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Fifteen Years After the Enforced Disappearance of Zakir Majeed Baloch

Mahrang Baloch called forced disappearances a “serious crime” and accused the state of Pakistan of being involved in the “forced disappearance” of thousands of Baloch people.
Mahrang Baloch called forced disappearances a “serious crime” and accused the state of Pakistan of being involved in the “forced disappearance” of thousands of Baloch people.

QUETTA: On June 8, fifteen years after the enforced disappearance of student leader Zakir Majeed Baloch, his family, along with the families of other disappeared Baloch individuals, held a protest at the Press Club in Quetta.

The protesters demanded justice for Zakir Majeed Baloch, who was forcibly disappeared from Mastung on June 8, 2009.

During the protest, Zakir’s mother tearfully remembered her son. She said, “The state kidnapped Zakir. What was his crime? I still don’t know. Is there no law in Pakistan that can help a desperate mother who has knocked on every door of justice?”

She further urged the Baloch community to stand in solidarity with the affected families’ mothers and sisters.

Addressing her son, Zakir’s mother said, “I stand with your colleagues. I stand firm for your cause.”

It should be remembered that Zakir Majeed Baloch was one of the leaders of the Baloch Students Organization Azad. He was arrested and disappeared by Pakistani intelligence agencies from Padangabad in the Mastung district 15 years ago.

Zakir Majeed Baloch’s sister, Farzana Majeed Baloch, was one of the organizers of the longest march in the history of Balochistan, from Quetta to Karachi and then from Karachi to Islamabad, for the recovery of her brother and thousands of other enforced disappeared Baloch individuals.

Several other family members of the disappeared Baloch also attended the protest to express their support and solidarity with Zakir’s mother and to tell their ordeal to the world.

The family of Sanaullah, who was forcibly disappeared from Quetta, demanded that Sanaullah be brought to the public. “Tell us whether he is alive or dead, and if he is guilty, present him to a court of justice according to the law of the land.

We don’t want more extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances,” said a family member.

Similarly, Saira Baloch, the sister of the missing Asif, paid tribute to all those who endured torture instead of surrendering to the oppressive state.

“It is the courage and determination of Zakir’s mother and sister that inspired us to stand against state violence,” she said.

She added that despite the negative attitude of Pakistani forces, who mock the family members of the disappeared Baloch, “we will continue our fight for justice and the recovery of our loved ones.”

The family of Mehrgul Marri also joined the protest in Quetta, demanding his release. Marri was abducted around a decade ago, and his family has not heard from him since.

Mahzaib Baloch, the niece of abducted Rashid Hussain, stated that Zakir’s enforced disappearance and those of thousands of other missing Baloch people are a disgrace to the state and its law.

“The state has never recognized the Baloch as its citizens, and this was evident from its brutal stance on December 21, 2023, when we faced a tormenting crackdown in Islamabad,” she added.

She concluded with the message that the state of Pakistan is abducting and killing the sons of our land, but we must make our generations aware of the state’s violence and unmask its brutal face.

Meanwhile, Nasrullah Baloch, Chairman of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), reported that information about the enforced disappearance of Farooq Sakhi had been provided by his family to VBMP.

Farooq Sakhi, son of Sakhi Dad Baloch, was forcibly disappeared by the forces on May 28 this year, along with five other friends from City Arif Plaza Bruri Road Shall. The other five individuals were later recovered, but Farooq Sakhi remains missing, and his family is suffering severe mental agony due to the lack of information about him.

The Chairman assured the family that VBMP would raise Farooq Sakhi’s case at every forum and work for his safe recovery. Nasrullah Baloch demanded that the government bring any allegations against Farooq Sakhi to court and, if he is innocent, release him as soon as possible to relieve his family of mental anguish.

 

It should be noted that enforced disappearances of Baloch individuals have increased in Balochistan for a long time. Over 50 people have been forcibly disappeared in Dera Bugti alone by the Pakistani Army and secret agencies.

Nasrullah Baloch emphasized that enforced disappearances are a crime against humanity, and this crime is being continuously committed by Pakistani forces in Balochistan. The silence of human rights organizations on enforced disappearances in Balochistan is tantamount to complicity in this crime against humanity.

He added that Zakir Majeed Baloch has been missing since June 8, 2009, and his elderly mother is still fighting to recover her son despite her illness and old age.

The family of enforced disappearance victim Anis Baloch held a protest at the Karachi-Quetta highway on Sunday. They raised the demand for the safe return of the abducted student, prominent Baloch activist Mahrang Baloch said.

Mahrang Baloch called forced disappearances a “serious crime” and accused the state of Pakistan of being involved in the “forced disappearance” of thousands of Baloch people.

In a post on X, Mahrang Baloch stated, “Khuzdar: The families of Enforced Disappearance victim Anis Baloch staged a dharna at the public pump on the Karachi-Quetta highway and demand only the recovery of Anis Baloch. Forced disappearances are a serious crime all over the world, but the state of Pakistan is involved in the forced disappearances of thousands of Baloch people and it is intensifying day by day. I appeal to the people of Khuzdar to be the voice of the family of Anis Baloch and reach the dharna in large numbers and stand by the family until the recovery of Anis Baloch.”

 

In another post on X, Mahrang Baloch mentioned that Hanif Baloch, a gold medalist at Bhawalpur University had forcibly disappeared from Barkhan. She stated that Hanif Baloch’s brother Saeed Baloch, a student of Punjab University, was also reported missing after he was summoned to Lahore and detained illegally.

Taking to X, Mahrang Baloch stated, “Forced disappearances of Baloch students have intensified. Gold medalist Hanif Baloch from Bhawalpur University has been forcibly disappeared from his native Barkhan while his brother Saeed Baloch, a student of Punjab University, has gone missing after being summoned from Lahore and illegally detained.”

“Enforced disappearances are playing the role of a cancer for the Baloch society, swallowing our whole society, no person, home and area is safe from it and it is a dangerous form of Baloch genocide. Staying silent at home against Baloch genocide is not an option, rather we can stop it only through public resistance struggle,” she added.

 

Meanwhile, at least 20 people were injured due to clashes between protesters and Pakistani security forces continued for a third consecutive day in Balochistan’s Chaman on Friday, The Balochistan Post reported on Saturday.

The violence erupted as security forces tried to disperse protesters gathered outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office. Protesters accused the Levies, police, and Frontier Corps of using tear gas and other forceful measures against them.

Authorities said that 45 people have been arrested and accused them of damaging public and private property and targeting security officials during the protests, The Balochistan Post reported.

The unrest has resulted in the closure of business centres, government offices, and the Quetta-Chaman highway. Banks have also remained closed for several days due to the ongoing violence.

Participants of the protest expressed frustration over the continued detention of their leaders. The protesters said, “More than 48 hours have passed, and the leaders arrested from the protest in Chaman have yet to be presented in any court.”

The protesters spoke about the absence of the Deputy Commissioner and other district officers, in the office for three days. They slammed the provincial and central governments for not holding talks or trying to negotiate with them.

Protest leaders have committed to continue their protest until their demands are met. They stated that the movement would continue until the previous border-crossing norms were reinstated and all arrested leaders and individuals taken into custody were released, according to The Balochistan Post report.

Initially, the protests began after the government imposed stringent passport and visa requirements at the border. Previously, Pakistanis and Afghans could cross the border with their respective identity cards. The new regulations, aimed at curbing illegal activities, have left thousands unemployed in Chaman, the report said.

The protesters have demanded that previous border-crossing norms be reinstated and highlighted the effect of the new regulations on families and tribes who are divided by the border and depend on frequent crossings for their daily lives.

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