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Pakistan: Traders, locals join sit-in protest in Balochistan’s Kech; shut down businesses

Traders shut down businesses in Kech, Balochistan in protest (Photo: X/@BYCKech)

For several days, families whose relatives are reportedly missing from different areas of Balochistan’s Kech district have been staging a sit-in to demand their safe return.

According to reports, traders and residents in the area have now voluntarily shuttered their shops and businesses, choosing to forgo their daily earnings as a show of support for the grieving families.

Taking to social media platform X, the Baloch Yakjehti Committee, an organisation advocating for the rights of Baloch people, stated “On the 15th day of the sit-in protest, Kech has come to a standstill with a complete shutter-down protest. In a powerful display of solidarity, traders and residents of Kech have voluntarily closed their businesses to stand with the elderly, men, women, and children 1/2 participating in the protest. Unity and resistance can only guarantee our survival against such a barbaric State and its institutions.”

For several years, Baloch people have actively protested, driven by grievances like autonomy, human rights, socio-economic disparities, and political injustices. The abduction of Baloch students is a distressing issue that has garnered attention within Balochistan and globally.

The Pakistani government views Baloch students, especially activists advocating for Baloch rights, as threats to national security. This perception has reportedly resulted in harassment, enforced disappearances, and repression targeting Baloch students and activists.

Human rights organizations and activists extensively document cases where Baloch activists are allegedly abducted, disappear, and later found dead in remote areas under suspicious circumstances, accusing state authorities or affiliated groups of extrajudicial killings.

Pakistan denies accusations of extrajudicial killings, including those involving Baloch individuals.

The government argues that casualties during security operations are justified actions against insurgents and terrorists, not deliberate executions. Pakistani officials claim that allegations of extrajudicial killings are often politically motivated or based on misinformation.

Despite Pakistan’s position, the international community maintains divergent views supported by documented evidence.

Pakistan’s actions have raised significant international human rights concerns, with accusations of systematic discrimination and suppression of Baloch perspectives and rights within the country.

This situation underscores ongoing tensions and complexities in ethnic relations and civil liberties in Pakistan.