IHC seeks report from Islamabad police IG on detention of Baloch protesters

Baloch protesters

Faizan Khan

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday directed the Islamabad Police Inspector General (IG) to submit a report by Friday on the status of the Baloch protesters who were detained for blocking roads and pelting stones at the police.

IHC Chief Justice Amir Farooq heard a petition filed by lawyer Iman Mazari on behalf of the Baloch protesters, who have been staging a long march from Turbat to Islamabad against the alleged enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of Baloch people.

Islamabad Police IG Dr Akbar Nasir Khan appeared before the court and said that some of the protesters had been camping outside the National Press Club for 23 days without any incident, but on Wednesday they blocked the road at 26 Number Chongi and later reached Ayub Chowk, where they clashed with the police.

He claimed that the protesters had weapons, snatched uniforms from the police, and injured some of the personnel. He said that no women or children were in the police custody, and one woman had been released by the court concerned.

He said that the prime minister had also formed a committee to address the grievances of the protesters. He said that two cases had been registered against 215 people, and the investigation was under way.

Amnesty International, HRCP condemn police crackdown on Baloch protesters

The chief justice asked the IG to provide the names and details of the 215 accused, and also to check if any of the 86 people mentioned in the petition were among them. He also asked the police IG to ensure that no police officer harassed or mistreated the protesters.

The IHC adjourned the hearing till Friday after seeking a comprehensive report from the police IG.

Govt committee meets Baloch protesters

Meanwhile, a high-level committee comprising Caretaker Privatisation Minister Fawad Hassan Fawad, Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi, Caretaker Minister for National Heritage Jamal Shah, Caretaker Minister for Religious Affairs Aniq Ahmad and Chief Commissioner Islamabad Anwaar met with the women participants of the Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC) at the Police Station for Women in Islamabad.

The committee listened to their grievances and assured them of resolving all legal and justified issues and concerns.

The meeting came after the protest rally by Baloch women and children led by Dr Mahrang Baloch reached Islamabad.

The protesters demand the release of their missing relatives, who they alleged were abducted by the security forces as part of a crackdown on the Baloch nationalist movement.

Earlier, the Islamabad police used force against the protesters and arrested several of them, sparking condemnation from human rights groups and activists.

The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COIOED) reported that 8,696 cases of missing persons have been registered in Pakistan, many of them from Balochistan. However, the actual number may be much higher, as many families fear reprisals if they report the disappearances.

The fate and whereabouts of many of the disappeared remain unknown.

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