Pakistani Police arrested several lady doctors and other protesting students protesting on Wednesday in Quetta, occupied Balochistan. The arrested women included doctor Mahrang Baloch, Jeehand Baloch and other students of the Baloch Student Organisation (BSO).
The doctors and students were protesting against the decision of Higher Education Commission (HEC) to commence online classes despite the fact that internet facilities are not available in occupied Balochistan. The protest in Quetta was called by the Baloch Students Alliance, that claimed that the sole of the peaceful protest was to grab the attention of concerned authorities towards genuine issues of students. Without internet the students across occupied Balochistan will miss out all their classes and will then not be able to learn their subjects or clear their exams. Pakistani security forces have suspended internet access at several regions in occupied Balochistan citing security concerns. This internet suspension has been in place for several years in occupied Balochistan.
Soon after her arrest, Mahrang Baloch said that they were protesting against the unilateral decision to conduct online classes. She said that the “barbaric state doesn’t change its behaviour towards oppressed nations.”
Students across Balochistan have been protesting since the last few weeks due to non-availability of internet facilities and the decision of Higher Education Commission (HEC) to conduct online classes.
Earlier, the protesting students had said: “The HEC’s decision for beginning online classes is one sided and prejudiced, which completely ignores the ground realities. The HEC’s decision makes it clear that the students of Balochistan are not the part of this education system, which is an attempt to keep away the Baloch students from education.”
Baloch nationalist organisations say that denying internet accessibility in occupied Balochistan is an attempt by the Pakistani state to prevent news going out to the outside world about Pakistan Army’s blatant human rights violations across occupied Balochistan.