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Enforced disappearances in Balochistan spike during Imran Khan period

Baloch activists have organised a three-day photo exhibition called "Balochistan Land of Enforced Disappearances" at the Broken Chair sculpture which stands across UN Geneva in an effort to raise awareness about the large number of political activists, intellectuals and students who have gone missing in Pakistan's Balochistan province in the past few decades.

Enforced disappearances in Balochistan spike during Imran Khan period
File photo.

New Delhi

The exhibition organised by Baloch Voice Association has a poster titled, "Balochistan is under occupation of Pakistan since March 1948". 

The Baloch activists seek to gain attention of the UN Human Rights Council, UN rapporteurs and UN treaty bodies to the issue of enforced disappearances being done with impunity in Balochistan. 

The families allege that Pakistan's spy agencies are behind enforced disappearances, tortures and killings of these missing persons. 

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has claimed many times that his government will end the practice of enforced disappearances, and even Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari had meet the family members of the victims and claimed that her government is going to present a bill to punish those involved in the practice of enforced disappearances. 

But as per family members, media reports, human rights organisations, and civil society organisations, the practice of enforced disappearance has increased during the Imran Khan regime despite claims for ending or reducing it, according to a policy brief by the Geneva Press Club. 

Among the speakers was Canada Based Professor Naela Quadri, a senior Baloch politician and Chairman of the Baloch Peoples Congress (BPC). Quadri has been involved and has played very important roles in Baloch politics from her childhood. She has boldy faced the tyranny of the Pakistani state forces in Balochistan. She and her family members have been imprisoned extrajudicially because of her bold and loud voice against state aggressions. She is famously known as the "Iron lady of Balochistan". 

It also included Swiss-based Sardar Shaukat Kashmiri, a senior politician and Chairman of United Kashmir Peoples National Party (UKPNP). 

He has been in politics from his school age and played very important role in the politics of the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Because of his voice of conciousness, he was imprisoned extra-judicially many times and was also held by force by the Pakistan Army during which he was incommunicado. 

He and his party has been continuously raising the issues of abuse of rights in PoK at various international platforms, including the UN and European Parliament, and even in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. 

On the issue of the enforced disappearances, former Minister in Benazir Bhutto's government Farhatullah Babar said on Twitter,:"Tragically human rights issues are viewed with political lenses. Calls to end Guantanamo bay like prisons in ex FATA & enforced disappearances by law enforcing agencies in Pakistan are made to appear as 5-G war against state instead of violations of human rights of its citizens. " 

The Baloch Voice Association said enforced disappearances have torn apart Baloch families for years. 

Fazila Baloch, an activist said in an earlier tweet: "Balochistan : For own interests at gun point Pakistan can build Gwadar port. Why can't the same Gov't build schools, universities, hospital's and many more at their gun points. Yeah it's simple, as Shaheed Nawab Akbar Bugti said, They just want our national wealth." 

Secunder Kermani said in a tweet: Following our report on assaults and abductions of activists & journalists in Pakistan - allegedly by intel services, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlorhrds tells @AmroliwalaBBC 'there is complete impunity, and impunity drives more attacks'."

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