Balochistan faces serious education challenges as youth quit school to protest the enforced disappearances of their family members.
Cases of Baloch missing persons have gone unresolved since 2001.
In an unprecedented march on October 27, 2013, 71-year-old Mama Qadeer Baloch led a grueling long march from Balochistan’s capital Quetta to Karachi, and finally to Islamabad. This march was documented by the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) for the safe release of thousands of Baloch allegedly abducted since Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
The family members of the missing are now protesting in Karachi near the Press Club arranged by the VBMP. The families wait for the their loved ones as they were optimistically assured in 2013 when Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch became Balochistan’s chief minister. The number of missing gradually increased to almost 4,000 in 2014.
Sammi and Mehlab Baloch, daughters of the missing Dr. Deen Baloch in 2010, quit school until his safe release. Both girls participated in the grisly long trek on foot as well. “I cannot go to my school because I am frightened about my father’s vanishing, stated the 12-year-old Mehlab.
Dr. Baqir and his young son were abducted in December 2014. Their whereabouts are still unknown and his daughter Sangeen, a college a student, now patiently waits for their release.
Farzana Majeed, a sister of Zakir Majeed Baloch (missing), was a Biochemistry graduate student at Karachi University and dropped out of school to protest Zakir’s disappearance. She also joined the long march to Islamabad yet her brother’s whereabouts remain unknown.
Mohammad Ramzan Baloch went missing in 2010. His 12-year-old son Ali Haider was a participant of the long march and he quit school to protest the safe release of his father.
This is a burning issue. Since its inception the VBMP’s chairman Nasrullah Baloch says there are as many as 18,000 missing persons.
Aziz Ejaz is a freelance writer, columnist and a poet. He contributes to the Balochistan Point and is subeditor at theMonthly Bolan Voice. Read other articles by Aziz.