Dr Mahrang Baloch speaks at the press conference.— White Star
Dr Mahrang Baloch speaks at the press conference.— White Star

KARACHI: Human rights activist Dr Mahrang Baloch of the Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC) on Thursday pointed out the failure of all commissions and committees formed by the government to look into the cases of missing persons and enforced disappearances and termed such efforts ‘eyewash’.

“They are all eyewash. There is a huge difference in the numbers of missing persons given by the government and what we are reporting. There is a complete collapse of law and order when it comes to missing persons and enforced disappearances here,” she said in response to a question during a press conference at the Karachi Press Club.

The presser was called to highlight the struggles of the Baloch community that she said has been in dire straits for long.

“Things have been getting from bad to worse for the Baloch community. Last year, the Baloch Yakjehti Committee started a big campaign, where we marched from Turbat to Islamabad. In Islamabad we organised an extended sit-in and returning from there we also held a huge rally in Quetta,” said Dr Mahrang.

BYC to organise another march soon, announces Dr Mahrang; vows not to back off from her ‘peaceful struggle’

“From the time of its formation, the BYC has been working for human rights and the interest of the Baloch. We have been peaceful throughout. We never behaved otherwise during our long march or our rallies. Then why are we being threatened and harassed? Our people are continuously being arrested under fake cases. We constantly face harsh treatment and torture at the hands of government agencies,” she alleged.

“So today, through this press conference I want to make clear that despite so much wrongdoing against us, including torture, enforced disappearances, fake cases, threats, harassment, we will not back off from our work and our struggle. In fact, we have become stronger and will fight with more vigour and purpose for our cause. We will carry on fighting for our rights. But in doing all this we will not forget that we are a responsible and aware movement. We are not playing politics here. Neither do we intend to do it in the future. Therefore, the state should stop pushing us into doing something that we do not intend to do.

“We have, however, informed all local and foreign human rights defenders, committees and journalists about what we are being made to endure. So we ask the state to also behave as responsibly as we are behaving and respect the law and the Constitution,” she said.

“We are preparing for a Baloch national protest, the Baloch Raji Muchi, for which we are also in the process of preparing a booklet. We ask people from all Baloch areas to join our movement for this planned march, details of which will be shared later,” she said.

To a question regarding FIRs registered against BYC members, she said that there are some 25 FIRs filed against them. Most of the cases have been registered in Balochistan with some in Sindh and Karachi in particular, she added.

To another question about joining the government, she said that the Baloch want to be part of democracy. “Our parliament should be based on civil democracy but currently it is a hostage. It drowns voices instead of raising voices,” she said.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2024

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