Baloch students in Pakistan demand an end to kidnappings and disappearances : Peoples Dispatch

Disappearances of Baloch people are back in the headlines in Pakistan this week as students from the community have set up a sit-in camp outside Rawalpindi University of Arid Agriculture, demanding the release of Feroz Baloch, a 17-year-old student from Balochistan who was abducted from campus last month of the University. The symbolic hunger strike camp was set up to protest the harassment and racial profiling of Baloch students on university campuses across the country.

The development follows the release of Doda Ellahi and Ghamshad Baloch on June 14, the two Baloch students who were reportedly abducted from their homes earlier this month in the port city of Karachi.

The release of Ellahi and Baloch came after a massive outcry on social media over brutal police action against Balochi women and other peaceful protesters the previous day, June 13. Both were students at the University of Karachi and came from the Kech district in Balochistan.

The families of the two missing students had staged a peaceful sit-in outside the Karachi Press Club on the day of their abduction. Karachi police reportedly roughed up and arrested 28 protesters, including women, who were staging a protest outside the Sindh Assembly against the alleged kidnapping of the two.

According to videos shared on social media, many protesters were beaten with batons, while women were dragged and pushed into police vans. General Secretary of the Awami Workers’ Party (AWP), Khurram Aliand journalist Fawad Hazan, who also joined the protest to support the families in their cause, were also among those arrested.

Go to Twitter, Amnesty International called for the immediate release of the missing students and condemned the “excessive use of force”. The organization said that “violently cracking down on families demanding answers about the fate of their loved ones only compounds the cruelty of the heinous practice of enforced disappearances”.

Even after the recent regime change in Pakistan, there has been little respite for the families of missing Baluchi youth. On On May 24, as the Baloch Yakjehti Committee and the Voice of the Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) were going to jointly lead a Karachi Press Club protest rally at the house of the Chief Minister of Sindh to demand the release of the Baloch Missing Persons, the The Sindh government imposed Article 144, banning gatherings and political gatherings.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) issued a statement on its Twitter account expressing “concern over the continued harassment of Baloch students and women in Karachi”. The national body also said in strong terms that such incidents and intimidation of the Baloch people can make themfeel like strangers in their own countryinstead of resolving their grievances.

Attacks on Baloch students increase

In recent months, cases of enforced disappearances of Baloch students have increased across Pakistan.

In FebruaryHafeez Baloch, a student of Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) in Islamabad, was arrested by security forces in his hometown of Khuzdar. He was convicted of terrorism weeks after his detention without a first information report (FIR), and remains behind bars today.

Many believe that a large number of disappearances and attacks on Baloch men and women are based on suspicion linked to a suicide bombing at the University of Karachi on April 26, which was carried out by a Baloch woman identified as Shari Baloch.

Shortly after the explosionBebagar Imdada student from the National University of Modern Languages ​​(NUML) in Islamabad, was picked up from a hostel at the University of Punjab on April 27. Attack on the University of Karachi and was only released on May 10 after all charges against him were dropped.

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