Dec 29, 2023

Staff Report


Lahore

As the sit-in against enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of Baloch people enters its eighth day, protestors previously detained by the police have finally been released, as confirmed by Dr. Mahrang Baloch, prominent Baloch missing persons activist and the sit-in’s key spokesperson.

“Finally, the remaining 34 protesters have returned,” the Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC) said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Meanwhile, the BYC has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the government for negotiations to meet all its demands.

Demands of Baloch Protesters

In a press conference on Thursday, Dr. Mahrang Baloch demanded that a UN fact-finding mission be sent for a detailed probe into rights violations in Balochistan. “All victims of enforced disappearances should be immediately released and restrictions should be placed on the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD,” she added.

Dr. Mahrang also reiterated that the Ministry of Interior should confess to the alleged deaths of missing persons in fake encounters and a press conference should be held in this regard.

She further demanded that fake cases against all peaceful protesters be immediately withdrawn.

“If the government does not hold sincere talks on our demands and does not show seriousness, the movement will express its disappointment with all state institutions and put its case before the Baloch people. They would then be the ones to decide matters.”

 

Brutal use of force against Baloch protesters

The long march led by Baloch women started in Turbat on December 6 following the extrajudicial killing of a Baloch youth by Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) officials. It reached the federal capital on December 21. However, in a bid to stop them from reaching the national press club, Islamabad police launched a crackdown on the demonstrators and used brutal force.

 

The police action sparked severe criticism and condemnation from human rights groups, politicians and civil society activists. Many prominent people spoke out in solidarity.

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