Billboards go up around London calling for an end to Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan.

Press release – June 20, 2019
London, United Kingdom — Human rights campaigners from the World Baloch Organisation
and the Baloch Republican Party continue their campaign to highlight the dire human rights
situation in Pakistan. In their latest initiative, Roadside billboards have been put up around
the city of London with slogans “ Help end enforced disappearances in Pakistan” bringing
the world’s attention towards the grave issue.
Bhawal Mengal from the World Baloch Organisation said “This is a call for help, our people need help,
we need someone to put their foot down and say enough is enough, Baloch, Sindhi, Pashtun, Mohajirs
and religious minorities in Pakistan have the right to live without oppression . Mothers, sisters and
daughters weep for their loved ones not knowing if they are dead or alive. It is not only the victim that
suffers but the entire family, not knowing the whereabouts of their loved ones for years or in most
cases for ever”. Mengal’s uncle Assaudullah Mengal was one of the first victims of enforced
disappearances in 1974 at the hands of state forces, never to be seen again.

The billboards have gone up on major motorways and tourist spots around the city including
Westminster where the Parliament House is located. This comes as the UK hosts the quadrennial ICC
cricket world cup attracting thousands of cricket fans to the country . The activists hope to grab the
attention of Londoners and those who have gathered from all around the world to witness the event.
According to the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, an entity established by the
Pakistani government, 5000 cases of enforced disappearances have been registered since 2014. Most
of them are still unresolved. Independent local and international human rights organizations put the
numbers much higher. 20,000 have reportedly been abducted only from Balochistan, out of which
more than 2,500 have turned up dead as bullet riddled dead bodies, bearing signs of extreme torture.

“The cases of enforced disappearances continue unabated as we campaign for an end to this heinous
crime against humanity”, said a spokesman of the BRP, adding “there is hardly any household in
Balochistan which has not lost a member as a result of enforced disappearances”.

Teenage Ali Haider, who started protesting for the release of his missing father as a child 10 years
ago, has himself become a victim of enforced disappearances at the hands of state authorities.

Earlier, in January 2014 a mass grave was discovered in Tootak area of Khuzdar. 167 bodies were
recovered from the site. Human rights organisations believed the bodies belonged to previously
abducted individuals who were killed and dumped however the recovered bodies were later buried by
authorities without any DNA testing.

Pakistan’s establishment has been long criticized over its practice of enforced disappearances and
extrajudicial killings by International bodies and local human rights organisations that dare to speak
out on the issue. Before being elected as Prime Minister, Imran Khan had admitted in multiple TV
interviews the involvement of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies in enforced disappearances and extra
judicial killings and vowed to resign if he was unable to put an end to the practice, holding those
involved responsible. Families of the abducted victims have long been protesting for the safe recovery
of their loved ones in the provincial capital Quetta, and their protest camp has now completed more
than 3500 days.

The organizers of the campaign have long been engaged in efforts to highlight the worsening human
rights situation in Balochistan at international platforms, organising events around Europe and in the
United States, focusing on advocacy activities in the European Parliament, the US parliamentary houses,
and the United Nations.

The WBO and the BRP are non-violent and democratic organisations led by Baloch individuals,
dedicated to raising awareness of the dire situation of human rights in Balochistan.

 

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