Pakistan: Locals rally in protest against killing of teacher in Balochistan’s Turbat 

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A rally was held in Turbat city of Pakistan’s Balochistan on Tuesday as locals led by the Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC) held a protest over the killing of Abdul Rauf, a teacher at Bolan School in Turbat, The Balochistan Post reported. 

The demonstration started at Bolan School, where Abdul Rauf taught and moved towards Shaheed Fida Ahmed Chowk. Youngsters, including women, carrying placards called for justice. People’s protest comes after a teacher was shot dead by unknown men in Balochistan. 

During the rally, there was concern among the protesters regarding the role of the religious jirga. Accusations were rife over jirga’s involvement in the death of Abdul Rauf. According to The Balochistan Post report, the protesters said, “With existing national institutions, what gives a cleric-led tribunal such unbridled power?”

The Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC) distributed pamphlets titled, “The Murder of Rauf Baloch and Various State Policies.” The document aimed to showcase what the committee considers as the state’s systematic campaign against the Baloch people, The Balochistan Post reported. 

The pamphlet highlighted the rise in enforced disappearances and drew attention to the targeting of prominent Baloch figures. The pamphlet took note of Rauf’s murder, marking it as the first instance where alleged state-backed religious extremists had openly killed a teacher on blasphemy charges in Turbat.

The pamphlet also highlighted Balochistan’s secularism despite the increase in religious radicalism in Pakistan. The document voiced concerns regarding the state’s alleged plan of exploiting religious groups to undermine the Baloch movement for independence and affect its secular socio-political fabric, the report said. 

It also mentioned the past incidents where prominent Baloch figures were targeted under religious pretexts. It mentioned the instances like the deaths of Zahid Askani, Professor Saba Dashtiyari, and Abdul Razzaq, according to The Balochistan Post report. 

The Baloch Yakjehti Committee’s pamphlet called on the people of Balochistan to remain vigilant against attempts to introduce religious extremism in the region. It called on the people to recognize these alleged tactics and to protest against them.

A teacher was shot dead by unknown men in the Kech district in southern Balochistan, Pakistan-based Dawn reported. According to the police, an English teacher, Abdul Rauf, was attacked near a graveyard in the Malikabad area in Turbat town of the district on Saturday when he, accompanied by some people, was going to attend a ‘jirga,’ a forum for resolving disputes, to explain his position to Ulemas on the matter.

The 22-year-old teacher used to work in the language centre. Citing the sources, Dawn reported that students of the language centre had lodged complaints with local clerics, accusing Rauf of committing blasphemy during a lecture.

Sudhir Ahmed, the principal said that a group of ulema visited the language centre on Friday and listened to the students and Rauf on the issue. Rauf denied the allegation and insisted he did not commit any blasphemy, Dawn reported. 

He tendered an apology for any objectionable words on the issue, according to Dawn. The clerics said they would resolve the issue and asked Rauf to come to the ‘jirga’ to explain his position.

“I invited Abdul Rauf to the jirga where over 100 ulemas from Turbat were present to resolve the issue amicably, but he was killed by unknown masked men before reaching the madrassa,” Mufti Shah Mir said, according to Dawn.

He added that the police were informed about the issue after the murder.

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