Families carry on sit-in for ‘missing’ loved ones despite hardships

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The family members of the “disappeared persons’’ continue their sit-in protest for 35 days, in front of the governor house in Quetta, despite failed negotiations with government officials and terrible weather conditions.

Sammi Deen, the leading figure of the protesters against Ziarat incident and daughter of ‘missing’ BNM leader Dr Deen Mohammad, accused government officials of “lying and making false promises in negotiations”. In an attempt to expand their protest, the victim families, along with several other activists blocked DPO Chowk of Balochistan’s capital city of Quetta on Wednesday, after government officials failed to meet their words.

Among the protesters there is Seema Baloch, sister of a missing student leader Shabir Baloch. She also has accused the government officials for “reneging on their promises”.

In a press briefing, the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Quddos Bizenjo asked the protestors to end their sit-in protest and must not disturb the public, otherwise “the government will be compelled to take actions against protesters”. CM said that the government had taken serious measures to prevent the issue. He added that it was “a federal matter” and not a provincial subject.

“We have given them (families of missing persons) the right to protest,” he continued that the government has not used force to disperse them. While referring to judicial inquiry, he said that the Judicial Commission has been formed to investigate the incident.

Opposing Bizenjo’s claims, the protestors said that the judicial commission has been failed to provide initial reports of the allegedly fake encounters by the security forces. To remember, Pakistan army carried out a military operation in the mountainous region of Khost following the abduction and subsequently killing of an army colonel on the night of July 12/13 by a “pro-independence” Baloch armed group, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA). The media wing for Pakistani forces, ISPR claimed of having killed nine members of BLA during the operation — the number later rose to eleven.

On contrary to ISPR’s claim, BLA spokesperson Jeeyand Baloch said that none of their fighters were killed or injured in the military operation.

After these statements, the family members of Baloch missing persons rushed to Quetta hospital and identified the dead bodies as those of previously missing persons.

Rejecting the army’s claim of killing militants, families of the missing persons, along with the various poltical parties, student organizations and rights groups gathered to protest against the incident across and beyond Balochistan.

After several clashes with the police in the struggle of reaching the main gate of governor house, the families at last entered the Red Zone (the residence area for govt high ups) in Quetta.

The victim families have been continuously protesting in front of governor house for last 35 days. They carried on their sit-in protest despite the harsh weather conditions and restrictions by the government.

Balochistan government launched a Judicial Commission on July 28, to inquire the incident after the protests erupted throughout Balochistan. While, the government has not yet succeeded to satisfy the families to end their protest.

The protestors have set three demands: 1. Judicial inquiry of the alleged fake encounters by the army; 2. The state officials must assure the families that there will not be any extrajudicial killings of Baloch missing persons; 3. The families of missing persons must be informed about the health and whereabouts of their loved ones.


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