17th December 2021

By Ayesha Mir



ISLAMABAD

“Please help me find my missing brothers. I am exhausted now trying to fight alone. I want justice! If they don’t have them, then please tell me where they are. Bring them to court – why do I have to tell them again and again that I am a citizen of this country too… I respect the law of the land, the country’s Constitution. I am also a Muslim girl from your own land. Why does no one listen to me, see me cry?  I have come all the way to Islamabad from Balochistan to get justice. Not because just my brother is missing but because all the missing persons should be given justice.”

Haseeba Qambrani’s painful, heart rending speech went viral on Tuesday morning, after she gave an interview to Voicepk.net. Haseeba already lost one brother, Salman, who was brutally abducted and murdered. Now she begs for the release of her other brother Hassan and cousin Hizbullah Qambrani.

Haseeba is one of the many people who have come to this camp in Islamabad, to call for the release of Baloch missing persons. Some of them have been missing since decades now. The numbers vary. although Baloch activists say they run in thousands. But the Balochistan government disputes the figure.

One of the many leaders of the camp is Nasrullah Baloch who was himself a victim of abduction in 2017. Later in 2001, his uncle Ali Asghar Bangulzai was abducted after which he formed the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VMBP), a human rights organisation striving for the safe release of all abducted Baloch.

On Monday, February 15, Baloch addressed many issues of the Baloch missing persons and their families in a press conference. He said that the current government had already released 320 people from a total list of 590 missing persons from Balochistan.

“Although this is a positive development, the State should not needlessly extend the mental anguish of the remaining families,” he said.

It has been a week since the Baloch missing persons’ camp has launched a hunger strike outside the Islamabad Press Club against the enforced disappearances of their loved ones. The press conference marked five days. Tragically, not much media attention has been given to them, even though they at least managed to get some coverage from mainstream news outlets.

Families of missing persons, including women and children, travelled to Islamabad to call upon the government and the Prime Minister for justice, and to urge them to help recover their fathers, brothers and husbands, even if it meant presenting them before a court for a legal trial. Needless to say, most of those who protest are women, because the men of their families have been abducted.

Sammi Baloch, the daughter of Din Mohammad Baloch was also present in the camp. She has been protesting ever since her father was abducted in 2009 from a government hospital. He has been missing since. She says that they have protested outside the press clubs of Quetta, Karachi and Islamabad but all in vain. So now they have come to Islamabad again to be part of the camp.

“I urge all people, to visit and take part in this camp. You must support us to help release missing persons,” she said. The camp was being held from morning to 6 PM.

Previous Figures

Nasrullah Baloch had quoted figures of missing persons back in June 2019 as well. He had said that VBMP had given a list of 365 missing persons to the provincial government and from those only 103 had returned to their homes so far this year.

In comparison, the home minister of Balochistan, Zia Langove had given higher numbers saying that around 200 missing persons had returned since January 2019, adding that the number of missing persons was not in the thousands.

When the PTI government had come into power, the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) had signed a six-point agreement with them following negotiations. One of these points included the recovery of missing persons.

Langove had said that VBMP had given the government a list of 250 missing people and that the Commission on Enforced Disappearances had been hearing 40 missing persons’ cases as well.

Meeting with Commission Chairman

While the missing persons’ camp has been in Islamabad, their representatives have also met with Chair of the Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, as well as Chair of the Commission for Missing Persons Justice Javed Iqbal.

According to figures provided by the National Commission for Missing Persons, 4,822 cases were disposed by January 31, 2021; meanwhile 2,122 persons continue to be missing according to the commission’s own figures. Last month, 290 persons from Balochistan were returned to their homes and families.

Speaking to the families, Justice Javed Iqbal said that he would try and visit Quetta as soon as he could to look into the cases of the missing persons of Balochistan.

He also added that the Commission had been conducting personal hearings in the federal and provincial offices.

The protesters also expressed their wish to meet the Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to prove that they were not separatists, but were only demanding justice for their families. They said that Prime Minister Imran Khan must live up to his promise of ending enforced disappearances in Pakistan.

The families demands are the same: if their loved ones are alive and are accused of crimes, they should be presented in court, or released if they are innocent. If they are dead, their bodies be handed over to their families for proper burial.

But after a lack of response from the government, the camp announced a rally from Islamabad Press Club to D-Chowk on Tuesday, February 16.

Meanwhile Mohsin Dawar from the Pashtun Tahaffuz movement (PTM) also took part in the camp and sat down with the protesters.

“We will not stay silent against this issue,” he said while he was there. “The Pashtun people are standing in solidarity with the Baloch families on this matter.”

