Protests Held Across Balochistan and Islamabad on Eid

Pakistan Balochistan

During the Eid celebrations, various groups and families of missing persons, student organizations, and political parties, staged protests across Balochistan and Islamabad, demanding action on enforced disappearances, Balochistan Post reported.

Demonstrators from diverse backgrounds called for the safe recovery of missing persons and an end to the long-standing issue of enforced disappearances in Balochistan, a tactic human rights organizations accuse the Pakistani state of using to suppress dissent.

In Turbat, a protest against enforced disappearances was organised by the Baloch Students Organization (BSO) and families of missing persons, addressing “state oppression and violence towards the Baloch nation”.

The protesters said the primary purpose of their demonstration was to unveil the “state’s oppressive” actions against the Baloch people on both national and international levels. They appealed to the civilised nations to intervene in Balochistan, urging them to take action to prevent further injustice and oppression faced by the Baloch nation, Balochistan Post reported.

The participants in the Turbat protest also underscored the need for the state to reassess its policies before the situation worsens further. They highlighted the resilience of the Baloch people, who have a long history of resisting oppression and are determined to ensure their survival.

In Khuzdar, families of forcibly disappeared individuals protested on Eid, seeking the safe return of their relatives and accountability for those responsible for the enforced disappearances. The protest, held at Shaheed Abdul Razzaq Chowk, was reportedly met with harassment from Frontier Corps personnel. Grieving families expressed their distress over forced disappearances by state authorities, opting to protest instead of celebrating Eid, Balochistan Post reported.

In Gwadar, Haq Do Tehreek and families of missing individuals staged a protest on Eid, drawing a diverse crowd of women, children, and local political leaders. Demonstrators accused the state of criminality, insisting that if the missing persons are criminals, they should be brought to court rather than forcibly disappeared. Rukhsana Dost, sister of missing Azeem Dost, recounted her brother’s ordeal, and protesters also demanded the recovery of Haq Do Tehreek leader Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rahman.

Rukhsana Dost shared that her brother was made to disappear for eight years now, and despite their daily protests and demands for justice, there has been no effect on the authorities or those responsible for the disappearances. Rukhsana Dost said, “Our demand has always been for the return of my brother. We repeatedly ask that if he is a criminal, then present him in court and prove the charges against him. However, even the courts are failing to provide justice to the citizens.”

Despite police attempts to halt the rally, protesters persevered, and incidents of obstruction by police and Pakistani forces were reported, Balochistan Post reported.

In Quetta, a protest was held by the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (BYC) and the Baloch Yakjehti Committee, with demonstrators assembling at the Quetta Press Club. The protesters demanded an end to enforced disappearances and the recovery of missing persons in Balochistan. Representatives from various political and social organisations, including the Balochistan National Party and BSO, participated in the event.

Panjgur saw a protest against forced disappearances, attended by a range of political and social organizations. The protesters warned of worsening conditions in Balochistan if the state and its institutions did not change their approach towards the Baloch people. They urged the state to tackle enforced disappearances, cautioning that the situation could escalate if their demands were not addressed, with the responsibility lying on the state and its institutions, Balochistan Post reported.

Baloch student organisations also protested outside the Islamabad National Press Club on the first day of Eid. They held pictures of the detained Mahal Baloch and other missing persons forcibly abducted by Pakistani forces, criticizing the state for intensifying enforced disappearances in Balochistan, with not only Baloch men but also Baloch women being abducted in public.

The students shared their fears of not being able to return home on Eid due to the risk of being forcibly disappeared. Civil society group members joined the Baloch students in solidarity during the Islamabad protest, Balochistan Post reported.

These widespread protests underline the deepening crisis of enforced disappearances in Balochistan and the growing concern for the safety and rights of the Baloch people. The demonstrations emphasize the pressing need for a comprehensive solution to address the issue of enforced disappearances and ensure the protection of human rights in the region.

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