LAHORE: A Baloch student, who was picked up by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) from a Punjab University hostel in connection with the Karachi University (KU) suicide blast, was released on Tuesday after being declared innocent in the investigation.

Bebgar Imdad, a student of the seventh semester of English Literature in National University of Modern Languages (Numl), Islamabad, and a native of Kech (Balochistan), was on a visit to meet a relative residing in the PU’s Hostel No 7, when CTD officials from Karachi picked him up on April 27 morning.

Four people, including three Chinese nationals, were killed, while four others injured in a suicide attack outside the KU Confucius Institute on April 26.

A senior official, on condition of anonymity, told Dawn that Imdad was picked up after his number was found linked with the twitter account of the husband of the KU suicide bomber, Shari Baloch. However, the investigating agencies did not find Imdad’s link with the family of the bomber.

His kin had moved LHC for his recovery

Sources said the agencies interrogated Imdad for 13 days and also tortured him on the first day of his arrest.

Meanwhile, PU Baloch Council activists ended their 14-day sit-in outside the vice chancellor’s office against the enforced disappearance of Imdad. Other civil rights activists had also called for the student’s release.

The Baloch Council had also held a press conference on the campus to raise the issue.

Earlier, Imdad’s cousin Muhammad Saleem had filed a habeas corpus petition in the Lahore High Court, seeking his recovery.

The city police submitted a report to the court saying the CTD had arrested Imdad in connection with the KU blast.

On Tuesday, counsel for the petitioner, Asad Jamal, raised various legal questions on the arrest and transfer of Imdad from Lahore to Karachi and said legal formalities were not fulfilled to arrest Imdad.

The lawyer said that not just the arrest of the student, but his shifting to Karachi without seeking a transit remand from a court of law was also illegal.

The court will resume its hearing on May 20.

However, on Tuesday morning, the security agencies released Imdad and handed him over to his cousin, Saleem.

At a presser, Baloch Council Chairman Ahsan Baloch demanded action against the security agencies officials involved in “illegal” custody of the student.

He said the government should stop profiling of Baloch students studying in various educational institutions of the country.

The Baloch students presented several demands including action against PU security officer retired Col Obaid for facilitating the “abduction” of Baloch students.

They gave seven days to the administration for acceptance of their demands, warning of resuming the sit-in on the campus.

Regretting that Baloch students were being picked up from educational institutes, they said it was leaving a negative impact on their career and life.

Sources privy to the development says, the authorities had told the council and Imdad’s relatives that he would be released if the petition was withdrawn. The relatives agreed to do so, but have yet to withdraw the petition.

In a recent press release Hina Jilani, chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), said: “The state must understand that it cannot expect to resolve the legitimate grievances of the Baloch people if it is not prepared to let these grievances see the light of the day.”

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2022

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