It’s time the world knows about ‘missing’ people of Balochistan

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Baloch children protest against Pakistan's gross Human Rights violations in Balochistan
Baloch children protest against Pakistan's gross Human Rights violations in Balochistan

Baloch Missing Persons is a long story which contains forceful disappearances from Balochistan. The victims are political & social activists, doctors, teachers, farmers, and even women and children. The question arises as to who is behind this heinous crime of paradoxical disappearances from Balochistan. The answer can be found in the press conferences of the victimized families. Yes, the prime responsibility for these disappearances lie with the Pakistani intelligence agency — the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which is under control of Pakistani Army.

ISI, at the behest of Pakistan Army, violates United Nations recognized universal human rights across Balochistan. The ISI also violates the constitution of Pakistan which states that a person when arrested, should be produced in front of a court within 24 hours. It is startling as to how the entire Pakistani machinery is involved in this barbarism.

In fact, thousands of Baloch people are missing from Balochistan. This list of missing persons is increasing by day by day. After approving the Army Act Bill in the Pakistan Assembly, Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) has began its propaganda to take credit of getting a few missing persons released. Along with them, the newly formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) is also there to take its share of credit. Yet, nobody from these parties dares to ask why these persons were kidnapped in the first place and then kept in a dungeon for a long period.

The voice of missing persons of Balochistan came into limelight in 2009 when Mama Qadeer, the Vice Chairman of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) started a hunger strike in front of the Quetta Press Club. Later he did the same in front of Karachi and Islamabad Press Clubs. In order to highlight the issue, Mama Qadeer led a foot march from Quetta to Karachi and then from Karachi to Islamabad. They made history by walking 2500 kilometers against disappearances in Balochistan. This issue is protested at the United Nations’ forums too.

In 2012, the fact finding mission of United Nations visited Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan where VBMP handed over the list of missing persons from Balochistan. After the 2018 elections, BNP supported Imran Khan’s PTI in the formation of the federal government and handed them the list of missing persons and demanded their release after their support. But despite this the forceful disappearances continues unabated in Balochistan.

The people of Balochistan are now looking forward to the agreement between BNP (Balochistan National Party) and PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf). However again the question arises that who will ask the “mighty” Pakistan Army? Who dares to talk about the secret torture cells where Baloch have been kept for decades. In spite of being one of the burning issues, the media has kept silence on it. There is a total media blackout. Political parties are equally contributing to the issue by talking less about the issues of Baloch missing people. 

On the other hand, Pakistan Army continues to refuse that it is keeping Baloch people and those of other nationalities in dungeons. The Pakistan Army portrays them to be in Afghanistan and other places. In Balochistan, all the freedom seeking Baloch political activities are banned completely. So the Baloch nationalist parties should treat the issue of missing people as their prime responsibility and highlight this issue abroad so that the case of missing persons is heard by all. It needs to be brought out clearly that though some people have been released yet the abduction and forceful disappearances continues unabated across Balochistan.

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