Quetta: Protestors block city’s main arteries in protest, cite ‘government negligence’

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The families of the victims of the Ziarat incident and the Baloch human rights activists blocked the several busiest arteries of the provincial capital Quetta on Friday in protest, suspending the traffic for hours. The protestors were joined by political activists, social workers, student leaders and the general public. The protestors said that the government’s negligence and inaction have forced us to take this drastic action.

The families of the victims of the Ziarat incident – where allegedly 11 Baloch missing persons were killed in a ‘fake encounter’ – and Baloch missing persons activists have been protesting in front of the Governor’s House in Quetta for the past seven weeks. The protestors have proposed three demands – the government must launch a judicial commission to investigate the Ziarat incident, the authorities must assure the families of Baloch missing persons that their loved ones will not be harmed and the missing persons must be safely released.

The protestors claim that the government has not seriously considered their demands. If anything, they say, the government representatives are trying to coerce us into ending our protests. The protestors claim the government representatives told them that if they did not end their protest, there would be no negotiations.

Finally fed up with what they call ‘government negligence and inaction’, the protestors blocked the city’s busiest roads on Friday in protest. The protestors gathered near the Balochistan Secretariat and blocked the route leading to the JPO Chowk and the Serena Hotel.

The protestors said the authorities have turned a deaf ear to our protests. They said that our companions have gotten sick due to the extreme fluctuations of the weather in the past few weeks. They said that we were forced to take such drastic action.

Some civilians tried to break through the protest, but they were thwarted when the protestors – women and children specifically – lay down on the road in front of the vehicles, blocking their path.

The protestors resented the interference, saying we came out on the roads so that the authorities would hear our plea, but our compatriots are trying to run us over with their vehicles.

The protestors said the last time we blocked the roads we were assured that our demands will be considered, but the officials have reneged on their promises once again.


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