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The Moment Time Stops

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

How does one measure time? I suppose the criterion varies from individual to individual, from situation to situation and this means that time is and can be measured in different ways. True, some may measure it nonchalantly in their life of opulence and ease while some may measure it as a tedious exercise in their abject poverty.

The different attitude to measuring time is dependent on the usual circumstances that human live and survive in but how does one measure time in extraordinary and abnormal circumstances for then the measurement requires completely different parameters.

I have asked this question to understand how does a person whose father, brother, son or other relative has been disappeared measure time and bide time in hope when their loved one will come or what news will they receive about them? Just give it a kind and considerate thought for I cannot ask you to put yourself in their shoes for we may feel a lot for them but we cannot truly relate to the pain these people suffer specially when the abductor is the State and the abductee is a Baloch when thousands of Baloch families have seen the bodies of their disappeared ones dumped somewhere tortured and mutilated inhumanly with drills, burns, bullets and broken bones.

For Sammi Baloch, her younger sister Mehlub and their family the time is frozen at dawn of 28th June 2009 when they received a gut-wrenching call from the driver of the ambulance at hospital where their father Dr. Deen Mohammad worked in official capacity as a government doctor. The driver told them that people of law enforcement agencies had come and forcibly taken him away and manhandled another of his colleague there. That horror-stricken moment is forever etched on their souls as they strive and struggle for his recovery and in trepidation also wait for news about him.

Banuk Sammi was only 10 years old then and was suffering from chronic tonsillitis which her father Dr. Deen Mohammad had promised to get treated once he is free but that promise remains unfulfilled for, he languishes in unknown conditions in unknown dungeon in Pakistani custody. From that tender age she has been striving for recovery and release of her father; she has appealed to different forums, different persons and to people and world at large but all seem helpless in helping her or thousands of others whose relatives are missing.

When time stops it is an unbearable burden for though it stops in a way but that doesn’t mean that problems too stop. Her mother is ill and is all the time naturally obsessed with his fate and recovery. Time stops but that doesn’t mean your needs vanish, they only become increasingly difficult to satisfy because your provider and your protector has been unjustly snatched from you.

Dr. Deen Mohammad was not a gun carrying militant he was a member of the Baloch National Movement and wrote about the injustices and the missing persons. Banuk Sammi says if he has committed a crime he should be tried and it is absolutely inhuman to deny them the love and protection of their father.

Banuk Sammi along with Banuk Farzana and others participated in the 105-day duration Long March which began in Quetta in October 2013 and culminated in Islamabad in March 2014. I had the honour of being the part of this historic Long March and have seen blisters on her feet as well as Farzana Majeed. I once asked her that despite the pain from the blisters and all the tiredness and unfavourable circumstances during the March how could she continue, to which she replied that, “The pain of a missing father is thousand times more painful than all the blisters in the world and it was for him that I was walking and am ready to accept all the pain that comes my way in efforts for recovery for him.”

For Farzana Majeed and her Family the time stopped on 8th June 2009 and despite her efforts her missing brother Zakir Majeed is still missing. Banuk Farzana along with Mama Qadeer was the motivating force behind the Long March.

For Ali Haider Baloch the time stopped on July 14th 2010 when his father Mohammad Ramzan was picked up by agencies in front of him and a decade has nearly passed without any news about him. To add more to his misery, he himself was disappeared last year in June for a few days last year. He and his sister and aunt marched with Mama from Quetta to Islamabad.

For Haseeba Qambarani and her family the life has stopped more than once; once when her brother Salman and cousin Gazzain were picked by State from Qilli Qambarani in June 2015 and on 11thAugust 2016 when they saw their horribly tortured bodies. They were hoping their already shattered world would be left alone but when the State becomes a man-eater it never relents and on February 14th her brother Hassan and cousin Hizbullah were picked up and once more their lives are shattered and time frozen in one moment of horror which never seems to tick away.

For Mama Qadeer the time stopped ticking on 13th February 2009 when his son Jalil Ahmed Reki was picked up and it turned into a moment of horror on 23rd November 2011 when Jalil’s body was recovered and that moment of horror has seen him spend 11 years protesting outside press clubs. There are thousands of families that are living with the eternally frozen moment of horror when their loved ones are abducted or their mutilated bodies found.

