The Norway chapter of Pen International, an organization of social activists involved in the protection of freedom of speech organised a discussion amongst activists from across the world in Oslo Norway, wherein prominent Baloch leader, Mahrang Baloch highlighted the ongoing issue of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Balochistan.

In her statement, the Baloch leader highlighted that during the last two decades, in the name of counter-insurgency operations and peace, a large number of people have been forcibly disappeared by Pakistani forces.
“The area I belong to has been reeling from violence and insurgencies for the last seven decades. During these last two decades, in the name of counter-insurgency operations and peace, a large number of young men, mostly students, engineers, doctors, political activists, and journalists have been forcibly disappeared by Pakistani security agencies,” she said.

She further stressed that these people have been detained in detention centres, and tortured, and their families didn’t know about their whereabouts.
“Not for days, but for years, even though there are cases that have been enforcedly disappeared for decades. And the family didn’t know that their beloved ones were alive or dead,” Baloch added.
Mahrang Baloch emphasised that even today, it has been practised by fascist states, the oppressive states like Pakistan.

She further added, “Still today, it’s been practised by the fascist states, by the oppressive states like Pakistan. During these last two decades, in the name of counter-insurgency operations and peace, many of our assets have forcibly disappeared. And then their mutilated bodies were found in Balochistan. They were being killed in detention centres.”

Baloch said that the exact number of disappeared is unknown, as the state has not allowed international groups such as the United Nations or Amnesty International to investigate the nature of this human tragedy.

“But when local activists’ rights groups tried to document the number or raise their voices, they themselves disappeared. It is very difficult to tell these stories of victims of forced disappearances,” she said.
While sharing her own experience of suffering at the hands of the Pakistani administration Baloch said, “I myself am a victim. My own father was disappeared by agents of Pakistani state in 2009. He was killed and his bullet-ridden body was found in 2011. When I was at 10th standard that was the day when my result was announced. That day, I found the body of my father, my younger brother disappeared when I was doing my graduation in medicine in 2017.”

She highlighted that she campaigned and launched rallies for him in Balochistan, adding that after three months he was released.
“But my case is not exceptional. There are worse cases than this in Balochistan. Even though there are victims and there are families where no one is left to tell their stories. And even though there are villages that have been destroyed and no one is here to tell their stories.”

In her statement, she also said that there are hundreds of children, teenagers and young people whose fathers, uncles or brothers have been missing for weeks, months and in some of the worst cases years.
“They do not know whether they are alive or not. Together with these youngsters, the majority of whom are women. I have been campaigning and pressing the Pakistan Supreme Court, Parliament and security forces to release those who have disappeared or at least present them before a court if they have committed any crime,” she said.

Baloch added that the Pakistani authorities instead of addressing these issues, have resorted to violence.
She also mentioned the long march which failed due to the ignorance and ill-treatment of the Pakistani administration.

“I marched more than 1600 km in December for over a month and arrived in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan on a cold evening with children and women. We were beaten, charged, humiliated and tortured by police. The controlled media was used to run a malicious campaign against us. On social media, we were abused and trolled by state accounts,” she said.

Stressing that the journalists were intimidated and stopped from giving the media coverage, Baloch said that the powerful intelligence agencies of Pakistan forced the people not to respond to the peaceful movement.

“The media ignored us through our protests. Scams were sent just outside the National Press Club of Islamabad. And there was no coverage of this peaceful movement. We have been sitting there for more than one month,” she said.

Baloch further expressed hope and said that they are hopeful because those who are behind this violence and those who are using violence, are less in number.
“Maybe they have the power to rule us. But those who believe in humanity, who believe in peace, we are large in number,” she added. 

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