Baloch students’ sit-in in Islamabad demanding the release of missing student Hafeez Baloch has entered its 19th day, despite thunderstorms at night and sweltering heat during the day.
Several Baloch students have gathered outside the National Press Club in Islamabad, demanding the safe return of Hafeez Baloch. They are also protesting against the harassment and profiling of Baloch students and the ‘prevalent culture of fear’ at Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), Islamabad. Earlier, the students reported multiple instances of harassment and interrogation by an individual who they identified as ‘Major Murtaza’.
Mainstream media has been reporting on the vote of no confidence and related political developments in the capital, but the Baoch students’ protest in the same city has gone unnoticed.
Earlier, Activist Imaan Mazari, along with MNA Mohsin Dawar, were booked on sedition charges by Islamabad police after the two joined the protest, although the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered police not to arrest them.
Hafeez Baloch was allegedly kidnapped by masked armed men in Khuzdar, Balochistan in February.
The M.Phil student had been volunteering at a local school, teaching children for free during a vacation in his home town of Khuzdar when ‘three masked armed men came in a black surf car and forcibly took Abdul Hafeez to an unknown location in front of the students,’ Hafeez’s father told BBC.
The missing student’s family filed a complaint with the City Police Station Khuzdar regarding his disappearance, and also tried to find the missing student on their own. The family said that they did not know why he was picked up and that Hafeez did not have animosity against anyone.
Hafeez was completing his MPhil in Physics from Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad.
As reported in the Balochistan Post, students alleged that Hafeez was ‘taken away by security forces,’ making Hafeez one of many of the forcibly disappeared in Pakistan.