Seemingly the State has visceral fear tinged by hate towards Baloch and it continues to destroy lives of people in Balochistan in an organized and systematic manner otherwise why else the body of Sangat Sana would have 28 bullet wounds on his heart and body and why would Jalil Reki’s body have 3 bullet wounds on heart. The fact is that they know these are the hearts that they can never subdue and so show their wrath on those they can and do pick up.

These are the few stories of the pain and sorrow that the Baloch people suffer when their loved ones go missing. As much as I may want but I cannot bring myself to appeal for kind heartedness from the State for I know it is as heartless as it is soulless so appealing to it useless. If they for so long have not been able to hear and see the pain of Banuk, Sammi Deen, Banuk Farzana Majeed and Banuk Haseeba Qambarani they will not be able to hear me too.

رہزن ہے میرا رہبر
منصف ہے میرا قاتل
کہہ دوں تو بغاوت ہے
سہہ لوں تو قیامت ہے

The writer has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He tweets at mmatalpur and can be contacted atmmatalpur@gmail.com

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Pakistan Still Seen As ‘Safe Haven’ For Regional Militant Groups

A U.S. government report has noted that despite some counterterrorism measures, Pakistan still remains a sanctuary for Islamist militant groups focused on attacks inside its South Asian neighbors.

Pakistan remained a safe harbor for other regionally focused terrorist groups,” noted the U.S. State Department’s Annual Country Report on Terrorism 2019, which was released on June 24.

“It allowed groups targeting Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban and affiliated HQN [Haqqani network], as well as groups targeting India, including LeT [Lashkar-e Tayyiba] its affiliated front organizations, and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), to operate from its territory,” the report added.

Islamabad, however, rejected the findings. “We are disappointed,” said a June 25 statement by the Pakistani Foreign Affairs Ministry. “[The report] is self-contradictory and selective in its characterization of Pakistan’s efforts for countering terrorism and terrorist financing.”

The U.S. report noted that despite committing to “ensure that no armed militias are allowed to function in the country,” under its counterterrorism National Action Plan, Islamabad has done little to prevent LeT, JeM, and the Haqqani network, the Afghan Taliban’s most dangerous militant wing, from operating from its territory.

“The government and military acted inconsistently with respect to terrorist safe havens throughout the country,” the report said. “Authorities did not take sufficient action to stop certain terrorist groups and individuals from openly operating in the country.”

The report said that Islamabad failed to act against known terrorists. “JeM founder and UN-designated terrorist Masood Azhar and 2008 Mumbai attack ‘project manager’ Sajid Mir, both of whom are believed to remain free in Pakistan,” it noted.

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4000 Days Of Protest: What Did Balochistan Achieve?

The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons’ historical protest reached a 4000-day hallmark on 25 June. To mark this seemingly unreachable milestone, The Balochistan Post has decided to publish a 3-part report to retrace its background, recount its development and analyze its achievements. This is the Part-I of the endeavour that will attempt to provide the historical background of the VBMP’s 11-year long protest and survey the underlying causes that led to it.

Since the “forceful annexation” in March 1948, Balochistan has been subjected to interminable inhumane suppression. Against the wishes of its inhabitants, Pakistani state has been blamed to use Balochistan as launchpad for its proxy wars in the region, as an ownerless land to execute its nuclear tests, as a geostrategic site to bolster its rosy illusions of a soaring economy and has treated it like a Cockaigne meant to be plundered. The mineral-rich Balochistan has been feeding impecunious Pakistan for decades now – through Coal, Marble, Iron, Copper, Gold, and Natural Gas. But critics argue that Pakistan has reciprocated for millions of dollars’ worth of resources only through cruelty and negligence. This unappreciative response of the Pakistani state has stimulated five episodes of insurgency that have led to the loss of thousands of lives and have morphed Balochistan into a terrible bloodbath. Thousands of sons of the Baloch soil have been killed and dumped into mass graves or thrown away at deserted locations. The sole breadwinners of countless other Baloch families have been abducted and are kept in confinement to this day.

