Aaj English TV

Wednesday, June 19, 2024  
12 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Mahrang Baloch demands UN committee investigation into enforced disappearances

Adds that the government committee is unacceptable as many have been formed before

Baloch rights activist Mahrang Baloch has demanded that a United Nations fact-finding committee should be allowed to probe enforced disappearances in Balochistan. She also rejected the government’s committee over the issue.

Speaking in SpotLight on Aaj News from outside the press club in Islamabad, Mahrang Baloch said that almost 100 students have still not been released and lawyers were working to get them out of custody.

She added that Dr Zaheer Baloch, a scholar at the Quaid-e-Azam university in Islamabad, was caught on video being taken into custody and being separated from other protestors. However, Dr Baloch has still not been presented in any court, she added.

She added that many protestors who were still in custody were relatives of missing persons. She mentioned the name of Fasih Baloch, the brother of Usman Baloch who had been abducted from Balochistan University.

Mahrang Baloch said that the Islamabad police had misstated facts by saying that no woman had been arrested but videos had shown otherwise.

She added that parents in Balochistan had spent their hard-earned money on sending their children to university but they were now in custody.

Baloch said that the protestors accompanying her were saying that the men they were protesting for had not been released, instead more had been taken in custody.

Regrading Tuesday’s incident, Mahrang Baloch said that the men who snatched away the sound system had actually come to harass the protestors.

She said that the protest was surrounded by cameras but as soon as they are shut down, the protest camp is attacked.

Mahrang said that the man had probably snatched up the sound system in frustration after his attempts to harass the protestors was resisted. She added that police said they did not have power to act against the man.

She added that it was the same police which had stopped the march from happening and had tried to stop the march for its own security.

The activist confirmed that the women who the police had reportedly tried to move out of the city on buses were still on the protest site and more people from different areas of Balochistan were joining them.

Mahrang Baloch said that the Baloch protest would not stop here and would continue to gain steam.

Demands

When asked about her demands, Baloch said that the issue had been raging on in Balochsitan for decades amid a media blackout. She added that state institutions were unable to impose law in the province.

She demanded that a United Nations fact-finding committee be sent to Balochistan to take ntoice of the human rights violations there.

Baloch said that UN’s working group on enforced disappearances had been asking for access to Balochistan for many years but had not been allowed to enter the province.

She said that the second and main demad of the protestors was that the extra-judicial killings and death squads must end.

Baloch said that the protestors did not accept the formation of the government’s committee. She said she had been saddened by the government’s view that they could not take responsibility of disappearances older than a decade.

She said that there were no minor demands that could be fulfilled to end the protest and all conditions must be met as they were genuine issues. She added that many committees had been formed on the issue but had not come to anything.

Minister says protestors should come back

Balochistan’s caretaker Interior Minister Zubair Jamali agreed that it would have been better if the matter had been handled in Turbat. He said that the FIR had eventually been registered and CTD officials suspended which could have been done sooner as well.

He added that the protestors should still come back to Balochistan where the old committee on missing persons could be made functional.

Jamali said that the protestors came back committee would finalise its recommendations within a week. He said that whoever was found guilty in the Turbat incident would be punished.

In response to question on why people were still disappearing under his watch, he said that the missing persons issue was completely wrong thing and should not exist.

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Balochistan

enforced disappearances

Mahrang Baloch