Rampant human rights abuses in Pakistan go underreported
Series: Profiles in courage from Balochistan
This is the first part of a series of articles in which Jahanzeb Hussain interviews five important figures from Balochistan. The story of Balochistan is one of the most under-reported in the world. We are pleased to publish these all-too-rare and wide-ranging interviews in hope that the narrative from Balochistan reaches a wider audience.
Mama Qadeer, Farzana Majeed, Karima Baloch, Khalil Baloch, and Allah Nazar are names unfamiliar to most people in Pakistan, let alone the rest of the world.
Even for educated Pakistanis, Balochistan is mostly out of sight – mere rocks, sand, and the Chaghi Mountains, where Pakistan tested its nuclear bomb.
KARACHI: Today was day 7 of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons long March from Karachi and day 34 from Quetta to Islamabad. Now more famous on social media as #VBMPLongMarch, led by Qadeer Baloch, Farzana Majeed Baloch, Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur and several other relatives of abducted Baloch have started their march from Quetta on 27 October 2013 and arrived in Karachi on 23rd November. They rested in Karachi for few weeks and restarted walking on 13 December 2013.
They left from Pattan Colony area of Thatta region Thursday morning and reached to Sajawal city by the dusk.
Statement: Asian Human Rights Commission
Before reaching Karachi a car tried to ram the walkers on three occasions and the marchers are receiving death threat messages on their cell phones
The Long March for the Baloch missing persons has entered its 27th day after completing 690 KMs. It will reach its intended destination at the Karachi Press Club, Karachi, the capital of Sindh province tomorrow, November 22. Today the marchers will reach the suburbs of Karachi where the local people will welcome them and make arrangements for their accommodations.
There are no lights and indications about the one who had been taken away from the way to my house in 2009, that, if he will return one day or has already been perished. The face of a sister was declaring all such words. Where he is and how he would be? Her body language was asking these questions. Her two eyes, with full of tears and in each drop of that tear there was a message that “I am looking for my brother”.
by Saher Baloch
THAL, Nov 17: In scorching noon heat, around 25 people quietly walk on the RCD Highway, before stopping for a break at an open air cafe.
The families of the missing, who started their journey on foot on Oct 27, reached Utthal on Saturday, led by Mama Qadeer Baloch, vice-president of an advocacy group named Voice of Missing Baloch Persons (VoMBP). The families continued their journey on Sunday morning, as more people joined them on their way.
Since 2005, the Human Rights Commission has been paying special attention to the increasingly alarming human rights situation in Balochistan. The Commission has organized four fact-finding missions to the province, the reports of which have been widely disseminated. A special desk on missing persons has also been set up in Quetta that maintains data on enforced disappearances and killings.
However, it was after reading Mohammed Hanif’s account of his meeting with Qadeer Baloch in Dawn that the idea of a book came to me. Hanif’s conversation with Qadeer Baloch about the disappearance and killing of his son, Jaleel Reiki, was moving – and disturbing – in a way that statistics can never be. I knew that if HRCP were to publish a book about the missing in Balochistan, Hanif would be the writer to put the stories together. He was quick to agree and joined HRCP’s fact-finding mission to Balochistan in May 2012.
Mohammed Hanif, Mohammad Ali Talpur, Farzana Majeed and I.A. Rehman — Photo by Alisia Pek/Dawn.com
Karachi: Farzana Majeed’s voice resonated through the garden as she explained what happened to her brother at the session on the launch of the book The Baloch Who is Not Missing and Others Who Are. “It has been four years since Zakir Majeed Baloch was taken into the custody of Pakistan’s secret agencies,” said the MPhil student. “He had raised his voice against the ongoing atrocities in Balochistan.”
Since then, Majeed has been campaigning for her brother’s release. Her protest has largely gone unnoticed, as have those of hundreds like her. Since 2010, protestors from the Voice for Baloch Missing People have been sitting outside the Karachi Press Club with framed photos of sons, daughters, brothers and fathers who have been missing for years. They are victims of the campaign of enforced disappearances credited to the country’s military and intelligence organisations. The stories of how they were one day taken away, and not heard from since, are not those which one hears often because like them, their accounts are largely missing from the agendas of news organisations.
لوگ ان مظالم کو عدم دلچسپی کیساتھ دیکھتے ہیں کیونکہ لاپتہ اور ہلاک کیے گئے بلوچوں کو محض ایک شماریاتی حیثیت دیکر خارج البلد کردیا گیا ہے
بلوچ لاپتہ افراد اور ان کے تباہ حال رشتہ داروں کی خاموش اور دکھ بھری پکار انسانیت کی روح کو ریزہ ریزہ کرنے کیلئے کافی زوردار ہے، لیکن بظاہر یہاں کے مرکزی دھارے کے معاشرے اور میڈیا پر اسکا کوئی اثر نہیں پڑ رہا، دونوں اس دکھ بھری پکار پر بہرے ہیں۔ جو کچھ بلوچستان میں ہو رہا ہے، اسے معاشرہ اور میڈیا بڑی حد تک یا تو دیکھے سے انکاری ہیں یا ان مظالم کو صحیح قرار دینے کیلئے جواز پیش کرنے کی کوشش کرتے ہیں۔ تمام ریاستی ادارے اس جرم کے ارتکاب میں معاون اور آمادہ ہیں، اور انہوں نے متاثرہ افراد کو اپنے درد کا اظہار کرنے کیلئے اپنی زندگی اور اعضاءکا خطرہ مول لینے کیلئے مجبور کر رکھا ہے۔ یہ کوئی حیرت کی بات نہیں ہے کہ 10 فروری کو کراچی میں ایک بڑی بلوچ ریلی نے بینرز اور پلے کارڈز اٹھائے ہوئے تھے اور آزادی کا مطالبہ کر رہے تھے۔ انہوں نے آزاد بلوچستان کا ایک بڑا پرچم بھی اٹھا رکھا تھا، یہ جان کر کہ کینہ پرور پاکستانی ریاست ان لوگوں کو بھی سزا دیتی ہے جو اغواءکیے گئے لوگوں کی لاشیں وصول کرنے جاتے ہیں۔ گُلّے، بہار خان پیردادانی کے بیٹے نے اپنے رشتہ داروں، جبری طور پر غائب کیے گئے دو بھائی اور میرے سابقہ شاگرد محمد خان اور محمد نبی کی لاشیں وصول کی تھیں، 15 اگست، 2012ءکے بعد سے لاپتہ ہے۔ ریاست ان لوگوں کیلئے ایک مناسب تدفین بھی نہیں چاہتی جن کو وہ مار دیتی ہے۔
People view these atrocities disinterestedly because the Baloch missing and dead have been relegated to merely statistical status
The silent anguished cry of the Baloch missing persons and their devastated relatives is loud enough to rend the very soul of humanity, but seemingly, it has no effect on the mainstream society and media here, both deaf to this anguished cry. Society at large and the media either refuse to see what is happening in Balochistan or try to justify the atrocities. All state institutions aid and abet in this crime, forcing the affected people to risk life and limb to express their pain. Little wonder then that in Karachi on February 10, a large Baloch rally carried banners and placards demanding freedom. They carried a large independent Balochistan flag, knowing well that the unforgiving Pakistani state even punishes people who go to receive the dead bodies of abducted people. Gullay, son of Bahar Khan Pirdadani, had received the bodies of relatives — two forcibly disappeared brothers, my former students Mohammad Khan and Mohammad Nabi — and is missing since August 15, 2012. The state does not even want a decent burial for those it kills.