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.