KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) did not allow three Baloch rights activists to travel to the United States on Wednesday to attend a seminar about alleged violation of human rights in Pakistan, stating that their names were on the Exit Control List (ECL).
According to Abdul Qadeer Baloch of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, popularly known as Mama Qadeer, he arrived at the Jinnah Terminal along with activists Farzana Majeed and Faiqa and relatives of ‘missing’ Baloch persons to take a flight to the US. But when they reached the FIA counter, they were prevented from proceeding abroad.
He said FIA personnel took them to a room where they checked all their documents, including tickets, CNICs and passports, and also made a photocopy of them.
Mama Qadeer said the FIA personnel told them that they were allegedly involved in ‘anti-Pakistan’ activities and their names had been on the ECL.
He said that for the past six years he and his supporters had been protesting peacefully by holding a long march and sit-ins.
He said they were allowed to go home after around three hours when the flight had taken off.
If their names had been placed on the ECL, the interior ministry should have informed them so that they could have avoided a huge expenditure on the proposed visit to the US, he said.
The Baloch rights activist said that World Sindhi Congress had invited them to attend a seminar in New York on March 7 on alleged violation of rights in Sindh and Balochistan.
FIA Director Shahid Hayat confirmed that Mr Qadeer’s name had been put on the ECL.
Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2015