UN Special Rapporteur Mary Lawlor voices concern over reports of police harassment of Baloch protestors

15 15

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor on Wednesday voiced concerns over reports of police harassment of protestors against enforced disappearances in Balochistan, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.

She said that “spurious criminal complaints” against the peaceful protesters should be dropped. Currently, protests are being held in Karachi and parts of Punjab and Balochistan in solidarity with the main sit-in by the Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC) in Islamabad against enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

Organisers of the sit-in which is being held in Islamabad have accused the police of harassing their supporters and profiling them and lodging first information reports against them, according to Dawn report.

Taking to X, Mary Lawlor stated, “Today I met WHRDs @SammiBaluch & @MahrangBaloch_ to discuss the ongoing protests against enforced disappearances in Balochistan, #Pakistan. The reports of police harassment are v. concerning. Spurious criminal complaints against peaceful protestors should be dropped.”

Baloch activist Mahrang Baloch said she informed Mary Lawlor about the police crackdown on peaceful protesters. She also spoke about the “absurd comments” made by Pakistan’s Caretaker PM Anwar ul Haq Kakar regarding Baloch missing persons.

In a post shared on X, Mahrang Baloch stated, “We had a pleasant conversation with @MaryLawlorhrds, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, and her colleagues. Informed her about the police crackdown on peaceful protesters, the malicious media campaign, and absurd comments by the caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan regarding Baloch missing persons. She assured she will continue monitoring our situation and the threats we face.”

Human Rights Activist Sammi Deen Baloch said they briefed Mary Lawlor regarding the march and multiple arrests in Taunsa. She further said that they informed Lawlor about Anwar ul Haq calling them terrorist sympathizers. She stressed that the UN Special Rapporteur assured them about closely monitoring the situation and threats to the well-being of protesters.

In a post shared on X, Baloch stated, “Today, we briefed UN Special Rapporteur @MaryLawlorhrds on the march, multiple arrests in Taunsa, police filing fabricated cases against marchers including myself, and the Prime Minister labeling us as terrorist sympathizers. Also, I informed the Special Rapporteur about my father’s case, my 14-year struggle for his recovery, and that of other missing persons. The UN Special Rapporteur assured us of closely monitoring our situation and the threats to the well-being of protesters.”

Meanwhile, Islamabad police have rejected the accusations of Baloch activists, terming them “baseless,” Dawn reported. Responding to Mary Lawlor’s post on X, Islamabad Police stated, “It’s baseless, and it’s expected that such accusations must not be repeated without evidence.”

Earlier on Wednesday, lawyer Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir informed the Islamabad High Court that Baloch protesters camped outside the National Press Club were being “threatened through a death squad,” Dawn reported.

The Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC) camp continues to hold sit-in outside the National Press Club in Islamabad for 49th day. The sit-in continues to attract more participants despite harsh weather and pressure from law enforcement agencies.

Baloch Yakjehti Committee said many people from various regions came for solidarity, including Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Islamabad, Dawn reported. On Wednesday, a press conference was organised to brief the media regarding the state oppression and movement against Baloch activisits.

In a post shared regarding the sit-in on Wednesday, Baloch Yakjehti Committee stated, ” After lunch a ‘Press Conference was organized to brief the media about the state oppression and movement against Baloch genocide – as following the brutal tactics of the State, reportedly, more than 40 activists have been arrested from Taunsa, while in the preparation of a demonstration in solidarity with the Sit-In against Baloch Genocide and Enforced Disappearances at National Press Club, Islamabad.”

It further added, “Updates from Balochistan; resisting State oppression, demonstrations on solidarity with the movement and against the Baloch genocide were organized in Kuhlo and Rakni. One person, Mansoor Baloch from Buleda, was released on January 10. The protest rallies are continuing from Balochistan, and the sit-in against Baloch Genocide continues outside the National Press Club, Islamabad. The movement will persist till the End of Baloch Genocide.”

Earlier in December, a group of protesters–mostly women and children–arrived in Islamabad from Turbat district of Balochistan to protest against enforced disappearances in the province. The Islamabad police, however, launched a crackdown on the protesters and rounded up dozens of them, a move that was widely criticised by civil society as well as political leaders. Later, the authorities announced the release of the protesters on the order of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024