Protests for Baloch rights intensify as Long March reaches Dera Ghazi Khan

long march intensifies
Baloch Long March ( Photo: News Intervention)

The long march for Baloch rights, which began in Turbat and made its way through Quetta, has reached Dera Ghazi Khan. However, concerns have been raised about the continued human rights violations in the region, as four innocent Baloch students from Ghazi University – Sakim, Ameer, Salman, and Zubair – went missing from their hostel in Model Town.

Baloch Students Action Committee (BSAC) Secretary General Azhar Baloch confirmed the incident, stating that the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) and Punjab Police conducted overnight raids on multiple student hostels in Dera Ghazi Khan.

This incident highlights the ongoing pattern of human rights abuses of Baloch in Pak-occupied Balochistan. Since the forceful annexation of the resource-rich province in 1948, reports of torture, intimidation, and enforced disappearances have been widespread. Pak Army’s “kill and dump” policy, where individuals are abducted, extrajudicially killed, and their bodies discarded, has left families in anguish and uncertainty.

The Pakistan Army is resorting to ruthless tactics, such as the kidnapping of Abdullah Saleh, Mairaj Khalid, Jamil Baloch, and Asif Baloch. Although they were called for negotiation at the DPO office, their whereabouts are still unknown. These actions by the Pakistan show their hostility towards the Baloch community.

The plight of the families is particularly heartbreaking. They stage protests, marches, and hunger strikes in desperate pleas for answers and justice. Young children, some with pictures of their missing fathers, brothers, and uncles, brave the harsh weather to join these demonstrations. These incidents are a stark reminder of the ongoing tragedy.

The long march against the Baloch genocide was because of the death of Balach Baloch, 24, during a CTD raid in Turbat on November 23rd. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back & led to sit-ins and protests and now Long March. Balach was picked up by the CTD on October 29th and fell victim to the Army’s “kill and dump” policy.

The protests and sit-ins arose from both a demand for justice for Baloch victims and a call for action against the perpetrators within the CTD, which has become a tool for the Army’s raids, abductions, and indiscriminate extrajudicial killings. Frustrated by the lack of progress, the Baloch Yakjahti Committee initiated the long march.

However, the Pakistan Army has not relented. A large number of protestors, including many women, were detained on 17th Dec, as they joined the march. Police also erected barricades to impede the progress. Despite the obstacles, the march continues, with Barkhan witnessing a significant outpouring of support before it reaches Dera Ghazi Khan, where further arrests have been reported.

As the march for justice winds its way towards Islamabad, the plight of the missing and the ongoing human rights violations in Pak-occupied Balochistan scream for an independent investigation.

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