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ISLAMABAD: The leader of Baloch marchers, Mama Qadeer, on Wednesday blamed feudals for the lingering missing persons’ issue.

Addressing a seminar here he said their relatives started disappearing in 2001 and since then they had been suffering because their problem was not handled by true representatives of the people.

The leader of the relatives of Baloch missing persons was speaking at a seminar jointly organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Insani Huqooq Itehad (IHI).

Mama Qadeer said that in the past Dr Abdul Malik, Hasil Khan Bizenjo and others raised the issue of the missing persons but it could not be resolved because they were not true representatives of the Baloch people.

“Six years back, we established Voice of Baloch Missing Person and started registering missing persons and dead bodies. At the moment we have a data of 19,900 missing persons along with their names, addresses, age and party affiliation,” he said.

“On October 27, 2013, we started marching from Quetta Press Club on foot. The purpose of the walk was to get the attention of international community. Officials of Military Intelligence and ISI threatened us all the way,” he said.

“In Karachi, Federal Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif had a meeting with us and assured that the missing persons will be released within 24 hours but since then we have been waiting for the fulfillment of the promise,” he said.

“The government and courts have disappointed the marchers and now they are looking to the international community,” he said Another marcher Farzana Majeed Baloch said her brother Zakir Majeed had been missing since June 2009.

She said the people of remote areas were unable to report their missing family members. In this regard, she suggested that civil society should arrange a survey about missing persons and media should expose all such cases.

“There are women in Balochistan who have been waiting for their four to six missing sons. A woman told me that she has been waiting for her missing husband and four sons,” she said.

Social Activist Salma Jafer said that the human rights organisations and civil society in Pakistan should raise their voice for the missing Baloch persons.

“Unfortunately, over 19,000 people have been missing but the government has not taken any serious step for their recovery,” she said.

Tracing the history of Baloch women, she said they had always been strong, determined and warrior of the time. Farzana Baloch should be a hero for not only Pakistan but for international community as well, she said.

Human rights activist Haris Khalique demanded a political solution to the problem.

Civil society activist Nusrat Zahra recited a poem for Baloch missing persons.