Members of the Baloch Human Rights Organisation (BHRO) have raised a call for the safe return of the group’s central information secretary, Nawaz Ata, and seven other teenaged students who they claim were picked up by security agencies in a raid in Gulistan-e-Jauhar on Saturday night.
Speaking at a protest camp outside the Karachi Press Club, members of the BHRO and relatives of the ‘missing’ students asserted that the organisation was an apolitical rights body and that the detained men had no involvement in dissident activities.
“The students are between 13 to 17 years old, while Ata is a human rights activists and a student of international relations. They have nothing to do with militancy,” said one of protesters. “The BHRO raises a voice for the recovery of missing persons in a peaceful manner. Still, though, we continue to face increasing repression.”
The protesters demanded the immediate release of the detainees and for their arrests to be officially declared. They appealed to other rights bodies, such as the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and civil society organisations to raise their voices against ‘enforced disappearances’ of Baloch students, including Ata. However, The News could not verify the arrests independently as officials of the local police station expressed complete ignorance about the raid.