Qadeer Baloch appeals UN to break silence on the issue of missing persons in Balochistan

| December 2, 2013
Photo: flickr/Sharnoff's Global Views

A long march of around 20 families for the safe recovery of their loved ones started on October 27 from Balochistan, Pakistan and finally culminated in Karachi, Pakistan after distancing 750 km on foot without inspiring any change in the status quo. 

The families, comprising children, women and men, travelled on mountainous and plain areas of Southwestern Balochistan on foot and ended their journey after 27 days on Friday November 22 at Karachi Press Club, the provincial capital of Sindh. 

Qadeer Baloch, more known as "Mama Qadeer Baloch" said this was an attempt to shed light on the issue of forced disappearances in Balochistan. Baloch says Pakistani national media, in particular the electronic media, largely ignored the protestors of the march.

Emotionally charged marchers carried pictures of their loved ones and chanted slogans for more than three hours and finally staged a sit-in in front of Karachi Club for an indefinite period, but still failed to catch the attention of Pakistani national media and civilian government. 

Organizers of the demonstration, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), said their march aimed to raise awareness about the number of alleged illegal abductions and murders of Baloch political workers in the Balochistan region, but media negligence has made it impossible for them to spread their message among the masses. 

Among the marchers was 26 year old Farzana Majeed, the sister of missing student leader Zakir Majeed. Majeed's brother Zakir has been missing since 2009 after his arrest by an unidentified gunmen. Majeed accuses the military and FC of abducting her brother. 

Majeed repeatedly plead, "What is our fault? Why is Pakistani and international media ignoring our march for the recovery of our loved ones. We have marched for 27 days, but the media is completely silent and by ignoring our peaceful and democratic protest they are pushing us against the wall."

Majeed added "I will not remain silent whether they ignore or kill, I will continue to protest until they recover all missing people including my brother."

Others marchers include Nasrullah Baloch, whose uncle has been missing for 11 years, Mama Qadeer Baloch, whose cousin has been missing since 2001 and Jalil Reki, seven years old, whose father has allegedly been "extrajudicially killed after a year of his disappearance by security agencies."

Baloch, voice chairman VBMP, says they’ll continue their protest in Karachi and will hold a vigil and begin a hunger strike in front of the Karachi Press Club for an indefinite period.

Baloch also criticizes state and local and international media for not giving due coverage to their march. 

"We have been protesting for the last five years against enforced disappearances and human injustice," Baloch lamented and complained that the media was paying no heeds to this human crisis in Balochistan region. 

According to Baloch, there are 23,000 registered cases of disappeared persons in Balochistan.From this, 14,000 came during the tenure of Pakistan's People’s Party led government.

Baloch says since June 2010, 730 missing persons have been extrajudicially killed after their arrest and disappearance. Balochistan government officials confirm the extrajudicial killings of 530 persons during this time.

Baloch announced to initiate another phase of struggle on foot towards Islamabad or the United Nations. He appealed to the United Nations and international media to break their silence on the issue of missing persons in Pakistani province of Balochistan. 

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