DERA GHAZI KHAN/QUETTA: Police conducted a crackdown and detained “at least 20 participants, including women”, who joined the long march against the alleged “extra-judicial killings” by the Counter Terro­rism Depart­ment (CTD) in Turbat, Balochistan, as it entered the city on Sunday.

According to details, the long march of the Baloch Yakjehti Council (BYC), led by Mohammad Asif Laghari and originating from Balochistan, was intercepted by police on Shah Sikander Road in Dera Ghazi Khan city.

The police said that the participants of the march resisted, upon which they detained several men and women and transferred them to the police lines. The women were later released.

ASP City Rehmatullah Durrani told the protesters that Section 144 is in force in the district, prohibiting any procession or rally, a directive the participants refused to obey.

Among the protesters, Shaukat Ali, Asif Leghari, Miraj Leghari, Abdullah Saleh, and ten others have been detained, and legal proceedings have been initiated under Section 144, the police said.

Action will be taken against the violators under Section 144 of the Criminal Code, and this ban will remain in force till Dec 19, said the police.

Earlier, the participants of the long march held a rally in Barkhan, which was attended by a large number of locals to express solidarity with the family of Balaach Mola Bakhsh.

The spokesman for BYC stated that marchers, who had stayed overnight in Kohlu town, departed for Dera Ghazi Khan via Barkhan, the border district of Balochistan with the Punjab province.

The spokesman said that the long march was stopped by a heavy contingent of police in Dera Ghazi Khan. When protestors insisted on entering Dera Ghazi town, where a partial strike was observed, and shops were closed, the police resorted to Baton charge.

He noted that at least 20 participants of the long march, including two women, were taken into custody and shifted to an unknown location.

The BYC leaders condemned the baton charge on the participants of the long march, affirming that they will not abandon their struggle and are determined to reach Islamabad to register their protest against the “extrajudicial killing” of Mr Bakhsh.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2023

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