‘1,101 Baloch missing since 1992’ – report of the Baloch Unity Conference in Karachi

Around 1,101 Baloch have gone missing since 1992, a leader of the Baloch Unity Conference (BUC) Majeed Baloch said at a seminar on the Case of Missing Persons of Balochistan held at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday. “This figure is based on cases which have been reported in the media. In reality, thousands of Baloch political activists, students, and common people have disappeared without any trace. Thousands others have been killed since the insurgency started in the province.” According to a report of the Asian Human Rights Commission, which has been published in a booklet form by the BUC, some 168 children and 148 women have disappeared from the province.

Majeed Baloch demanded that the government take immediate notice of the alarming situation and take steps for the recovery of missing persons. “The Baloch have always been deprived of their rights. Our people have been abducted without any reason, illegally detained and murdered. We demand an end to the atrocities and recovery of those missing.”

Justice Retired Wajihuddin Ahmed urged the Baloch people to approach the commission formed to deal with the cases of missing persons. “The Baloch should stage demonstrations and demand of the commission to take notice of their cases. The Baloch should elect those leaders who are sincere and devoted towards their struggle.” He said that the people of the province should ask for demographic guarantees from the government, demanding that no one would colonise the province. “Some countries have their eyes on the province which is rich in mineral and natural resources. In such times, the citizens should unite themselves and fight for their rights.” Tracing back the history of the province, he said that during the British rule, the Sardars did not work dedicatedly for the people, depriving them of basic amenities such as healthcare and education.

Human rights activist Iqbal Haider said that it was saddening that a majority of the missing persons are Baloch. He blamed the United States for the polarisations in the country, saying that they wanted to create disharmony amongst the people under a conspiracy.

Workers Party leader Yusuf Masti Khan said that the cause of the Baloch people could not be fought in isolation. “The struggle of the Baloch for their rights should not be in isolation. People are calling for independence but the path to freedom is not an easy one. By secluding oneself, no one can attain success. Therefore, the Baloch people should work with others and garner international and national support for their movement.”

Meanwhile, the participants, especially journalists, were stunned and offended when a Baloch intellectual bluntly criticised the media representatives for not highlighting the Baloch issues. Speaking during the seminar, Professor Saba Dashtiari said: “Today, journalists have become criminals. Their minds have become polluted and impure. Shaheed Ahbar Bugti had rightly said that journalists are dogs and they are just in want of bones.”

On this, a senior journalist, Nargis Khannum, approached the stage and asked the speaker to leave the stage. She said that the speaker was openly abusing journalists at their home, in the Karachi Press Club. However, the speaker kept on saying that that “Gundagardi” of journalists would be not tolerated. Retired Justice Wajiuddin Ahmed then intervened and controlled the situation, asking the journalists to stay calm and the speaker to focus on the topic. The media, however, did not boycott the event and the speaker was allowed to continue his speech.

Source: The News

‘Baloch should seek demographic guarantees from state’

By Razzak Abro

KARACHI: The Baloch struggling for their rights should seek demographic guarantees from the state instead of striving for separation, Justice (r) Wajihuddin Ahmed said at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Tuesday.

While addressing a seminar titled ‘The Case of Missing Persons of Balochistan’, Ahmed said, “In case Balochistan loses joint cover (being a federating unit in Pakistan), it would turn into a colony of international forces, which are already active in the region for their vested interests.”

The Baloch Unity Conference, a Karachi-based organisation, had organised the seminar in collaboration with the KPC, and invited politicians, lawyers and intellectuals from Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan. Ahmed, who had contested the presidential election against President Asif Ali Zardari, said the present time was the best for seeking the state’s guarantees while a Baloch was the head of the state.

Majority of the participants of the seminar, however, did not support his point of view, as they vocally disagreed with him.

He disagreed with Hamid Ali Khan and Ahmed Owais, former leaders of the lawyers’ bodies, who considered the missing persons’ issue of the whole country the same. The missing persons’ issue in other parts of the country is totally different from the case of the missing persons of Balochistan, as it is linked entirely with the ongoing war on terror, he said.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan leader Iqbal Haider expressed views similar to Ahmed’s and said Baloch’s struggle for separation could not be supported. He also criticised the establishment, saying that it should not have dissolved the previous governments of Baloch leaders Attaullah Mengal and Mir Ghous Bux Bizenjo. He said people from Sindh and Punjab were also among the missing persons. Speakers from Sindh and Balochistan, however, mostly agreed with each other on the issue of the missing Baloch and injustices done to the people of Balochistan.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s Maulana Asadullah Bhutto said ensuring safe return of the missing Baloch people was the responsibility of the state. He said Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry should take up the missing persons’ issue on top priority basis. All those who had supported the CJP in the movement for an independent judiciary are not satisfied with the speed of providing justice, he added.

Jeay Sindh Mahaz leader Abdul Khaliq Junejo said Balochistan’s issues could not be resolved in this system. He said the judiciary and political parliament could not do anything in this regard because all the state institutions were working to keep the system intact.

The programme’s organiser Majeed Baloch said all the democratic and progressive forces should come forward to support the movement of the Baloch’s rights.

Source: Daily Times



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