International Day of Disappeared: Baloch families demand release of their loved ones

Thursday, August 31st, 2017 01:05 am


KARACHI: The relatives of enforced disappeared people from Balochistan held a press conference at Karachi press club on the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances and demanded the immediate release of their loved ones currently held by Pakistani forces at their secret military dungeons.

Sammi Baloch, a daughter of abducted Dr Deen Mohammad Baloch, flanked by families of student leader Zahid Baloch and Shabir Baloch has criticised local human rights groups for their silence on enforced disappearances in Balochistan. “The state machinery is directly involved in the abduction of Baloch dissidents that is why the rights bodies tend to ignore the issue of enforced disappearances in Baloch,” she said.

Ms Sammi’s father has been abducted 8 years ago on 28 June 2009 from a government hospital in Ornach area of Khuzdar Balochistan.

Addressing the media at KPC she said, “Today the entire world is commemorating the International Day of the victims of Disappearances and the United Nations on this day renews its pledge to play its role to stop enforced disappearances around the world. But for me and rest of the family of abducted Baloch, the words of UN are meaningless until the UN plays its role for the release of our loved ones from the custody of its member state – Pakistan.”

She said student leader Zahid Baloch has been abducted four years ago on 18 March 2014 whereas Shabir Baloch was abducted on 14 October 2016 and their whereabouts and fate like thousands of other enforced disappeared people in Balochistan remains unknown.

She said the family of above-mentioned actives including herself used all peaceful and democratic venues to secure the release of their relatives but neither Pakistani judiciary nor any other department provided them justices.

She appealed the United Nation to act on its promises with regards to enforced disappearances. “We got nothing but disappointment for our repeated visits of Pakistani court and now we do not expect our loved ones get justice in Pakistani courts. We hope that International Human Rights institutions will play their role for the release of Baloch political leaders and activists to make their release possible.”

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistani forces have abducted thousands of Baloch – estimated more than 20,000 Baloch, from different areas of Balochistan since the year 2001. Balochistan based human rights groups say that at least 5,000 abducted Baloch have been killed in-custody by Pakistan forces and their mutilated tortured dead bodies were found on roadsides and desolated areas across Balochistan.

In January 2014, at least three mass graves containing more than 60 human remains were found in Tootak area of Khuzdar. Baloch pro-independence groups said that the mass graves were of the previously abducted Baloch activists. However, Pakistani forces quickly took over the area where the mass graves were found and hurriedly buried the remain found from there in an attempt to conceal what Baloch activists call ‘state crimes against humanity’ in Balochistan.

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