Although the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had directed Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to hear the grievances of protesting Baloch students, the minister reportedly laughed and dismissed the students’ complaints when they appeared before him.
According to Imaan Mazari, an advocate who accompanied the Baloch students, when the students began describing their ordeal, Minister Sheikh Rashid laughed and told them to go visit Imaan’s mother, who is Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari.
Sheikh Rashid reportedly told the aggrieved students that there was no point in meeting him as he ‘won’t be in office tomorrow,’ presumably referring to the imminent vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
ہمیں کل رات اطلاع ملی کہ بلوچ طلباء وزیر داخلہ سے دوپہر 2 بجے ملاقات کریں گے۔ آج، ہمیں صبح 10.30 بجے ایک کال موصول ہوئی جس میں کہا گیا تھا کہ ہم ایک گھنٹے میں پہنچ جائیں۔ جب ہم پہنچے تو ہمیں وزیر داخلہ سے ملنے کے لیے لے جایا گیا. جب طلبہ اپنی آزمائش بیان کر رہے تھے تو وزیر داخلہ
— Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir (@ImaanZHazir) March 31, 2022
The IHC was hearing a petition filed by rights activist Imaan Mazari contesting the first information report (FIR) filed against her and the protesting Baloch students.
IHC CJ Athar Minallah had earlier issued a strongly worded court order asserting that the Baloch students should not be silenced, and even went as far as to suggest that Prime Minister Imran Khan should have visited the protesting students directly.
“Raising slogans, no matter how harsh, by no stretch of the imagination, can be treated as a criminal conspiracy or an offence. The offences mentioned in the FIR [First Information Report] also show that, prima facie, an attempt has been made to create a chilling effect to discourage dissent and expressing grievances stemming from the acts or inaction of the state,” the order read.
The Baloch students had staged a sit-in demanding the release of missing M.Phil student Hafeez Baloch, who was picked up by armed men from his hometown in Khuzdar, Balochistan in February.