Last Updated: January 28, 2024, 18:07 IST
Family members of missing or disappeared persons of the Baloch people hold portraits of their loved ones during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan. (Image: Reuters File)
Four days ago, hundreds of people turned out to greet Baloch as she returned to Quetta, the provincial capital, along with the participants of the protest march
Dr Mahrang Baloch, the woman who led a month-long sit-in protest to highlight the issue of police torture and missing persons in Pakistan’s Balochistan, has said a revolution was brewing in the troubled province.
In her address at the Shahwani Stadium in Quetta, the Baloch Yakjehti Committee leader on Saturday called the ongoing movement against enforced disappearance and operations a watershed moment, the Dawn newspaper reported.
At the gathering attended by thousands, including women, political workers and students from different areas of the province she said: Today, the participants have proved that they are with their mothers and sisters in their struggle for the recovery of their loved ones.”
Four days ago, hundreds of people turned out to greet Baloch as she returned to Quetta, the provincial capital, along with the participants of the protest march.
Baloch and the participants of the protest march, which started from Balochistan’s Turbat, garnered a lot of attention when it reached Islamabad.
The protest started after an alleged extrajudicial killing of Balaach Mola Bakhsh for which the Balochistan Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) was blamed by the protesters who had to face tear gassing, baton charges and shelling in Islamabad.
The protest later turned into a massive protest to end the enforced disappearances of students, political workers, and human rights defenders in Balochistan.
In Islamabad, the policemen pulled the veil (chadar) from the heads of our women and also tortured them, she told the people gathered to welcome her and added those who were in the protest march still didn’t give up.
We proudly hold our heads high because of you, she said while referring to the charged crowd.
The protest leader added that the people of Balochistan had been raising their voices for the last 75 years against the atrocities and injustices committed by the state.
While criticising the government, she said those in power were deaf and dumb who do not listen to the people.
They have weapons, but we dare to continue our struggle against the atrocities and injustices, she said, vowing that the movement would continue and they would not abandon it. The gathering carries the fragrance of the revolution, which was a dream of the martyrs’.
“The movement which originated in Turbat after the injustice done to Balaach and his family has now become the voice of all oppressed Baloch people, she said.
She added her movement was for the survival of Balochistan’, and she will continue to defend it. Mama Qadeer Baloch, a veteran campaigner for the recovery of missing persons, Sammi Deen Baloch, Sibghatullah Shahjee and others also addressed the event, which continued for several hours.
Resource-rich Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest but least populated province, has been wrecked by a long-running separatist insurgency which has seen brutal repression by Pakistani security forces and enforced disappearances.
In November last year, interim Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar admitted that according to a UN sub-committee estimate, around 50 people disappeared in Balochistan.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)
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