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Balochistan: Family of ‘forcibly disappeared’ student organize protest for his safe return

Family of enforced disappearance victim Anis Baloch hold a protest at the Karachi-Quetta highway (Screengrab of video posted by Mahrang Baloch on X)

The family of enforced disappearance victim Anis Baloch held a protest at the Karachi-Quetta highway on Sunday. They raised the demand for the safe return of the abducted student, prominent Baloch activist Mahrang Baloch said.

Mahrang Baloch called forced disappearances a “serious crime” and accused the state of Pakistan of being involved in the “forced disappearance” of thousands of Baloch people.

In a post on X, Mahrang Baloch stated, “Khuzdar: The families of Enforced Disappearance victim Anis Baloch staged a dharna at the public pump on the Karachi-Quetta highway and demand only the recovery of Anis Baloch. Forced disappearances are a serious crime all over the world, but the state of Pakistan is involved in the forced disappearances of thousands of Baloch people and it is intensifying day by day. I appeal to the people of Khuzdar to be the voice of the family of Anis Baloch and reach the dharna in large numbers and stand by the family until the recovery of Anis Baloch.”

In another post on X, Mahrang Baloch mentioned that Hanif Baloch, a gold medalist at Bhawalpur University had forcibly disappeared from Barkhan. She stated that Hanif Baloch’s brother Saeed Baloch, a student of Punjab University, was also reported missing after he was summoned to Lahore and detained illegally.

Taking to X, Mahrang Baloch stated, “Forced disappearances of Baloch students have intensified. Gold medalist Hanif Baloch from Bhawalpur University has been forcibly disappeared from his native Barkhan while his brother Saeed Baloch, a student of Punjab University, has gone missing after being summoned from Lahore and illegally detained.”

“Enforced disappearances are playing the role of a cancer for the Baloch society, swallowing our whole society, no person, home and area is safe from it and it is a dangerous form of Baloch genocide. Staying silent at home against Baloch genocide is not an option, rather we can stop it only through public resistance struggle,” she added.

Meanwhile, at least 20 people were injured due to clashes between protesters and Pakistani security forces continued for a third consecutive day in Balochistan’s Chaman on Friday, The Balochistan Post reported on Saturday.

The violence erupted as security forces tried to disperse protesters gathered outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office. Protesters accused the Levies, police, and Frontier Corps of using tear gas and other forceful measures against them.

Authorities said that 45 people have been arrested and accused them of damaging public and private property and targeting security officials during the protests, The Balochistan Post reported.

The unrest has resulted in the closure of business centres, government offices, and the Quetta-Chaman highway. Banks have also remained closed for several days due to the ongoing violence.

Participants of the protest expressed frustration over the continued detention of their leaders. The protesters said, “More than 48 hours have passed, and the leaders arrested from the protest in Chaman have yet to be presented in any court.”

The protesters spoke about the absence of the Deputy Commissioner and other district officers, in the office for three days. They slammed the provincial and central governments for not holding talks or trying to negotiate with them.

Protest leaders have committed to continue their protest until their demands are met. They stated that the movement would continue until the previous border-crossing norms were reinstated and all arrested leaders and individuals taken into custody were released, according to The Balochistan Post report.

Initially, the protests began after the government imposed stringent passport and visa requirements at the border. Previously, Pakistanis and Afghans could cross the border with their respective identity cards. The new regulations, aimed at curbing illegal activities, have left thousands unemployed in Chaman, the report said.

The protesters have demanded that previous border-crossing norms be reinstated and highlighted the effect of the new regulations on families and tribes who are divided by the border and depend on frequent crossings for their daily lives.