Missing persons' relatives suspend protest after 10 years following Balochistan govt assurances

Published January 16, 2019
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani (2L) addresses a news conference alongside Voice for Baloch Missing Persons vice chairman Mama Qadeer Baloch and other officials in Quetta on Wednesday. — Photo by author
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani (2L) addresses a news conference alongside Voice for Baloch Missing Persons vice chairman Mama Qadeer Baloch and other officials in Quetta on Wednesday. — Photo by author

In a major development, the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) on Wednesday announced it has temporarily ended its protest camp after nearly 10 years following assurances from the Balochistan government regarding the recovery of missing persons hailing from the province.

The protest camp set up outside the Quetta Press Club has been suspended after 3,464 days for a period of two months on the assurance of Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani and his cabinet members, VBMP chairman Nasrullah Baloch told a news conference in the provincial capital today.

"We have taken the issue of missing persons seriously and are committed to sort this problem out," Alyani said at the press conference held at the Chief Minister's Secretariat. Balochistan Home Minister Mir Zia Langove, VBMP vice chairman Mama Qadeer and others were also present on the occasion.

Editorial: Little progress on missing persons

The chief minister said they had "sought two months" time from the protesters, and reiterated his government's sincerity to resolve the issue of missing persons.

He claimed that some political parties had made the missing persons issue a part of their political agenda. "We will speak to all the stakeholders to ensure the safe recovery of missing persons," he promised.

VBMP chairman Baloch revealed that more than 250 missing persons have returned to their homes since the new government took office in Balochistan last year.

Mama Qadeer said 11 missing persons had recently returned home in Balochistan after VBMP established contact with the provincial government. Qadeer cautioned, however, that the protest camp would be resumed if the government failed to recover the missing persons as promised.

Read: Enforced disappearance a heinous offence: Islamabad High Court

He also demanded that the issue of recovery of mutilated bodies in the province "must end once and for all".

The VBMP had set up its protest and hunger strike camp in 2009 in the aftermath of unrest in Balochistan to mount pressure on the authorities to ensure the safe recovery of missing Baloch political workers.

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