These outrageous circumstances led to the creation of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, a rights organisation campaigning to cease the enforced disappearances in Balochistan and for the recovery of the already missing persons.

Formally, the VBMP was founded in October 2009, but its affiliates had been vocalizing against the human rights abuses since 2000, when Ali Asghar Bangulzai, a tailor by profession, was temporarily detained by the paramilitary forces. He was released after a 14-day confinement but was again abducted in 2001 in Quetta; 19 years later, his condition and whereabouts remain unknown. This incident prompted Bangulzai’s nephew, Nasrullah Baloch, to raise voices against enforced disappearances in Balochistan.

Mama Qadeer Baloch and family members of missing persons in the protest camp.

In 2009, Zakir Majeed, a student-leader and the then General Secretary of Baloch Student Organization Azad, was abducted from Mastung. His sister Farzana Majeed and his mother have been protesting for his safe recovery ever since, but to no avail. After 11 years, Majeed is nowhere to be seen or heard.

Jalil Ahmad Rekhi, the then Information Secretary of Baloch Republican Party and son of Mama Qadeer Baloch, was abducted in 2009 from Quetta. Along with a few other suffering families, Qadeer organized a protest in Quetta to question the unjustified abduction of his son and to make the cries of the victimized families heard. The intelligence services of Pakistan – ISI and MI – sent word to Qadeer through Samad Badini, son of the former Senator Waleem Muhammad Badini, demanding 2 million rupees in ransom for the release of Jalil Rekhi. When Qadeer refused, the intelligence agency stooped to threats – either to abandon the protestor to receive the dead body of his son. Qadeer refused and resultantly, Rekhi’s disfigured, bruised, tortured and cauterized body was found near Iran border in 2011.

These three incidents compelled Nasrullah Baloch, Mama Qadeer Baloch and Farzana Majeed – the most active voices of the VBMP – to initiate a peaceful protest against enforced disappearances and for the retrieval of the Baloch missing persons in 2009. A makeshift tent was pitched in front of the Quetta Press Club that stands to this day and shelters the families of the Baloch missing persons. That day, the ulterior resistance against state atrocities transformed into an open peaceful protest.

An indefinite protest was employed as a last resort. Despite the warnings from United Nations’ fact-finding missions, requests and recommendations from international and national human rights organizations, disapproval of the USA and European parliamentarians and incessant taunts by its archrival India, Pakistan did not take any long-term measure to curb the enforced disappearances.

Talking to a conference in Islamabad after a 10-day long mission to Pakistan in 2012, the UN delegation confirmed that thousands of persons are missing from Balochistan. The UN officials said that enforced disappearances cannot be allowed in any circumstances. “According to the 1992 Declaration for Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearances, no circumstances whatsoever, whether a threat of war, a state of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked to justify enforced disappearances,” the delegation said. Pakistan’s culpability was exposed when the country’s top institutions – the Supreme Court and the Military Establishment – refused to meet the fact-finding mission. Instead of taking heed of the UN’s recommendations and resolving the aforesaid issues, the Pakistani politicians criticized their visit, citing that their presence was the “violation of the country’s sovereignty.”

Time and again, the Amnesty International has condemned the enforced disappearances in Balochistan and requested the government to take immediate action. In countless reports and press releases, the UK-based human rights organization has recommended amendments in the belligerent policies of the Pakistani state in Balochistan and recommended amendments in the military strategies. So far, almost none of their recommendations has materialized.

The Human Rights Watch termed the enforced disappearances in Balochistan of ‘Epidemic proportions’ in 2011 and urged the government to take the necessary measures to curb the disappearances. HRW conceded that the Pakistani paramilitary forces and the intelligence agencies are selectively hunting down the alleged separatists and militants based solely on ‘suspicion.’ The New York-based rights organization had conducted interviews with almost a hundred families of the missing persons and the victims. Afterwards, it termed enforced disappearances as a ‘distinctive feature’ of Balochistan and concluded that paramilitary forces are the perpetrators.

