Five years after the enforced disappearance and extradition of Baloch activist Rashid Hussain, a campaign demanding his safe return trended on the microblogging site Twitter. The campaign, initiated by the group, Baloch Social Media Activists (BSMA), saw the hashtag #SaveRashidHussain trending in several countries, including Germany.
Rashid Hussain, a vocal advocate for Baloch rights, was reportedly detained by secret police in Sharjah, UAE, on December 26, 2018, en route to Dubai with relatives. He was extradited to Pakistan on June 22, 2019, and his whereabouts have been unknown.
The campaign was launched by the Baloch Social Media Activists (BSMA), a group comprised of dedicated Baloch youth, social media influencers, and activists. They consistently use social media platforms to highlight issues affecting Baloch people. Their latest campaign focused on Rashid Hussain’s disappearance, aiming to draw international attention to his case and demand his immediate and safe release.
A multitude of individuals and organizations, including Baloch political activists, lent their voices to the #SaveRashidHussain campaign, demanding his safe return. Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), a group fighting enforced disappearances in Balochistan, condemned Rashid’s disappearance as a gross violation of national legislation and human rights. The organization has demanded that Rashid Hussain be made visible to the public to alleviate the suffering his absence has inflicted on his family.
As the anniversary of Rashid’s extradition to Pakistan was marked, his mother attended a demonstration camp at the Quetta Press Club, pleading for her son’s safe return. Fareeda Baloch, Rashid’s sister, echoed this sentiment on Twitter. She said, “We have received no news of my brother for the last five years. We are unaware of his condition. The state institutions have failed to conclude their investigation after all this time. Even the Judicial Commission can’t provide information on when Rashid will be brought to public view.”
The #SaveRashidHussain campaign gained significant momentum on June 22, with participants from various regions worldwide. The campaign trended in multiple locations, including Germany and across Pakistani cities, as an increasing number of people joined the call for Rashid Hussain’s safe return.