The number of participants is likely to increase as the group travels along the road. The affected families, led by the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, are expected to complete the 750-km-long journey to Karachi within the next 15 days.
Quetta to Karachi Map
“We are coming to Karachi to register our protest because the local and the international media are here. They will highlight our issue and take it to the stakeholders,” said Abdul Qadeer Baloch, founder of the organisation, speaking via telephone from Quetta. This is the first time the protesters will be coming all the way from Quetta to the metropolis – on foot.
“Normally, the journey takes around 10 days but we are targeting for 15 days as we will walk slowly since we have women and children with us.” They would be stopping at villages and other places along the route to rest and gain sustenance.
The protesters also wish to raise the issue of the mutilated bodies of Baloch men that are being dumped in Karachi, with the grounds of Surjani Town reportedly becoming a hotbed for such activity.
One of the participants, Qadeer Baloch, understands the pain of the families whose members have gone missing. His 32-year-old son, a former bank manager and a political worker, was allegedly picked up by security agencies in 2009. Two years later, his body was dumped in Turbat.
“We will not stop protesting till the missing persons are found. Once we reach Karachi, we will set up a demonstration camp outside Karachi Press Club and also plan to go on hunger strike,” said Qadeer.
He claimed that, since 2001, around 18,000 Baloch men have been abducted. The organisation has complete details of around 2,670 persons of such persons.
Another member of the organisation, Nasrullah Baloch, is living with the agony of his uncle’s disappearance, who has been missing for the last 12 years. “If people who are abducted are criminals, they should be produced in courts. What is this way of the intelligence agencies of detaining people and torturing them to death? What is the crime of the thousands of people who are missing? Where are they?” he asked, with a tremor in his voice.
His uncle, Ali Asghar, a political worker and father of seven children, had gone missing in 2001. An FIR against his disappearance is the first one to have been registered against an officer of an intelligence agency. “When parties come into power, they don’t talk about missing persons. The federal interior minister did not utter a single word when he came to Quetta.”