The march set off from Quetta on 27 October 2013 was led by Mama Qadeer Baloch, Farzana Majeed Baloch and Bibi Gul Baloch. Many family members of enforced-disappeared Baloch also joined the foot march as it passed thorough different towns of Balochistan.
The protest of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons gained overwhelming momentum with passing of time. Participants of the march had to travel through some of the most difficult terrains of Balochistan and very sensitive areas where the state back religious extremists roam freely. The proxy death squads of Pakistan military attempted to attack the march at Tootak area of Khuzdar on three occasions and because of the security risk the participants had walk whole night.
Before reaching to Karachi large numbers of people joined the protest march and the few people that left from Quetta were soon followed by hundreds and then in thousands.
The participants of march including Qadeer Baloch reach Karachi with blistered and swollen feet because of walking constantly for less than a month.
According to a Balochi language private TV channel around 20,000 people participated in the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons protest rally in Karachi on Friday. Apart from Baloch activists a large number of Sindhi and other human rights and political activists also come to support the march.
Sindhi Nationalist gifted the participants with traditional Sindhi Ajrak and flower garlands.
The participants of the rally chanted slogans for release of enforced-disappeared Baloch and demand for the immediate release of their loved ones.
The floor of Karachi Press Club (KPC) was covered with rose flowers as the visitors and supporters showered the march ‘heroes’ with roses.
Addressing the crowd of people and media at KPC, the vice chairman of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, Qadeer Baloch said that even though the march has ended but the struggle against enforced disappearances will continue.
He said: “We will organise a seminar soon to announce our future plan. The struggle has not ended here. We will march to UN headquarters or find some other peaceful but affective way to continue to raise our voice.”
Qadeer Baloch further said that Pakistani security forces (ISI, Military and FC) have abducted at least 18,000 people from different areas across Balochistan. “About 1500 people from the abducted men have been killed under-custody and their bodies have been dumped in different area of Balochistan and Karachi. More than 600 Baloch activists have been target killed by Pakistani security forces and their proxy death squads,” Mama Qadeer Baloch said adding: “Most of the victims of target killing were highly conscious and educated members of Baloch society including lawyers, doctors, students, poets, university lecturers, teachers and other professional people.”
Qadeer the father of slain Baloch leader Jalil Reki Baloch said: “Supreme Court of Pakistan held nearly 100 hearings on cases of enforced-disappearances and the apex court also gave orders which clearly stated that ISI, MI and other agencies abducted the people.” However, he revealed that agencies would not heed to the Supreme Court’s order and all the hearing went in vain without yielding any positive result.
He also revealed that Pakistani security forces including the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) threatened the participants of the long march.
Qadeer Baloch told reporters that during long march from Quetta to Karachi, the personnel of Pakistani law enforcement agencies and even Colonel level officers of Pakistan Army contacted them and asked to postpone the march, even issuing threats in case of refusal. He further disclosed that the participants were even offered bribe. He said people brought them blank cheques sent by Dr Malik, the current chief minister of Balochistan.
He said: “I won’t sell myself or compromise on our cause in any way. There are some people who asked me on phone to quote my price. I want to tell them I am not a person who sells the blood of Baloch martyrs of liberation struggle.”
The Vice chairman of VBMP also disclosed that attempts were made on his life to stop him from continuing the protest, adding that the caravan was attacked thrice and a suspicious car tried to hit and kill him but he jumped on the side of the road and survived.
He said the families of other participants were threatened and personnel of Pakistani security agencies raided the house Nasrullah Baloch, the chairman of Voice for Baloch Persons.
Farzana Majeed Baloch a sister of Baloch student leader Zakir Majeed said that she has set on several protest camps in front of Press Clubs to demand release of her brother but the state agencies ignored her plea. “We decided this Long March for the attention of International Community. United Nation should take notice of on-going human rights violations in Balochistan. We do not trust the Pakistani institutes anymore,” Said Farzana Majeed Baloch.
Ali Haider Baloch, 10, and his sister Samina were also marching for the safe return of their father, Muhammad Ramzan Baloch, who was abducted four years ago. The participants belonged to all age groups, but their sorrows and the stories were the same.
National Party criticised
Strongly disappointed by a recent TV statement by Chief Minister of Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik, Qadeer Baloch said that Dr Malik came before the elections and asked for a vote. He even promised that after becoming chief minister, if he failed to resolve the issue of disappearances, he will resign. “But now shame on him that he has termed this historical march a seasonal one,” said Abdul Qadeer Baloch.
Expressing his view on recent comments of Hasil Bezinjo, another leader of National Party, Qadeer Baloch said: “I want inform him that we received bodies of two Baloch students just three days ago.”
He said that during Musharraf era, the agencies abducted Baloch, but after some time they released them. However, during the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government they started killing and throwing their bodies, which continues till now.
Farzana Majeed Baloch sister of abducted Baloch student leader Zakir Majeed Baloch rejected the claims of a leader of National Party. Hasil Bezinjo earlier told BBC Urdu that discovery of mutilated bodies has ended in Balochistan and soon the enforced-disappearance will stop. Farzana, however, said that Bezinjo’s statement was untrue and misleading.
The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons announced to set up their protest camp outside Karachi Press for unspecified period of time. Today was 1339 days of VBMP token hunger protest camp. In past four years the VBMP has continuously been protesting in front of Quetta, Karachi and Islamabad Press Clubs.
[Courtesy by Baloch Warna]