The Baloch protestors have decided to hold a march on Tuesday, move towards Islamabad's D-Chowk, and stay there until they are "heard"
Imran Khan's dream of turning 'naya' Pakistan into Riasat-e-Medina, the ideal welfare state, has been confronted by Baloch nationalists who have swarmed into the heart of capital Islamabad, protesting against the atrocities and injustice being meted out to them by the state agencies for decades in the Balochistan province.
Several Baloch families are camping outside the Islamabad's National Press Club – less than 14 kms away from Khan's residence in upscale Bani Gala – since last many days, hoping that the world community, if not the Pakistani PM, will listen to their pleas and ensure the return of their loved ones, missing for years, decades in some cases.
While the Islamabad protest began last week, similar demonstrations have been going on in other Pakistani cities like Karachi and Quetta for over a decade now. The camp organised by the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) entered its 42245th day in Karachi today.
The Baloch American Congress (BAC) said the Pakistan government's claim of ensuring "Medina-style justice" is a hoax as families of victims of enforced disappearance are crying for justice on the streets of Islamabad and Karachi.
"Prime Minister Imran Khan had pledged return of justice like it was in the glory days of the caliphate in Medina centuries ago, but the plight of the families of victims of enforced disappearances for more than a decade tells the true story of justice in Pakistan," Tara Chand, the president of BAC was quoted as saying in a statement carried by The Balochistan Post.
The protestors have decided to hold a march on Tuesday, move forward towards Islamabad's D-Chowk, and stay there until they are "heard".
Displaying banners, posters and photographs of their missing relatives, members of the Baloch community say that the Islamabad sit-in will continue until Khan visits the protest site personally and reunites their long-lost ones with them soon.
They want another assurance from their PM – that the ongoing bloodbath and the genocide taking place in the province will be brought to a halt immediately.
The likelihood of either thing happening remains zero even though the protest venue has seen some high-profile visitors in the recent days, including many Pashtun activists like Afrasiab Khattak, Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Pashteen, human rights defender Amina Masood Janjua and some more.
The Balochs have for long argued that their missing loved ones – most of them vocal critics of the Pakistani deep state – are actually in the illegal custody of Pakistani intelligence agencies and are dying a slow death in the jails of country.
The Human Rights Council of Balochistan has reported that more than 32 people were killed and over two dozen disappeared, most of them forcibly, in Balochistan in the first month of 2021.
In Karachi, the Sindhi community, itself bearing the brunt of Pakistani establishment, has shown solidarity with the Balochs camping outside the local Press Club for over 12 years.
Lawyers from the Sindh Bar Council recently visited the camp to express their solidarity with the families of the Baloch missing persons.
The Jeay Sindh Freedom Movement (JSFM), meanwhile, has also accused the Pakistani government of moving outsiders into the province, turning the original inhabitants into minority in their own motherland.
"Pakistan is planning to bring Kashmiri refugees in Sindh. The Punjabi establishment has issued a letter to Sindh government to provide details of agricultural and residential land owned by Sindh government to bring more outsiders to Sindh for permanent settlement while the original inhabitants of Sindh are living miserable life below poverty line," says JSFM founder Zafar Sahito.
He said that thousand hectares of land and islands of Sindh have already been sold to China for the projects of China Pakistan Economic Corridior (CPEC).
"Foreign nationals are not only creating economic burden on locals but Sindh is fast becoming a hub of terrorist groups and various radical Islamist organizations. With the help of Pakistani agencies, these groups are threatening the local Sindhi community which has already suffered a lot," he added.
Clearly, the envisioned state of Medina in Pakistan is making no progress.