Today marks 23 days to University of Karachi student Sagheer Ahmed Baloch’s disappearance. Taken away by five men in a white Corolla from the visual studies department’s canteen on the evening of November 20, not a single clue has yet surfaced as to who took him and where.

A second-year student of KU’s Department of Political Science, 21-year-old Sagheer and his friends had gathered at the canteen after getting done with their exams for the day. As per Fazeela Baloch, a witness to the episode, it was around 5pm that the men approached the group, directed Sagheer to sit in the car and collected NICs of all the others sitting with him. No one has seen him since.

The student’s story

Sagheer belongs to Balochistan’s District Awaran and had come to Karachi in 2016 after securing an admission to KU on the reserved seats for his native province. He passed his matriculation examination from Khuzdar and his intermediate examination from a college in Quetta.

Although he hails from one of the more restive districts of the insurgency blighted province, both Sagheer’s friends and family claim he was not involved in any kind of political activism, let alone militancy.

This claim was also endorsed by a number of students and teachers of the varsity’s political sciences department. Also supporting the assertion was KU Dean Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Prof Dr Mohammad Ahmed Qadri who, in a conversation with The News, affirmed that Sagheer was not involved in any political activities. “He is a brilliant student and also one of the department’s best debaters.”

‘Not picked up from KU’

Despite there being several witnesses to the incident, the varsity’s administration denies that Sagheer was picked up from the campus. The first information report, registered with the Mobina Town police station, also states that the 21-year-old was picked up from the visual studies department’s canteen.

KU Registrar Munawwer Rasheed told The News that he did receive an application from a group of students regarding the incident, but the document did not have any names on it. “However, their complaint was taken seriously and was moved to the police station at that time,” he added.

One of the applicants did confirm that they had not put in any names but said that their names were later put in on Rasheed’s suggestion. “I don’t think any such incident occurred on the campus because the inquiry reports of the campus security adviser and the police do not contain any such information,” said Rasheed, adding that the owner of the canteen had confirmed to him that nothing of the sort happened on November 20.

The registrar clarified that he was still investigating the matter and had not yet reached a conclusion. Moreover, Rasheed said that if law enforcement agencies have concerns about any of KU’s students, they should inform the management first for proper action. “We will not accept any decisions taken by others regarding our students.”

Marriage certificate for an FIR?

Although shaken to her core, Sagheer’s sister, Hameeda Qadir, along with Fazeela and another cousin, Banul Baloch, has been toiling for her brother’s recovery since the day of his disappearance.

All three girls study in Karachi and have been running from pillar to post on their own as their families reside in Balochistan. They have been making the rounds of the local pressclub, police station, lawyers’ offices as well as various human rights organisations to seek whatever assistance could prove useful for Sagheer’s safe return.

And while their efforts may not have brought back the student yet, they have managed to have an FIR registered and sent applications to all relevant authorities through the National Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

A student of nursing at Malir’s Hands Hospital, Hameeda told The News that on November 20 she received a phone call from a frantic Fazeela – a student of KU’s Department of Women Studies – informing her of what had transpired at the visual studies canteen.

Published in The News

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