November 20, 2023
By Xari Jalil and Aitzaz Ibrahim
On November 17, 2023, Sameer Baloch, a student of Baluchistan’s Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water & Marine Sciences (LUAWMS) was kidnapped by unknown persons in broad daylight at 12 pm near the university hostel.
The abduction took place as Sameer was advocating for better educational rights, improved hostel facilities, and a reduction in university fees.
However, Sameer’s abduction has not been the only one. On November 19, Sherdil Baloch, a Masters’ student in International Relations from National Defense University (NDU), Islamabad was forcibly disappeared from his house in Panjgur.
Wave of Disappearances
Once again a fresh wave of disappearances has hit Balochistan’s youth. Even before the abductions of Sameer Baloch and Sherdil Baloch on November 5, Hussain Baloch, a student, was forcibly disappeared from Karachi – an incident that was also taken up in Balochistan. Then on November 7, nine more individuals – mostly students – were also forcibly disappeared.
Among the nine victims, Beebagr Ikram, and Hamza Ikram, who are brothers, were abducted from Quetta. Two individuals were taken from Awaran, one from Tump, and two from Turbat. Two of the victims are a father and son, Akram and Qasim.
The Voice of Balochistan Missing Persons has released a statement regarding the recent abductions.
“We strongly condemn the surge in enforced disappearances in Balochistan. The abduction of Allah Dad Muslim from Gomazi on November 15, Duda Nasir from Pasni on the same day, Muslim Ali from Tump, Sameer Baloch from LUAWMS Uthal on November 17, Liaqat Saleh Muhammad from Khuzdar on the same day, and Liaqat Sakhi Dad from Kodask today, underscores a distressing pattern of human rights violations in the region.
It is particularly distressing to note that Liaqat Sakhi Dad’s family has already endured tragedy at the hands of death squads in 2012, and his father Sakhi Dad was brutally killed. This relentless targeting of individuals and families is not only an affront to basic human rights but also indicative of a deeply troubling escalation in state-sponsored repression.”
They called for immediate and transparent investigations into these incidents, demanding accountability for those responsible.
“We urge the international community to exert diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to cease these egregious violations and uphold the principles of human rights and justice. The people of Balochistan deserve to live without the constant threat of enforced disappearances, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure their safety and well-being.”
“The Counter Terrorism Department continues committing atrocious acts, staging fake encounters in Balochistan,” said the statement by the VBMP.
“Fake Deaths are being Staged”: Baloch Yekjehti Committee
“This week more than 15 dead bodies lay in the civil hospital quetta,” said Mahrang Baloch, a leading activist of the missing persons issue. She pointed out that the killing and dumping of missing persons was in no way new, nor had it ever stopped. However staging fake deaths for missing persons was entirely wrong, she said.
“Three missing persons were killed in a blast, which was orchestrated to look as if it was an accident,” she said. “However on inspection it was discovered their hands were tied. The car was stolen from some checkpost in Turbat and this was also announced in a press conference in Kech.”
Mahrang said it was a ‘horrible situation’ and the worst part was that the committee for missing persons was being led by a someone who himself was associated with death squads and other human rights violations. “I am talking about Sarfaraz Bugti,” she said. “He has been giving inauthentic statements about the situation in Balochistan since the first day. We don’t accept a committee he is leading. Because of people like him, the missing persons’ issue is being neglected.”
She said that a protest was held regarding these aspects first in Quetta and then on November 20in Kech, Turbat.
“Students came out with a genuine demand, to get laptops and some basic amenities,” she told Voicepk. “When the governor made an appearance, their demands were accepted. Later the police is sent and there is tear gas shelling. These are gross human right violations and sadly there is no proper solution that we can see within the parliament.”