World powers have expressed similar concerns on the inhumane conditions in Balochistan. A 2010 US State Department alleged that Pakistan abducts ‘suspected separatists’ from Balochistan, confines them, tortures them and eventually kills them. The report said that there has been ‘little progress’ on the human rights abuses in Balochistan. Members of the European Parliament also raised the issue in an article and said that people of Balochistan are victims of violence and “are being systematically targeted by paramilitary groups, allegedly sponsored by the Pakistani authorities.”

Mother of a missing person during one of countless protests VBMP has organised

In an all-party meeting in Delhi, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed Balochistan’s plight and said that Pakistan “shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Baluchistan.” In the 33rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Modi raised the issue of human rights abuses in Balochistan and said that: “The people of Balochistan, amongst other provinces, have been waging for decades a bitter and brave struggle against their daily abuse and torture.” The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai endorsed India’s stance on Balochistan and said that violence is encouraged in Balochistan by state-structures. Karzai said they the victims’ concerns need to “addressed and aired.”

Despite all these warnings by the UN, USA, European Parliamentarians and Human Rights Organizations, thr state has continued its ceaseless atrocities in Balochistan. Among these circumstances, a few people resolved to create an organization to attract international attention and put forth the plight of Baloch people before a global audience. Thus, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons was founded in 2009, and four years later, in 2013, it carried out a historical march from Quetta to Islamabad.

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The echo of Balochistan’s mass graves in British parliament – TBP Feature Report

Author: Behzad Deedag Baloch

25th January of 2014 was a very cold day, in this coldness, a shepherd hailing from Tootak town of Khuzdar district headed to a locality named ‘Muzha’, which was previously a no-go-area. He was the first unauthorised person to be there in the last three years. But who were the authorised persons to be there? Why was the locality a no-go-area?

The answer lies in the past, on 18th February of 2011, Tootak town witnessed a major military operation, half the town was turned into ashes, two youngsters were killed and more than two dozen people were taken away in military trucks. None of those two dozen people have been seen again, except for one, as his dead body was found hundreds of miles away from where he was taken away.

When the military left, they left a group of armed men behind, dressed in shalwar kameez, long-bearded and armed to teeth. These were the people who had turned the locality as a no-go-area, they identified themselves as the militiamen of Shafiq Ur Rehman Mengal and were proud of their Jihad expeditions in Kashmir and Afghanistan; now they were in Balochistan, to cleanse it of “Infidels” the pro-independence political workers and members of Baloch armed groups. The bearded men apparently had clean-shaved handlers. They remained in the area for three years and only left a week before the shepherd found himself in the area where they were camped. What happened next?

On 27 January 2015, Asian Human Rights Commission released an emergency press release which read: “On January 25, three mass graves were found after one of them was discovered by a shepherd who saw pieces of human bodies and bones. He informed the Levies, a private armed force organised by tribal leaders.”

“The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) expresses shock and deep concern over the discovery of mass graves in Balochistan; it is suspected that these graves are of Baloch missing persons who were arrested and subsequently extrajudicially killed. A large number of family members gathered around the places of Tootak village, district Khuzdar to inquire about their loved ones who have been missing for many years. However, the police and other security forces refused them permission to try and identify the bodies and baton-charged the people to disperse them.”

“As the news of the mass grave spread throughout the district people gathered there and started digging in the nearby area where they found two more mass graves. In total 103 bodies were recovered from the graves. The bodies were too decomposed to be identified. From the three mass graves 17, 8 and 78 bodies were found but the local people say that a total of 169 bodies have been found. People have witnessed more than 100 human bodies in Tootak while they were digging the area. However, Pakistani military forces stopped the local people from unearthing the mass graves and took control of the area. Now, no one is allowed access to the location except military personnel,” further read the press release.

The Tootak mass-graves were not the only ones emerged in Balochistan. The infamous so-called ‘Kill and dump policy’ of Pakistan military against Baloch political workers and leaders was behind the surfacing of other mass-graves across Balochistan. In November 2010, 5 dead bodies of missing persons were found in a grave in Bostan area of Pishin district. Similarly, on 11th May 2011, dead bodies of three Baloch leaders—Agha Abid Shah, Master Sattar and Safeer Baloch— in Panjgur district.

