Zakir Majeed: A prisoner of conscience – TBP Editorial

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Pakistani state agencies are known to have been engaged in the forced disappearance of numerous political activists in Balochistan, some of whom have been missing for over two decades. Zakir Majeed, the Vice Chairman of the Baloch Students Organization, was actively involved in student politics until his arrest by the police in 2006 for his political activities. He spent several months in Khuzdar Jail. Later he was forcibly disappeared from Mastung Piring Abad on June 8, 2009. Zakir Majeed’s political associate, Zahid Baloch, also suffered the same fate, while his friends Shafi Baloch, Qamber Chakar, and Sangat Sana lost their lives following their enforced disappearances.

“Zakir, my beloved son, who grew up raising awareness about the rights denied to our people among fellow students, was forcibly disappeared by the secret agencies of Pakistan, without even a demand for ransom. The living conscience of humanity and your own consciousness should compel you to support my plea, so that your voice can be heard and save the human conscience from the grip of death,” expressed Zakir Majeed’s mother. Her words resonate with the countless Baloch mothers who have tirelessly fought for the safe recovery of their children over the past two decades.

Zakir Majeed’s family and various political organizations launched a systematic political campaign to secure his release. His sister, Farzana Majeed, alongside Mama Qadeer, led the Quetta-Karachi and Karachi-Islamabad Long Marches, demanding the recovery of forcibly disappeared political workers in Balochistan. For five years, Farzana led protests to raise awareness and find her brother. Zakir Majeed’s mother also protested in Quetta, Karachi, and Islamabad for fourteen years, but despite their efforts, his recovery remains elusive.

The enforced disappearance of Baloch political activists has risen in tandem with the escalation of the Baloch insurgency in Balochistan. Leaders and workers affiliated with the Baloch independence struggle have been systematically targeted. Despite two decades of forced disappearances, Pakistani state institutions seem to disregard the historical significance of the Baloch national struggle, believing that such disappearances can counter the Baloch national movement. This perspective highlights a profound lack of understanding.

The Baloch national independence movement has persisted for twenty years, and its intensity continues to grow over time. Pakistan cannot suppress this national movement through the forced disappearance of political workers.

A meaningful dialogue initiated by Pakistan, aimed at resolving the Baloch national problem, and involving organizations associated with the Baloch national movement, could provide a peaceful solution. The recovery of forcibly disappeared individuals must be a crucial part of this dialogue in order to reach a lasting resolution to this issue.

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