Friday, September 21, 2012

Thousands of Baloch being disappeared by Pakistani state agencies

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Farzana Majeed Baloch, 27, has been going from pillar to post to get her missing brother back. She went to the police, press clubs and the court. She held a hunger strike, called human rights organizations and even the federal interior ministry. But has heard nothing. “No institution was ready to hear me. Even the Supreme Court failed,” she told GlobalPost. A colleague of her brother’s told Farzana that he witnessed security forces at a checkpoint whisk her brother and another friend away in 2009. She believes her brother is now in a detention center in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan. No Pakistan Army spokesperson was available for comment. Zakir Majeed Baloch is just one of many missing persons in Pakistan. Estimates range from less than 100 by Pakistani authorities to more than 14,000 by human rights groups. Many of them come from Balochistan. The high number of missing persons in Balochistan is not a coincidence. In the province, support for rebels demanding independence has grown rapidly in recent years. Many there feel neglected by the Pakistani state. Their province is the most impoverished, while sitting on large reserves of minerals and gas. Gas from Balochistan is distributed throughout Pakistan. But many in Balochistan still lack a gas connection and other basic amenities.,0

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