Protests for the safe recovery of missing persons and forceful abductions have been a regular trend in Balochistan over the past decade.
But what now seems to be unusual is the increased strength of women in these protests. While the media maintains its blackout, with pictures of their missing loved ones in their hands and tears in their eyes, Baloch women are protesting outside Quetta Press Club every single day.
The protest started after the female family members of missing student activist, Shabir Baloch, started the symbolic hunger strike outside the press club.
But what has encouraged these brave women to take to the streets instead of the men? Chairman of ‘Voice for Baloch Missing Persons’, Nasarullah Baloch says the reason is ‘fear’. They are scared of meeting the same fate, hence have become voiceless in this regard. This is the reason why the number of male protestors in decreasing, while more women are raising their voice.
The organization working for the safe recovery of forcefully abducted says that over 18000 people have been abducted since 2014. What has compelled these women to go out of their houses is how for years they have been promised that their grievances will be addressed, but nothing has been practically done.
Protesting with the women of Shabbir Baloch’s family is, Zubaida, the wife of Naseer Baloch. Originally belonging from Makran, Zubaida says her husband along with his three friends were abducted from University Road Karachi on 15th November 2017.
About a year has passed, but there are no whereabouts. No one knows where he is and what happened to him. Zubaida says she is tired of lying to her 6-year-old daughter, who asks about her father every day.
To show solidarity with the protestors, Human Rights Activist Advocate Jalila Haider is also standing firm with them. She says that forceful abductions are a clear violation of the individuals’ constitutional rights. If the missing people are involved in any unlawful activity, they should be punished through courts.
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