Relatives of abducted Baloch appeal to the UN for justice

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ISLAMABAD: Relatives of people missing from Balochistan appealed to the United Nations on Saturday to help them get justice.

At a protest organised by the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) in front of the National Press Club, they demanded accountability for the killings in the province and slammed the government’s stance on the Balochistan quagmire, which “almost always blames a mythical foreign hand”.

The protest was led by VBMP’s Vice-Chairperson Qadeer Rekki (Jalil Rekki’s father, who was murdered some months ago) and Farzana Majid (sister of abducted Baloch Students Organisation (BSO) Chairperson Zakir Majeed). Scores of students, political workers and intellectuals also participated in the protest.

The protesters said the government was warned that indifference to the cause of more than 14,000 missing Baloch youth would result in a permanent rupture between the Baloch and the state. They said the protest will continue until the apex court issues a judgement in the Baloch missing persons’ case.

They were carrying placards inscribed with “Baloch rights are also human rights” and “We want freedom”. They also chanted slogans such as “Balochistan mein jo dehshatgardi hai, us ke pechay wardi hai” (officials are behind the terrorism in Balochistan) and “Stop sectarianism in Balochistan.”

Rekki told The Express Tribune they have been protesting for the past 767 days and this is the third time in two years that they have come to Islamabad. “All our hopes have been dashed and we are not looking towards the government for justice anymore. The democratic government only knows target killing, loot, plunder and abductions so how can it feel our pain.”

He added very few abducted Baloch youth had came back alive, while more than 400 mutilated bodies have been found across Balochistan.

Bramch Baloch, a girl who was taking the lead in chanting slogans, said, “I was born after my father was taken. I grew up without ever seeing him or holding him. I just want him back…I want to hug him.”

She believes he was abducted by the intelligence agencies. “My three sisters and one brother have quit their studies after this incident. Now my brother works as a labourer and my mother has started sewing to earn money,” she said.

Mehlab Baloch, 9, said she badly misses her father who was a doctor. “I remember how we used to have dinner together and how he used to crack jokes.” She said life has become terribly difficult without him — her mother has fallen ill and her brother who is just 17 had to quit his studies and start working as a labourer to make ends meet.