September 2, 2023
Balochistan-based civil society is demanding the immediate release of a woman and her two minor children who were abducted on August 28 allegedly by security forces. Noor Khatoon, along with her two minor children – daughter Baanri and son Abdul Ghaffar – were staying at a hotel in Quetta when some people belonging to the law enforcement agencies burst into their room and took them away forcibly. No trace of them has been known since then. Thirty-year-old Noor Khatoon is a resident of Sibbi, and had come to Shaal for treatment, according to information, she had been suffering from a heart condition as well as undergoing an ear operation.
Speaking to Voicepk.net, Nasrullah Baloch, Chairman of the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) said that it was extremely shameful that an innocent person was suffering the result of choices made by someone else.
“Her husband was affiliated with militant Baloch organizations and therefore they targeted her, but it is very wrong,” he said. “Noor and her innocent children were disappeared on the basis of collective punishment which is a serious violation of human rights. We consider it an attack on Baloch identity and honour.”
Baloch said that they could not punish her or her little children for something her husband has done.
“If her husband has committed a crime, then he took should be brought to a free and fair trial…this is what we have been trying to say for years now.”
Social media users began posting under the hashtag of #SaveBalochwomen as soon as the news got out.
She is Banadi Baloch from Balochistan’s Sibbi district. On August 28, she was illegally arrested-cum-detained by forces from the United Hotel Quetta along with her minor brother of almost 7 years and mother. Is she also a terrorist?#ReleaseNoorHatoonAndHerChildren pic.twitter.com/W9o7FaiP8J
— Ali Jan Maqsood (@Alijanmaqsood12) September 1, 2023
Nasrullah said that Noor was being accompanied by her husband’s brother who had gone outside for some time when this happened. “The provincial government must take notice of this and Noor Khatoon and her children must be brought back.
The Constitution of the country does not allow this. His crimes must be made public. The VBMP also confirmed that there was another care case when a woman had been picked up. The incident took place in February 2023, when Rasheeda Bibi was abducted. Around 11 days later, she was handed over to her father.
“When I spoke to her she was scared and was crying,” he said. “She cried even more when they showed a photo of her husband…lying in the dungeons.
In this regard, the VBMP will be holding a protest demonstration demanding all of these rights at 3 pm, outside the Quetta Press Club on Sunday, September 3.
نور خاتون اور انکے دو بچوں کی جبری گمشدگی اور لاپتہ غلام فاروق زہری کی ماورائے آئین قتل کے خلاف @VBMP5 کے زیر اہتمام 3 ستمبر بروز اتوار 3 بجے کوئٹہ پریس کلب کے سامنے احتجاج کیا جائے گا سیاسی پارٹیوں اور طلباء تنظیمیں سمیت کوئٹہ کے باشعور لوگوں سےاحتجاج میں شرکت کی اپیل کرتے ہیں pic.twitter.com/tDIL846GRH
— VBMP (@VBMP5) September 1, 2023
Meanwhile, sources told Voicepk.net that Noor Khatoon’s family was exiled out of the country in 1992. When they did return, they faced several issues. Security forces raided their homes and several family members from various households were forcibly disappeared.
Noor Khatoon’s family also faced similar circumstances. Many of her relatives were picked up in 2008, said Mama Qadeer. “A family member Mazar Khan son of Gohram, was forcibly disappeared and is still missing.”
He is also included in the VBMP’s list of enforced disappearances.
“Arif son of Saidan, Yusuf son of Bangal were also related to this family who were extra-judicially killed and dumped after a month of enforced disappearance. Noor Alam son of Dilshad has been missing since 2016. Aarad Muhammad son of Pir Muhammad was targeted and killed in Afghanistan while living as a migrant.”
Mama Qadeer, in an official statement said that the arrest and forced disappearance of Noor Khatoon Baloch, along with her children was a very serious violation of human rights. He said the family had been subjected enough to forced disappearances for a long time.
“It is clear from the state atrocities on this family that the state is also subjecting Noor Khatoon and her children to torture as well,” he said. “The LEAs are violating human rights by giving security reasons, but in actuality arresting women and children like this, and torturing them would only serve to increase anxiety in Balochistan and the situation of human rights would only worsen.”
Meanwhile Sadia Baloch, from the Baloch Yekjehti Committee says that women are now increasingly being targeted when it comes to show of power and collective punishment.
“Now they are pressurizing women to get answers or information,” she said to Voicepk. “But besides this they are targeting women from families who are political or who have been political in the past. For example in the case of Mahal Baloch, her father-in-law was once an active political worker. In the case of Summaya Baloch who was abducted from Turbat, it was more of a power show to show intimidation towards the family.”
Forced disappearances of Baloch women are a grave violation of human rights and a policy of collective punishment by the state.
— Mahrang Baloch (@MahrangBaloch_) August 31, 2023
Pakistan’s brutal policy towards Balochistan has escalated, with enforced disappearances occurring on a regular basis. The abduction of Noor Khatoon and her children by the Pakistani military in Quetta Balochistan is a gruesome act. The international community must pay attention. https://t.co/IGC4zrH7dJ pic.twitter.com/rNBP1KOIHa
— DrNaseemBaluch (@DrNaseemBaluch) August 31, 2023