Asian human rights commission was not the only international platform back in 2014 where the mass graves were discussed and condemned, Louie Gohmert, an American congressman also raised the issue in US Congress to put pressure on the Pakistani government. As a result, Dr Malik Baloch who was the Chief Minister of Balochistan then named Shafiq Ur Rehman as the culprit behind the Tootak mass-graves and ordered to set up a judicial commission under the supervision of Justice Noor Muhammad MiskanZai.

The commission collected 57 accounts of eye-witnesses out of which 38 testified the involvement of Pakistan army, its secret agencies and the militia run by Shafiq ur Rehman Mengal. Although it was an act of bravery by the witnesses to record their statement against the powerful military but their statements were outrightly rejected by the commission and in the final report there was no mention of even Shafiq Mengal. The sole reason for the rejection of their statement was that they could not prove the involvement of the Pakistan army.

The inadequate pressure from the world gave a clean chit to the powerful military of Pakistan to continue arbitrary arrests and its kill and dump policy in Balochistan. According to the NGO ‘Voice for Baloch Missing Persons’ which collects the data of missing persons and also campaigns for their release, the count of 18 thousand missing persons of Balochistan in 2014 surged after that year to 44 thousand until 2019.

To find the answer of why the world has kept silence on war-crimes of Pakistan, The Balochistan Post contacted Dr Naseem Baloch who is the Organizer of Diaspora Committee for Baloch National Movement( a Baloch nationalist party) and is living in France. He said, “ The world is not taking action against Pakistan’s war-crimes because Pakistani state works as a private firm for them and can be hired whenever a world power needs it. The other factor is that Pakistan has groomed religious extremism and often blackmails world powers to unleash these extremists if they force Pakistan to stop its inhuman practices in Balochistan or elsewhere.”

Dr Naseem Baloch, Organiser BNM Diaspora Committee

“I also blame Baloch diaspora and Baloch leaders living in West who have failed to make friends for Baloch nation in last two decades, and we do not have proper documents where all Pakistani crimes could have been recorded, we have failed to access international platforms, who else can we blame for our situation except us?” he questioned.

The echo of mass-graves in Balochistan has been heard again after 6 years, this time in British parliament when Mr Nigel Adams, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development in the UK, replied to a question raised by Mr Stephen Morgan, who is the Labour MP for Portsmouth South, in the parliament. Mr Adam said that they are aware of reports of mass graves in Khuzdar, Turbat and Dera Bugti in Balochistan.

Stephen Morgan asked Nigel Adams what steps the Government is taking to ensure that UK arms exports are not used in human rights violations in Balochistan to which Nigel Adams replied that the UK Govt does not issue export licences where we assess there is a clear risk that the items might be used for internal repression. The Government keeps defence exports under careful and continual review and can suspend or revoke licences when necessary.

Stephen Morgan further questioned that what assessment Nigel Adams has made of the accuracy of allegations that British made arms have been used in human rights abuses in Balochistan. Replying to the question, Nigel Adams said that All export licences are strictly assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Risks around human rights abuses are a key part of our assessment.

The Labour MP raised the questions in parliament after a delegation headed by Hakeem Wadhela, the president of Baloch National Movement UK Chapter, met twice with the MP and gave a detailed presentation about Balochistan.

Francesca Marino is an Italian journalist and an expert on South Asian affairs, she is the author of book ‘Apocalypse Pakistan’. The Balochistan Post asked for her comments on the recent confirmation of UK government of being aware of the presence of mass graves in Balochistan, she said, “I find it astonishing but I’m not surprised. We all know arms and helicopters sold to Pakistan have been used against Baloch and against other Pakistani citizens. I don’t know so well the UK legislation but I know in details the legislation of my country, Italy. We go on selling weapons to Pakistan even though Italian Law 185 of 9 July 1990 prohibits, in fact, the export and transit of weapons materials to countries in conflict unless they have been attacked by other countries (as established by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations), to countries whose policy contrasts with the principles of Article 11 of the Italian Constitution (Italy rejects war as a mean of a solution of conflicts) and countries whose governments are responsible for serious violations of international conventions on human rights, ascertained by UN, EU or Council of Europe.”

