Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Thousands of Baloch political activists, students, and common people have disappeared without any trace
Around 1,101 Baloch have gone missing since 1992, a leader of the Baloch Unity Conference (BUC) Majeed Baloch said at a seminar on the Case of Missing Persons of Balochistan held at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday. “This figure is based on cases which have been reported in the media. In reality, thousands of Baloch political activists, students, and common people have disappeared without any trace. Thousands others have been killed since the insurgency started in the province.”According to a report of the Asian Human Rights Commission, which has been published in a booklet form by the BUC, some 168 children and 148 women have disappeared from the province.
Majeed Baloch demanded that the government take immediate notice of the alarming situation and take steps for the recovery of missing persons. “The Baloch have always been deprived of their rights. Our people have been abducted without any reason, illegally detained and murdered. We demand an end to the atrocities and recovery of those missing.”
Justice Retired Wajihuddin Ahmed urged the Baloch people to approach the commission formed to deal with the cases of missing persons. “The Baloch should stage demonstrations and demand of the commission to take notice of their cases. The Baloch should elect those leaders who are sincere and devoted towards their struggle.”
He said that the people of the province should ask for demographic guarantees from the government, demanding that no one would colonise the province. “Some countries have their eyes on the province which is rich in mineral and natural resources. In such times, the citizens should unite themselves and fight for their rights.”Tracing back the history of the province, he said that during the British rule, the Sardars did not work dedicatedly for the people, depriving them of basic amenities such as healthcare and education.
Jamaat Islami, Sindh, chief Asadullah Bhutto said that the government should announce a package for the recovery of the missing persons. “Today, the most important issue is to trace the whereabouts of the missing people. Both the government and the judiciary should work hand in hand for the recovery of the people who have been illegally detained or gone missing.”
Human rights activist Iqbal Haider said that it was saddening that a majority of the missing persons are Baloch. He blamed the United States for the polarisations in the country, saying that they wanted to create disharmony amongst the people under a conspiracy.
Workers Party leader Yusuf Masti Khan said that the cause of the Baloch people could not be fought in isolation. “The struggle of the Baloch for their rights should not be in isolation. People are calling for independence but the path to freedom is not an easy one. By secluding oneself, no one can attain success. Therefore, the Baloch people should work with others and garner international and national support for their movement.”
Meanwhile, the participants, especially journalists, were stunned and offended when a Baloch intellectual bluntly criticised the media representatives for not highlighting the Baloch issues.
Speaking during the seminar, Professor Saba Dashtiari said: “Today, journalists have become criminals. Their minds have become polluted and impure. Shaheed Ahbar Bugti had rightly said that journalists are dogs and they are just in want of bones.”On this, a senior journalist, Nargis Khannum, approached the stage and asked the speaker to leave the stage. She said that the speaker was openly abusing journalists at their home, in the Karachi Press Club. However, the speaker kept on saying that that “Gundagardi” of journalists would be not tolerated. Retired Justice Wajiuddin Ahmed then intervened and controlled the situation, asking the journalists to stay calm and the speaker to focus on the topic.
The media, however, did not boycott the event and the speaker was allowed to continue his speech.