QUETTA: Relatives of missing persons staged a demonstration in front of the Quetta Press Club on Saturday asking Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary to take suo motu notice of the issue.
The demonstration was organised by the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VFBMP). The protesters, several of them women and children, shouted anti-government slogans, accusing government functionaries of keeping Baloch political activists in illegal detention. They were carrying placards and displaying photographs of their loved ones some of whom have been missing for years.
Addressing the protesters, sisters of Safeer Baloch, Din Mohammad Marri and Wadood Raisani, who were reported to be missing for over a year, accused security forces of taking them hostage. They said that security forces had picked up their brothers from public places. They added that they had evidence were also produced before the judicial commission formed to relieve the Supreme Court of its constitutional obligations to defend individual freedom of the people.
“We have been on hunger strike for the past three months in a bid to attract the attention of humanitarian organisations without any success,” they said, adding that they had been threatened by some people to end their strike.
Chairman of VFBMP, Nasrullah Baloch said that the judicial commission had been formed to suppress the issue of missing persons.
“Eyewitnesses recorded their statements against security agencies before the commission but not a single missing person was recovered or added by officials in their inquiry,” he said, adding that his organisation had boycotted its proceedings.
He said that more than 8,000 persons have been reported missing in Balochistan alone and the organisation has complete data of 1,100 missing persons, adding that data had been provided to the commission.
The protestors requested the chief justice to take personal interest in the issue just as he did before his removal as the CJ.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2010.