Missing persons: Camped for 11 days, Baloch families wait for response

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ISLAMABAD: Little Mehlab Baloch has not seen her father for the past four years, after he was allegedly picked up by security forces from her house in Khuzdar.

The nine-year-old has been roaming from pillar to post in search of him ever since he disappeared on June 28, 2008. “I miss my father and don’t know whether he’s still alive,” she said, sitting beside a portrait of her father, Dr Din Muhammad Baloch, outside the National Press Club here on Thursday. She has been camping at the site, along with families of other missing persons from Balochistan, for the last 11 days.

Their protest, however, has mostly gone unnoticed — no one from the government came to talk to them. But these families, in their third phase of protest after setting up similar camps in Quetta and Karachi, are far from done.

“My father was a gentleman and a government servant. He was lifted from his office,” she said. She is unsure why he was taken away, guessing that his membership of the Balochistan National Movement was perhaps the reason for his ‘punishment’.

The youngest among her two sisters and a brother, she reached Islamabad along with the families of other missing persons led by Baloch Missing Persons Vice Chairperson Qadeer Baloch. “I came here to record the protest for our dear ones. I cannot go to school due to the troubling situation at home since my father is missing,” she said.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Baloch said that his son Khalil Ricky was abducted on June 13, 2009 and later his mutilated body was found on November 23, 2011. “There’s no way to talk with authorities and we are at the point of no return,” he said. “We have received enough bodies and don’t have the strength to receive more mutilated bodies of our dear ones,” he added.

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