Francesca Marino, an Italian Journalist

She further said, “Last year we sold weapons to Pakistan for 682 million euro. As I just wrote today, acknowledging UK knows of the mass graves, the West knows, UN knows and the world not only do nothing about it but goes on selling arms to Pakistan, the same arms used against Baloch and other Pakistani citizens, means we are not just witnesses but also responsible for those unnamed bodies, for the plight of people of Baloch waiting for years their dear ones to come back. We are responsible for those graves, for those children. And partners in crime with Pakistan.”

Khalil Baloch is the chairman of Baloch National Movement(BMN), we asked him what are the responsibilities of Britain after they revealed that they are aware of what’s happening in Balochistan? He said, “I consider the confirmation of British government that they are aware of mass-graves in Balochistan a win for Baloch political voice, this revelation did not come overnight but Baloch political workers worked hard for the awareness, documentation and putting the records in front of the world and today we received the fruit of that hard work.

Khaleel Baloch, Chairman BNM

“Although it is a welcome step but it is not enough knowing the role of Britain among the leaders of the world. Britain always had historical responsibilities in this region as it was Britain who created Pakistan and played a role when Pakistan occupied Balochistan, now is the time they correct their past mistakes,” Khalil Baloch added.

This year on 11th March, American state department released its annual report on human rights practices on countries which are allies to America or UN members, the report extensively reported human rights violations in Balochistan and for the first time Baloch Missing Persons were accepted as ‘Political Prisoners’, the report also mentioned the excessive use of military might in Balochistan.

Two world powers have talked about the rights violations in Balochistan within a week, which are welcomed by Baloch people, but would this change circumstances in Balochistan? After the voices raised for Balochistan in the world, what are the main news coming from the region? “Baloch Missing Persons’ campaign entered in its 3923rd day”, “Military operation in Washuk and Mashkay districts of Balochistan”, “Families of missing persons protest in Lyari”, would there be any change?

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Sajid Hussain Obituary

Author: Miran Mazar 

Sajid Hussain was well known in the Baloch society since he began his journalistic career, particularly to anyone who followed the politics of Balochistan.

He was 39, when his dead body was found from a river by Police in Uppsala, Sweden in April 2020. He went missing from the Swedish town on 2nd March 2020, where he had moved to a student accommodation because of his studies.

Sajid Hussain was born in Mand on 16 January 1981 and grew up in the nearby locality of Nizarabad. However, he received majority of his schooling in Karachi.

His early education was from Nasra Primary School and he later also studied in Bahria College Karachi.

In 2002 Sajid joined Baloch Students Organisation and remained its member for at least 4 years. In 2004 he became a member of BSO’s central committee, the highest decision-making body of the organisation.

Sajid earned his bachelor’s degree from Karachi University in 2006/07 with majors in Economics. He received his master’s degree with a first-class grade from University of Balochistan in 2012.

He left political activism after he began his career as a journalist in 2007 and achieved great success in the field. He worked for Pakistan’s mainstream media outlets including Daily Times and The News.

Sajid’s work as a journalist covered an array of issues from Balochistan. He wrote extensively on human rights violations including Baloch missing persons issue. His article in The News International about a drug lord from Makkuran made waves in Pakistan and the region. However, at some point his brilliant journalistic work also irked Pakistan’s powerful secretive agencies.

In 2009 Sajid’s uncle and renowned Baloch leader Ghulam Mohammad Baloch was killed. The Baloch leader’s organisation BNM and other human rights group alleged Pakistani authorities as culprit of Mr. Baloch’s murder.

In 2012 Sajid moved to Quetta, capital of Balochistan, and was assisting international news agency Reuters for a story when Pakistani authorities broke into his house and stole his laptop and other documents.

Soon after Sajid moved to UAE and later to other countries including Oman and Uganda before eventually reaching Sweden in 2017. In 2019 he was granted asylum in the European country.

Throughout this period, he continued his journalistic and literary work. One of his main contribution to the field was launching Balochistan Times, an online magazine covering Balochistan. He was the Editor in Chief of the magazine.

While in Sweden, he also worked with linguists Carina Jahani and Taj Baloch on an online Balochi-English dictionary and the “first ever standardized” book of Balochi grammar.

Recently, he had got admission in a master’s degree in the Uppsala university’s Balochi department in Sweden. He also planned to earn a PhD in the language.

