Monday for the safe release of their missing loved ones were manhandled and arrested by the Karachi police. These included Amna Baloch, the Chairwoman of the Baloch Yakjehti Committee Karachi, Sammi Baloch, the Deputy General Secretary of the Voice for Baloch Missing Person (VBMP),and Zareena Baloch. The arrestees also included activist Nida Kirmani, a professor at LUMS, Dostain Baloch and the elderly mother of missing Rashid Hussain Baloch.

The Pakistani government imposed Section 144 all across Sindh, banning the gathering of more than five people at the time. The government said that the move was carried out due to the “upsurge in terror activities.”

The Karachi police reportedly arrested two girls who had come to the press club without knowing that the protest has been deferred. Other Baloch came to inquire about the arrest of their companions when they were manhandled and arrested by the Karachi police. Videos of the episode were shared on social media which show the police forces violently dispersing the crowd and arresting the Baloch women. In one video, a police soldier can be seen manhandling a struggling woman to the ground after she refuses to go with him. The women activists can be heard chanting: “ yeh jo deshatgardi hai, iske peeche wardi hai (Those dressed in the uniforms are behind this terrorism)” and asking “What have we done?”

Activist Sammi Baloch, the Deputy General Secretary of the VBMP, told the media that the workers of the VBMP and the Baloch Yakjehti Committee had been working for several days to organize this demonstration in front of the Karachi Press Club. She said that we had learnt on Sunday night that the Sindh government had enforced Section 144, banning demonstrations and protests, and we had alerted all the expected participants that the demonstration has been called off. But a few of the participants had not received the message and gathered in front of the press club.

She said that only two young girls – 18 and 20 years old – had gathered in front of the press club when the Sindh police arrested them. Sammi Baloch said that when we learnt of their arrest, we came to ask about them, we were also attacked by the police and several male and female activists were arrested. She said that we did not come to protest; we came to inquire about the arrest of our two female workers when the police cracked down on us.

Sammi Baloch was also arrested subsequently along with the elderly mother of missing Rashid Hussain. Fatima Hameed, the wife of missing Hameed Zehri, and her daughter Saeeda Hameed were also detained by the police.

SourceTBP

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