It was around 12:30 at night (September 24) when we were sitting in front of Governor House (Quetta) in the peaceful protest of medical students against Pakistan Medical Commission’s online entry test which was, as students say, a dismal and corrupted way of an entry test. During our sit in, police vans began to come closer. So as the police with sticks. All of a sudden they rushed on us and started beating us with sticks (including hockey sticks) and threw us in the police van. They were continuously shelling tear gas on students and chasing them. The scenario showed as if ‘terrorists’ were being taken to prison. And then I realized we all were “terrorists” because we were demanding for our fundamental rights which is a crime here.

For last twenty days, medical students of Balochistan have been sitting in a protest against the method of medical entry test which has been converted into online and to be conducted in different days. Students take the tests and get satisfied with their answers but when result comes, it is diverse. Due to online system, they cannot claim for a re-check which, they feel, is violation of their right. “I was damn sure of scoring 160 as per the test, but when my result came, I was given ninety marks and passing mark is 137 out of 210.”

We were almost 15 initially in the police van. Our things were taken from us. After a while five other students were brought which increased our number to 20. We were taken to Bijli Garh police station. When we were all put behind the bars, one of our friends, Kamran Baloch, was called outside. He was taken to next room and brought in few minutes later. He was repeating, “I am a Baloch and I am proud of it.” He was beaten because when he was asked from which “nation” he belongs to, he said Baloch. And then we knew it was not only being a student a crime here, but belonging to Baloch nation was even a harder nature of crime.

The most disheartening thing we heard in jail was that female students were also beaten and mentally tortured when they began their baton-charge. On one side, Baloch women like Taj Bibi are shot dead by law enforcement agencies and, on the other hand, young students are tortured and harassed mentally when they come on roads to protest for their basic rights.

Baloch students are punished with even death for demanding their rights. Is it our fate that we should give away our students to get killed just because we want a good education? Our demands are simple, but we are treated worse than criminals in our own land.

When we were taken to Civil line police station, we were put in the jail of drug addicts who were being provided with severe nature of drugs – even inside the jail. We wondered if we were in jail or in a bar. After much resistance, they were shifted to another lockup, but what we saw out there totally broke our already shattering trust on law enforcement agencies. Secondly, we were seventy five (75) students locked in a single lockup which could hardly place twenty to twenty five prisoners. When we asked for two lockups, we were scolded with dirty words that it was lockup and not our home. But, with such attitudes by law enforcement agencies and state, police lockups are ever the homes for Baloch students.

A Baloch student was killed and we were alleged for the crimes which the police acted on us. Our lawful gathering was deemed as illegal because we were students of Balochistan. We were said to have abused and beaten police, but we were abused, tortured and tear gas was thrown on us, not them. With all this, we understand that Baloch are not safe in their own land in any situation. If we study, we are terrorists; if we do not study, we are criminals. We are already declared treasons by our system.

Balochistan is utilized as the golden egg by Pakistan. In return, we are getting hatred, label of terrorism, baton-charge, tear gas, death, prisons etcetera. Today, Baloch’s ancestral codes, ethics and honor are getting crushed. Such brutalities can only enhance our sense of deprivation. Equality and equity are far concepts, Baloch are not let to take full benefits from the already deteriorating facilities. After all, Baloch students are all criminals and they deserve nothing but baton-charge, hatred and abuses. If still they (Baloch students) do not understand, put them in prisons. After all, they belong to jails and prisons.

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