As October 4 marks the fourth year of the disappearance of a Baloch student leader, Shabbir Baloch, Canadian Baloch rights activists protested against Pakistan’s atrocities in Balochistan. Shabir was arrested, following which he disappeared back in 2016 from Awaran, Balochistan. He was allegedly abducted by the Pakistani Army from Gowarkop when he was attending the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The army had conducted a raid at the place where the gathering was being held and Shabir, along with a few others, was picked up.
According to ANI, speakers, including Karima Baloch, Lateef Johar, Zaffar Baloch, Tarek Fatah, and Hajan Kalhoro, condemned the human rights violations in Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The activists demanded the immediate release of Shabir and all those who disappeared. The World Sindhi Congress and Pashtun Tahafuz Movement actively participated in the protest gathering in the Canadian city.
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Taking to Twitter, Zaffar shared pictures of the protests and said that they demand an ‘end to atrocities’ in Balochistan. In a video message, he said that the reason why the Pakistani authorities ‘had a problem’ with the student leader was because of his ‘agitation, his demands’ asking the rights of the Baloch people and Balochistan. The human rights activists demanded to ‘end Pakistani military occupation’ in the regions and also demanded to free Balochistan.
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Balochistan is the least developed province of Pakistan and the movement for freedom has been going for the past several decades. Several Baloch believe that the region was independent before 1947 and was forcibly occupied by Pakistan. According to ANI reports, the Pakistani Army has launched several operations in Balochistan and has supported criminals, which locals call ‘death squad’.
A number of political activists, intellectuals, women and children in the Balochistan province are reportedly victims of enforced disappearance by the security agencies. It is reported that many of them are languishing in detention centres and mutilated bodies of several others, who were abducted, were found in isolated places.
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