Balochistan, in Pakistan’s south-west, is the site of an intense struggle for self-determination that has been met with violent repression from the Pakistani state. Baloch Students Organisation-Azad (BSO-A), which organises for Baloch self-determination, released the statement below calling for justice for Baloch activist Zahid Baloch, who was abducted in 2014.
Zahid Baloch is a student and ex-BSO-A chair. He was abducted by Pakistan’s security agency from Quetta in Balochistan on March 18, 2014. It has been more than 1000 days since he was abducted and his whereabouts are still unknown.
BSO-A chair Karima Baloch, along with three other BSO-A leaders, are eye witnesses of Zahid’s abduction.
Zahid is a resident of Nall in Khuzdar district. He was a political science student at the University of Karachi, but he left his studies when Pakistan started its “kill and dump” policy against Baloch activists.
Six months before his abduction, he told the BBC that “Pakistani forces have abducted and killed many of his friends and if he was caught he too will be abducted and killed”.
Karima revealed Zahid’s abduction a month later. She announced worldwide demonstrations calling for the safe recovery of Zahid. A BSO-A leader Latif launched a hunger strike to demand the safe recovery of Zahid Baloch.
Zar Jan, Zahid’s wife, tried to lodge a First Information Report (FIR) with police in Quetta, but police refused to file any report. After a court petition was submitted to the High Court Balochistan, police eventually filed an FIR on the court’s order.
Protests and demonstrations took place in Balochistan and worldwide for Zahid’s recovery. Amnesty International, Asian Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Watch, International Court of Jurists, Human Rights Council of Pakistan, Baloch Human Rights Organization and many other international human rights groups condemned Zahid’s abduction and appealed to Pakistan to seek his safe recovery.
Yet more than three years later, no one has heard from Zahid. Like in the case of thousands of abducted Baloch people, the Pakistani government and army are silent.
Since Zahid’s disappearance, other BSO-A activists and leaders have been forcibly abducted. Shabir Baloch, the BSO-A’s information secretary, was abducted from Gwarkup on October 4 last year and is still missing. Zakir Majeed was abducted in 2009 and remains missing. Other activists have been killed.
Due to the silence of international organisations and democratic countries, Pakistan has neither released the abductees nor stopped killing Baloch activists. Now it is starting to carry out abductions and killings in a manner reminiscent of the Pakistani army’s infamous mass killings in Bangladesh in 1971.