LONDON: Baloch activists protested outside 10 Downing Street here on Thursday evening to mark International Day of the Disappeared and to demand the release of Baloch political activists allegedly held in custody or executed without a trial.
Balochistan National Movement (BNM), International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (IVBMP), and Baloch Students Organisation-Azad organised the protest which was attended by around 50 protestors who carried placards calling for the release of “hundreds of missing persons” and raised slogans against the alleged human rights violations and the military operation. Similar protests were also held in Norway, Germany and Canada, according to the organisers.
Faiz Baloch, one of the protest organisers and Hyrbyair Marri’s political assistant, told The News that hundreds of Baloch nationalists have been abducted by the intelligence sleuths “for demanding independence, rights and equality for the Baloch people”.
“The forced abductions are continuing. The ‘kill and dump’ policy is in full force and thousands of people have become its victims. It’s unfortunate that we don’t see the condemnation that such crimes rightly deserve. We believe that it’s our moral duty to raise voice against the killings of Balochs and ask for help from anyone who has the courage to speak for the persecuted Balochs,” Faiz Baloch said during the protest.
Shahid Baloch of the BNM alleged that Zakir Majeed Baloch, senior vice chairman of BSO-Azad, was abducted by the agencies and his whereabouts are still unknown despite a lot of protest raised about his case. He said the protest in London was being organised to “show solidarity with families of the victims who are not getting justice”.
“Even Pakistan’s Supreme Court has acknowledged that forced disappearances are taking place and that it’s an illegal act but the court decisions are not being respected. Pakistani law enforcement agencies hold the real sway and they hold all the prisoners in detention centres. Those who are still alive must be released and answers must be provided about those who have already been killed and dumped.”
Abdullah Baloch, a speaker during the protest, claimed that “over 14,000” Balochs have been abducted and of these more than 500 have been killed in custody.These claims are unverified and although human rights organisations admit that rights abuses are taking place but there is no agreement on the exact number of the alleged missing and the killed.