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Pakistani forces threaten protesting family of abducted Baloch citizen

Family of abducted individual stages a protest in Quetta (Photo: X/@SammiBaluch)

Several videos have surfaced on social media platforms showing the family of Zaheer Ahmed Baloch, a forcibly abducted individual from Balochistan, being threatened by uniformed members of the Pakistani defence forces.

Reportedly, this incident occurred while his family was organising a protest in Quetta, demanding his safe return.

According to PAANK, the human rights department of the Baloch National Movement, a Baloch rights organisation from Pakistan, Zaheer was forcibly abducted by men belonging to the Pakistani forces on June 27 this year.

In a post on ‘X’, PAANK referenced the incident, stating, “Armed agents of a Pakistani intelligence agency are threatening the peaceful family of Zaheer Baloch, abducted by Pakistani forces on June 27, during a rally demanding his release outside the Session Court. We demand immediate protection for the family and Zaheer’s safe release.”

Zaheer’s family has been organising protests in various locations in Quetta, demanding his safe return from Balochistan’s administration. Prominent Baloch rights activist Sammi Deen Baloch previously informed that unidentified gunmen had been threatening the victim’s family to halt the protests, despite the local administration being responsible for negotiating and resolving the issue.

In another post on ‘X’, it was stated, “Zaheer Ahmed was unlawfully abducted by state intelligence agencies on June 27, 2024. His family has been protesting at various locations in Quetta. Despite the administration’s responsibility to negotiate with the families, some gunmen are threatening and harassing the families to stop protesting, and no action is being taken against them. We strongly condemn such tactics and demand the safe release of Zaheer Ahmed.”

Protests in Balochistan over the rising issue of enforced disappearances are not new. Recently, a sit-in protest camp led by the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), demanding the safe recovery of missing individuals, completed its 5496th day outside the Quetta Press Club. Sibghatullah, the Convener of Baloch Yakjehti Committee’s Makran chapter, along with other top Baloch activists, visited the camp to express solidarity with the families, according to a report by the Balochistan Post. However, incidents of enforced disappearances in Balochistan have not decreased.

PAANK reported that in May alone, there were 90 cases of enforced disappearances in Pakistan’s Balochistan. The regions of Kech, Gwadar, and Dera Bugti witnessed 22, 15, and 29 such incidents, respectively.