The recent unrest in Balochistan, Pakistan’s considered “gold-fish”, is proving costly for the “elected” provincial representatives in Pakistan’s parliament (Senate and the National Assembly) and the Balochistan Assembly. The root cause is their sidelining ways with the Baloch issues presently occurring in the province, including the peaking wave of enforced disappearances of Baloch masses. Like every Eid, families of all the missing persons will be organising a protests across the country – mainly Balochistan and Sindh – for the release of their beloveds.
Students, in particular, are becoming the victims of enforced disappearances – on which a bill was once presented in the parliament by the former state government and then was lost in the same reign of Mr Imran Khan – including the other Baloch masses. Sometimes the posters are of Sohail Baloch, other times Fassieh Baloch: someday of Hafeez Baloch and the other day of Feroz Baloch: and the story goes on. Rawalpindi’s Baloch students of ARID organised a camp for the recovery of Feroz Baloch who was allegedly whisked away from the city – most likely from the varsity as the students say – and filed a constitutional petition (CP) in the Islamabad High Court, but could not bring him on surface despite IHC’s words of “state being responsible for enforced disappearances”.
Besides Feroz, two Baloch students of the Balochistan varsity, Sohail Baloch and FassiehBaloch, were “detained” last year on November 1 from the hostel at 7 in the evening – the time when his fellows found their cell phones suddenly switched off. After looking for them and lodging a first information report (FIR) – as always on unknown men in civil dress – the fellows found inattention of the police and varsity administration towards the “abduction” of the two students from the varsity hostel, they forcefully shut down the main gate of the university on Nov 8 in protest. The sit-in continued for 20 days after which a government committee was formed. They ensured the students of the immediate release of the students if the sit-in was wrapped. The students did so, but till today (after seven months of their disappearance) the students are yet in dungeons.
Here, we get two things in common: one, the provincial government endorsed the detention of students, who they mostly and formerly claimed to have known nothing about – same is the case with the other disappeared persons. Two, despite being in their knowledge of the whereabouts of the students, they cannot do anything to get them released. Here, the families of the disappeared Baloch ask the government: if they know where their beloveds are, why do they reject their claim of their going disappeared – nevertheless enforced disappearance?
And it is again going to be Eid – yet another religious and holy occasion of the Baloch masses is going to be spent out there on roads where they will be asking for the recovery of their family members so that they may spend Eid like all the others do in the country. From Zarina Baloch and Seema Baloch to Sammi Deen Baloch and Mehlab Deen Baloch: from Mahrooz Hameed and Saeeda Hameed to Mahrooz Dr Jameel Baloch, and all the families of the Baloch who have disappeared members from their families. They want nothing from the state, as Sammi Deen wrote in her article, but the recovery of their beloveds. Isn’t it the duty of state to safeguard its citizens as mentioned in its constitutional article 9? Isn’t it state’s duty to give the right to free trial to every citizen of the state? If yes, why isn’t the right being given to the Baloch if they are considered equally as state citizens?
There are so many questions unanswered when it comes to the case of enforced disappearances in Balochistan. But the important point is, when will there be an end to the grievance of enforced disappearances in Balochistan?