“Please help me find my missing brothers. I am exhausted now trying to fight alone. I want justice! If they don’t have them, then please tell me where they are. Bring them to court – why do I have to tell them again and again that I am a citizen of this country too…I respect the law of the land, the country’s constitution. Im also a Muslim girl from your own land. Why does no one listen to me, see me cry? I have come all the way to Islamabad from Balochistan, to get justice. Not because just my brother is missing but because all the missing persons should be given justice.”

Haseeba Qambrani’s painful, heart rending speech went viral on Tuesday morning, after she gave an interview to Voicepk.net. Haseeba already lost one brother, Salman, who was brutally abducted and murdered. Now she begs for the release of her other brother Hassan and cousin Hizbullah Qambrani.

Haseeba is one of the many people who have come to this camp in Islamabad, to call for the release of Baloch missing persons. Some of them have been missing since decades now. The numbers vary, although Baloch activists say they run in thousands, but the Balochistan government disputes the figure.

One of the many leaders of the camp, is Nasrullah Baloch who was himself a victim of abduction in 2017. Later in 2001, his uncle Ali Asghar Bangulzai was abducted after which he formed the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VMBP), a human rights organisation striving for the safe release of all abducted Baloch.

On Tuesday, Baloch addressed many issues of the Baloch missing persons and their families in a press conference. Most important he gave some important numbers.

He said that the current government had already released 320 people from a total list of 590 missing persons from Balochistan.

“Although this is a positive development, the State should not needlessly extend the mental anguish of the remaining families,” he said.

It has been five days since the Baloch missing persons’ camp has launched a hunger strike outside the Islamabad Press Club against the enforced disappearances of their loved ones. The press conference marked those five days. Tragically, not much media attention has been given to them, even though they at least managed to get some coverage from main news outlets.

Families of missing persons, including women and children, travelled to Islamabad to call upon the government and the Prime Minister for justice, and to urge them to help recover their fathers, brothers and husbands, even if it meant presenting them before a court for a legal trial. Needless to say, most of those who protest are women, because the men of their families have been abducted.

Sammi Baloch, the daughter of Din Mohammad Baloch was also present in the camp. She has been protesting ever since her father was abducted in 2009 from a government hospital. He has been missing since. She says that they have protested outside the press clubs of Quetta, Karachi and Islamabad but all in vain. So now they have come to Islamabad again to be part of the camp.

“I urge all people, to visit and take part in this camp. You must support us to help release missing persons,” she said. The camp was being held from morning to six pm.

Previous Figures

Nasrullah Baloch had quoted figures of missing persons back in June 2019 as well. He had said that VBMP had given a list of 365 missing persons to the provincial government and from those only 103 had returned to their homes so far this year.

In comparison, the home minister of Balochistan, Zia Langove had given higher numbers saying that around 200 missing persons had returned since January 2019 adding that the number of missing persons was not in the thousands.

When the PTI government had come into power, the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) had signed a six-point agreement with them following negotiations. One of these points included the recovery of missing persons.

Langove had said that VBMP had given the government with a list of 250 missing people and that the Commission on Enforced Disappearances had been hearing 40 missing persons’ cases as well.

Meeting with Commission Chairman

While the Missing Persons’ Camp has been in Islamabad, their representatives have also met with Chairman of the Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, as well as Chairman of the Commission for Missing Persons, Justice Javed Iqbal.

According to figures provided by the National Commission for Missing Persons 4,822 cases were disposed by January 31, 2021; meanwhile 2,122 persons continue to be missing according to the commission’s own figures. Last month, 290 persons from Balochistan alone were found to have returned to their homes.

Speaking to the families, the National Commission for Missing Persons Chairman Justice Javed Iqbal said that he would try and visit Quetta as soon as he could to look into the cases of the missing persons of Balochistan.

He also added that the commission had been conducting personal hearings in the federal and provincial offices.

The protesters also expressed their wish to meet the Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to prove that they were not separatists, but were only demanding justice for their families. They said that PM Imran Khan must live up to his promise of ending enforced disappearances in Pakistan.

The families demands are the same: if their loved ones are alive and are accused of crimes, they should be presented in court, or released if they are innocent. If they are dead, their bodies be handed over to their families for proper burial.

But after a lack of response from the government, the camp announced a rally from Islamabad Press Club to D-Chowk on Tuesday, February 16.

Meanwhile Mohsin Dawar from the Pashtun Tahaffuz movement (PTM) also took part in the camp and sat down with the protesters.

“We will not stay silent against this issue,” he said while he was there. “The Pushtun people are standing in solidarity with the Baloch families on this matter.”

On day two of the D-Chowk sit-in, Vice-President of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) Maryam Nawaz sat with the protesters in solidarity and took note of the grievances of those families whose loved ones have yet to return.

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