In solidarity with the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons!

Over the past few days, the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons have been protesting in Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad. The VBMP is a collective of families of Baloch who have been abducted over the past many years. There is overwhelming evidence that Pakistani security forces – the Pakistan Army and its intelligence agencies – are behind industrial-scale enforced disappearance, running into the thousands.

The disappearances began after George W Bush first demanded the military regime of Pervez Musharraf to deliver suspect militants. Since then, the Pakistani military state expanded disappearances, targeting especially critics of military violence, especially from Pakistan’s racialised and marginalised groups, including Baloch, Pashtuns, Sindhis as well as members of various political groups. Enforced disappearances in Pakistan’s southern province of Balochistan increased after a 2014 investment in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, eerily mirroring the violence perpetrated by China against Uighurs in “Xinjiang.”

The geographies of military and police violence against Baloch extends well beyond Pakistan. In Iran too the Baloch community has been a persistent victim of extrajudicial killings, executions and forced disappearances. In recent months the Iranian state has intensified this campaign and since mid December 2020 at least 24 Baloch prisoners have been executed. Several Baloch prisoners are currently in death row and remain in imminent danger of execution despite statements by the UN and Amnesty International. The recent rise in executions led to the popular social media campaign #StopBalochsExecution.

At the Global Prison Abolitionist Coalition we stand in solidarity with the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons as well as the many other movements against enforced disappearances in Pakistan, like the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement, the Missing Persons of Sindh and Defence for Human Rights.

Key leaders of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement arrested in Pakistan

Key leaders of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement have been arrested in Pakistan in a new round of crackdown. The first person arrested in this round (there’s been other rounds of arrests before) was Ali Wazir on 17 December, a member of parliament who was on his way to an event commemorating an attack by the Pakistan Taliban on an Army Public School in Peshawar. Commemorations of the event are extremely tenuous, since the attack indicated that the military is completely incapable of providing security even to their own children; it throws their claims that they are providing national security into doubt. To date, the military has not allowed mothers of the 120 children who were shot dead to launch a proper inquiry into how the school could be raided.


Ali Wazir’s decision to attend the commemoration of that attack and the children that were killed was seen as an affront to the military since he is a major leader within the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement, which has mainly pointed the finger at the collusion of military, militants and American empire (through drone attacks) in violence against the cross-Afghanistan/Pakistan border Pashtun community. He’s a Marxist Pashtun, an immensely popular leader, and this is not the first time he has been arrested.
Several other leaders in the movements have been arrested since Wazir’s arrest, including Abdul Haq and Dr Said Alam Mehsud. Of the 45 who were arrested about 2-3 days ago a few have been released.

There have also been a series of other abductions and killings around Pakistan, less covered because the activists who have been abducted or killed are not as famous as PTM leaders.

Read more about the arrest of Ali Wazir on December 17, 2020:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1596189/mna-ali-wazir-arrested-in-peshawar-at-sindh-police-request