Government and LEAs violate human rights’ codes as Zahid Baloch is missing for the last two years

Picture of Zahid Baloch
Picture of Zahid Baloch missing from the post two years.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding the disappearance of a Baloch student leader, who was arrested two years ago, on 18 March 2014, by persons from the nation’s military intelligence agency, the ISI. Since then his whereabouts are unknown, and he was not presented in any court of law. Now, students and activists raising awareness about his continued disappearance are being harassed by State agencies.

Mr. Zahid Baloch alias Baloch Khan, Chairman of Baloch Student Organisation Azad (BSO-A) was arrested from the office of BSO-A in the suburbs of Quetta City, the capital of Balochistan Province, on 18 March, 2014 by persons dressed in civilian clothes who identified themselves as officers of the ISI. They were accompanied by uniformed Frontier Corp (FC’s) personnel.

Baloch was holding a meeting with members of the executive committee of BSO-A. The ISI personnel raided the meeting place and arrested Baloch. They told the participants that since the BSO-A is a banned organization, therefore, the meeting is illegal.

A question must be asked: if the organisation is banned then why did the officers not arrest all of the participants? In fact, intelligence had been following Baloch for some time with the intention of arresting him.

In the latest development, many students and activists have been harassed and arrested who have been protesting against Baloch’s disappearance. A student, Lateef Johar, who held a hunger strike unto death for the recovery of Baloch, was also threatened and harassed by the State agencies, something that compelled him to leave the country.

Also, a frontline human right defender, Ms. Noor e Maryam Kanwer, has been harassed for her stand. Ms Kanwer is the Chairperson/Director of Pakistan Youth Alliance, an NGO working in fields of counter-extremism, peace building, conflict resolution, and social welfare.

In the past one year, she has been constantly harassed and pursued by the intelligence agencies for supporting Voice of Baloch Missing Person (VBMP) and for actively taking part in the Baloch rights movement.

Since the murder of Ms. Sabeen Mahmood, a female activist, Ms. Kanwer has been receiving threats to her life. She also had to leave the country for some months to avoid threats on her life. This forced her to discontinue her activism.

She was organising a protest and mobilizing the youth against enforced disappearance, particularly with respect to the disappearance of Zahid Baloch.

Mr. Baloch Khan told the BBC that he will be arrested in the coming days and will also be killed extrajudicially like other members of the Baloch community.