August 8th, 2021
By Hamid Riaz & Hassan Raza
It has been 12 years since Sami Deen’s father Dr. Deen Muhammad Baloch was forcibly abducted from his government allotted residence in Khuzdar, Balochistan. A physician employed at a government hospital Dr. Deen was part of the central committee of the Balochistan National Movement (BNM), an ethno-nationalist political movement working for securing rights for Pakistan’s marginalized Baloch minority group. “It was around 1 am when a convoy of cars stopped outside the public hospital in Khuzdar. Dozens of plainclothesmen and Frontier Core (FC) personnel stepped out of the vehicles and abducted my father in front of the hospital’s security guard,” recalls Sami Deen Baloch.
The move to Karachi
Right after her father’s abduction Sami Deen, following in her father’s footsteps, left the security of her home to raise her voice for the release of her father and hundreds of other Baloch missing persons. Soon after the same people who picked up Sami’s father started threatening her with dire consequences if she did not stop demanding her fathers’ release. “My area Mashakay, Balochistan is what you would call a war-torn region,” she says. “There has been a general sense of insecurity in the area and on top of that my family and I started receiving death threats from certain quarters, for this reason, my mother decided that we should leave Balochistan and move to Karachi, which she thought would be a much safer city,” continues Sami.
But life in Karachi was not as safe as Sami had imagined it to be. Soon after shifting to Karachi she participated in her first long March to Islamabad to demand her fathers’ release and life instantly became tough once again right after the long march. “The authorities picked up my uncles and other relatives and threatened them with dire consequences if I did not back down. I was told that if I did not keep quiet I too will disappear like my father. They told me your family is already suffering from one such tragedy, dont force another tragedy upon them,” she reveals.
Recent spyware attack
While describing a recent event Sami explains that one morning she received a text message from someone claiming to be a representative of an international human rights organization. The person asked her to fill out a form to seek help from the said international organization for the release of her father. Sami later found out that the person was in fact an imposter. When she called him out he resorted to threatening her. Sami speculates that this person was also involved in a phone snatching she was subjected to around two months ago. When she contacted Amnesty International regarding the episode the international organization confirmed that she was the victim of a spyware attack aimed at intimidating her and getting access to her personal information.
Meeting with the Prime Minister
Last year in December Sami Baloch took part in a protest camp in Islamabad organized by an organization called the voice for (Baloch) missing persons. After days of demonstrating the protestors were informed by the Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari that Prime Minister Imran Khan would meet them if and only if they ended their protest camp immediately. The helpless Baloch families complied. 20 days after the end of the sit-in the families were called to Islamabad for a meeting with the PM. “I begged the PM to look into the case of my father, I begged him for my father’s return, I begged him for my family’s happiness. He assured us that he will do everything in his power to ensure the safe return of our families. We were overjoyed but up until now 12 out of the 13 families still wait for the return of their loved ones. Only Haseeba Qambrani has seen her brothers return the rest are still waiting,” she concludes.