After more than two months of protesting against the Baloch genocide, the Baloch long marchers are finally returning to Balochistan from Islamabad without any redressal of their demands, which include stopping extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance cases, among others. Upon their return, in accordance with Pashtun traditions, PTM unit in Zhob organized a dinner for the Baloch Long March convoy led by Dr. Mahrang Baloch on the night of January 24.
However, officials from the Pakistani establishment and Pakistan Army, dressed in civilian clothes, prevented the youth, women, elderly, and children of the Baloch March from stopping for the food provided by PTM Zhob. They insisted that the marchers should pass directly without pausing.
A substantial police force was also deployed, and the administration threatened PTM Zhob not to provide food and other support to the Baloch long marchers. Reports have also surfaced that PTM Zhob activists received an unknown WhatsApp message from the establishment instructing them not to facilitate the long marchers.
Inhumane punishment out of nervousness
It’s worth noting that the Baloch Long March commenced from Turbat after days of protesting against the extrajudicial killings of Baloch youth by the so-called Counter Terrorism Department (CTD). After reaching Islamabad Press Club and initiating a protest there, the marchers faced brutality from the Pakistani regime. Despite this, their resolve remained steadfast. Disheartened by the regime’s blatant disregard for people’s rights and realizing that the establishment was not going to heed their peaceful protests, they returned disappointed. Even more disheartening is the fact that the regime does not allow the Baloch long marchers to have dinner on their way back home.
Unfortunately, this situation serves as a form of punishment for those raising their voices for rights in Pakistan. Apparently, one of the other reason for such an atrocious act by Pakistan is to keep PTM away from the Baloch cause. It has been evident since day one. Even PTM’s leader Manzoor Pashteen was abducted while he was enroute to participate in the Turbat protest, from where the long march started. Of late, Baloch and Pashtuns have been contemplating to unify their struggle against the brutal Pakistani regime as both the communities are oppressed and have made it sure that without the collective fight, their rights oriented movement would wither away. So, an action like this clearly indicates towards the nervousness of the Pakistan Army and its puppet regime in Islamabad.