May 10, 2023
By Maryam Missal
Friends and family of Javed Baloch, a school teacher and a graduate of Agriculture University Faisalabad, staged protests against the abduction of Javed Baloch in Faisalabad, Lahore, and other cities on Monday.
The Baloch Student Council (BSC) Faisalabad stated that Javed’s disappearance is not just an attack on an individual but yet another act of racial violence toward the Baloch community. Protestors said that the incident is an attempt by state elements to destroy the collective identity and ideologies of the Baloch.
According to a press release issued by the BSC Faisalabad, Javed Baloch has been a voice of the Baloch students and actively advocated for an end to the enforced disappearances of Baloch students and journalists. BSC Faisalabad representatives have stated that the organization and its allies do not accept policies that harm educational infrastructures, as education is the basic right of every individual.
Javed Baloch was picked up outside his workplace in Khuzdar City on the morning of May 4. His father, Bashir Ahmed Mengal, told Voicepk.net that Javed’s routine consisted of dropping off his younger brother and sister at school every morning before heading off to work with a colleague. Javed was employed as a salesman for a private fertilizer company.
On May 4, 9:30 AM, Javed and his colleague were waiting outside his cousin’s shop next to his workplace for a ride when three black Vigos arrived. It was reported that some 10 armed men, clad in black plainclothes and masks, stepped out of the vehicles and grabbed Javed.
One of the masked men confirmed Javed’s identity to the rest with gestures and dragged him to one of the vehicles. No warrants were presented to Javed when he was picked up, and his relatives and colleagues were unable to follow the vehicle.
“We were helpless”, said Bashir Ahmed. “We did not know what to do, we did not even know why it happened”.
He has yet to receive any information regarding his son’s whereabouts as of the filing of this report.
Bashir Ahmed further stated that he had tried to file a report the day of Javed’s disappearance, however, the police refused to register a first information report (FIR) until May 7, after much persistence by family members.
Who is Javed?
Javed had completed his Bachelors’s from the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad. During his student years, he was an active member of the Baloch Student Council (BSC) and also served as the council’s chairman before moving back to his hometown of Khuzdar.
After graduation, Javed taught chemistry at a private school in his hometown till April 30 and was hired as a salesman for a private fertilizer company on May 1.
Regarding the circumstances surrounding his abduction, his family posits that Javed had attended a rally against enforced disappearance.
“We suspect that he was abducted due to his support for missing Baloch persons,”
they shared with Voicepk.net.
Close friends of Javed say that he had a love and passion for the land he was born and raised in. According to his associates from BSC, his mission was to make education accessible to all.
Javed was seen carrying a placard at a protest last year that said, “Take away our arms and drugs, give us education”.
Human rights activist and lawyer, Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir, told Voicepk.net that “The disappearance of Javed is nothing new. It is a pattern of disappearances of Baloch students…there is complete impunity for these disappearances.”
When asked about the matter of the delayed FIR, she explained that it is a regular occurrence for families of victims of enforced disappearances and that afflicted families often reach out to the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COIED) for help and to seek justice under section 22-A of CrPC. According to the COIED, approximately 8,000 people were reported missing after forced disappearance since the inception of the commission. In 2022 alone, 69 students forcibly disappeared. The exact data about these abductions remains unclear.