In war-torn Balochistan, Baloch women are victims of dual oppression. On one hand, they are held captive by outdated traditions imposed by local Sardars and feudal lords, and on the other, they are victims of state oppression.
On March 8th, women around the world demonstrate political strength for their rights and organize their struggle. However, in Balochistan, women protest for the recovery of their forcibly disappeared loved ones instead of focusing on their rights. Baloch women protested in Karachi, Quetta, and Khash on March 8th, 2023 too for the recovery of forcibly disappeared persons, including for Mahal Baloch and other Baloch women.
Saira Baloch, sister of forcibly disappeared Asif and Rasheed Baloch, expresses the sentiments of the women of war-torn Balochistan. Saira says, “we do not want freedom from our men, we want freedom for our men. It is the state that is exploiting us, not our men.” These thoughts are shared not only by Saira but by all Baloch women suffering from state oppression and fighting for years to recover their loved ones.
Previously, forced disappearance was limited to men in Balochistan, but now the cases of abduction of Baloch women are also increasing. Baloch women have been forcibly disappeared from Turbat, Karachi, Bolan, and Quetta in Balochistan, and Mahal Baloch was handed over to CTD after her enforced disappearance, who is still in their custody.
Organizations and parties fighting for the independence of Balochistan accuse the state of forcibly disappearing Baloch women to prevent their involvement in the political struggle and to collectively punish families associated with the Balochistan independence movement. Pro-liberation circles fear that state oppression on Baloch women may increase in the future.
In Pakistan, even basic human needs must be met through protest, and Baloch women cannot obtain their rights without an organized movement in a state like Pakistan. To achieve their rights, Baloch women have to organize their movement and fight continuously.