The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ordered the interior secretary to develop a framework to end ethnic profiling of Baloch students and ‘stop what is happening to them’.
The directives were issued by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah during the hearing of a petition filed by lawyer and human rights activist Imaan Zainab Hazir. The petition sought action against the harassment of Baloch students who had been protesting last month over the enforced disappearance of their peer, Hafiz Baloch.
During an earlier hearing of the case, CJ Minallah had directed President Arif Alvi to take note of the on-going ethnic profiling of the students and ensure an end to the practice. In today’s hearing, Imaan Mazari revealed that the president had in fact talked to Baloch students and given them assurances regarding the matter.
However, another Baloch student, Bebgar Imdad, was picked up by security forces outside Punjab University just yesterday (Wednesday), she revealed to the court. Similarly, she added, Dr. Dildar Baloch, was picked up from Karachi.
Minallah commented that despite the gravity and reality of these issues, the previous government had also ignored them, and asked Imaan who was responsible, to which she replied that the chief executive and relevant agencies were responsible.
The CJ remarked that once political parties come into power, they forget all their past promises, asking, “Why is there a human rights ministry when neither the previous government nor this one did anything?”
Deputy Attorney General Syed Mohammad Tayyab Shah told the chief justice that the prime minister had visited Balochistan recently, and requested for more time to ask the new government for instructions.
Baloch Student Picked Up Outside Punjab University
On Wednesday, Bebgar Imdad was picked up by plainclothes men from the Punjab University hostels, where he had been staying with his cousin.
Imdad is a seventh semester English Literature student at NUML, Islamabad, and is originally from the Kech district of Balochistan. Anonymous sources told reporters at Dawn that the PU agencies had suspected Imdad of involvement in the Karachi University blast, that killed four people on Tuesday.
Allegedly, the security forces, while forcing Imdad into a pickup truck, had told his friends, who had tried to intervene, that he would be released by evening if found innocent. However, by evening that day, Imdad remained missing.