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Families of abducted Baloch individuals block Quetta Karachi highway in Pakistan

Baloch people block Quetta Karachi highway in Pakistan, shows dissent against enforced disappearances (Image credits: @BalochYakjehtiC)

The families of forcibly abducted Baloch individuals blocked the Quetta-Karachi highway near the Mastung district of Balochistan on Tuesday, demanding the safe return of their loved ones, the Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC) stated.

The BYC shared a post on X, stating that the families of Nooruddin Bangulzai, Abdul Lateef Bangulzai, and Faheem Bangulzai blocked the Quetta to Karachi Highway near the Mastung Nawab Hotel, protesting for their safe release.

“Abdul Lateef, son of Safar Khan, forcibly disappeared on June 16, 2023. He resides in Isplinji Dasht, Mastung district. He was forcibly disappeared at the Isplinji FC checkpoint while riding a motorcycle to attend a wedding. Nooruddin Bangulzai was forcibly disappeared on July 25, 2013, and his whereabouts have remained unknown since then. Faheem Bangulzai was forcibly disappeared on 6, December, 2023,” the committee further explained in their post.

They further urged the people from Mastung and nearby areas to support the families and speak out against enforced disappearances.

With time, forced disappearances in Balochistan have become a common issue there.

However, amid the recent surge in cases of alleged enforced disappearances of citizens in Balochistan, the government issued a clarification, outright rejecting claims of “thousands of missing persons’ cases, Geo News reported.

The provincial government emphasised that the number of cases reported to the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances was not in the thousands, adding that the commission was functional and had detected some fake cases as well.

However, the BYC countered the statement, and continued protesting against the alleged enforced disappearances of Baloch people.

During that time, the committee highlighted the case of Naeem Rehmat, who forcibly disappeared on March 17, 2022, from Aman Aatoz Turbat.

The committee said that despite continuous protests, including a recent demonstration on the day of Eid, aimed at securing his safe release, the administration’s failure to provide a meaningful response only compounds the suffering and uncertainty for his family.

Moreover, the family has been protesting since Eid, blocking CPEC Road in Shapuk.

In January, the then-caretaker Balochistan information minister, Jan Achakzai, claimed that those who were being labelled by Baloch protesters as “missing persons” were in fact “terrorists” and got killed in Pakistan’s counterstrike inside Iran.

Pakistan responded to a violation of its sovereignty by launching strikes on terrorists’ hideouts within Iran, two days after Tehran’s incursion into Balochistan resulted in casualties.

The incursion, which claimed the lives of two children and injured three girls, prompted the retaliatory action.

He alleged that Mahrang Baloch, who was leading the protest in Islamabad against enforced disappearances of citizens, had been staging “drama” and defaming Pakistan under the guise of the missing persons issue.

Later in February, then caretaker prime minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar claimed that the government was facing an armed struggle in Balochistan, asserting that the armed individuals were fighting to “create a new state.”

In separate statements, ex-premier Kakar also alleged that terrorists in Balochistan had been receiving funding from the Indian spy agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), and killing people in Balochistan.