On 28th March 2020 the editorial board of the Balochistan Times announced the disappearance of Sajid, who had been missing from Uppsala, Sweden since 2nd March 2020. A formal case was filed with the Swedish police on 3rd March 2020.

Sajid Hussain was added on a missing persons database on 5th March.

Various international organisations including Committee to Protect Journalists urged Swedish authorities to ensure Sajid Hussain’s safety and locate the missing journalist.

However, today on 1st May 2020 Balochistan Times announced the sad news of recovery of Sajid Hussain’s dead body by Swedish police from a river near Uppsala.

Sajid is survived by his wife, Shehnaz Sajid, and young children Taheer and Shahan, who were planning to join him in Sweden later this year.

Sajid once, while talking about Balochistan’s missing persons issue, had said “the dead do not haunt me as much as the missing do. To tell the truth, I feel relieved when I hear about the discovery of a missing person’s body.” However, recovery of Sajid’s dead body has saddened all his colleagues and friends, who were wishing for safe return of the intelligent Baloch journalist.

Sajid’s death is a huge loss and it will take years to fill the vacuum left with his sad departure.

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Politicians, human rights organizations condemn the arrest of students in Quetta

Renowned politicians, human rights organizations and political parties have condemned the arrest of students during a peaceful protest against online classes in Quetta on Wednesday.

The Chairman of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemned the arrest of students in Quetta in a tweet that read: “To protest peacefully is a constitutionally protected right. Strongly condemn arrest of students in Quetta! Shutting out voices and high handedness has become a new normal under this regime. #PPP demands #releaseallstudents”

Addressing the arrest of students in Quetta, the south-Asian offshoot of Amnesty International, a non-governmental human rights organization based in the United Kingdom, tweeted that: “Pakistan’s authorities must immediately release all students detained in Quetta who were demanding internet access to continue their studies. Their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly must be respected and protected.”

The Human Rights Council of Balochistan (HRCB) condemned the incident and said that the authorities must ensure the immediate release of the arrested students. It further said that the students are protesting against the inaccessibility of the internet for a month now; the authorities must consider their requests and resolve their predicaments.

The National Party took to the twitter to condemn the arrest of students in Quetta and demand their immediate release. It said that the provincial government proved its “incapability” through this action. “Instead of resolving the problems of the youths, arresting them is shameful”, the tweet concluded.

Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, member of the Pakistani Senate and the former president of the National Party, addressed the incident in a tweet that read: “Extremely shameful act by law enforcements to arrest peaceful students in #Quetta. Their demand is very simple, how can they have online classes when they don’t have internet? Do you arrest them just for raising this question? #ReleaseStudentsofBalochistan.”

Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, member of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and a member of the Pakistani Senate, addressed the incident and drew CM Balochistan’s attention to the incident in a tweet: “Why use brutal force against students protesting for their right to internet access? These students are the country’s assets; treat them with respect, listen to their genuine concerns instead of beating them black and blue. Requesting @jam_kamal to look into this”

Later after the arrests and condemnations of the act, the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan stated in tweet saying; “No students arrest was ordered by the Government…it was a quarrel among police and students in which police acted and arrested. Immediately police was ordered to release the students.”

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Haqqani Commander returning from Pakistan arrested in Torkham

commander of the Haqqani Network was arrested on Tuesday in Nangarhar province, a local official said.

Attaullah Khogyani, the governor’s spokesman, told TOLOnews that the commander’s name was Momen, also known as Khalid, and he was an active commander in the Haqqani network.

He was arrested yesterday by NDS forces while he was returning from Pakistan to Torkham.

According to Khogyani he was entering Afghanistan to “conduct terrorist activities.”

The arrested man confessed to being a Haqqani commander and to entering Afghanistan to engage in insurgent activities, said officials

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Mahrang Baloch and others arrested in Quetta

Police has arrested renowned campaigner and student leader Mahrang Baloch and several others in Quetta, Balochistan.

According to details, Mahrang Baloch, a medical student and a campaigner, was arrested on Wednesday in capital city of Quetta. Several others including Jeehand Baloch of Baloch Student Organisation have also been arrested.

In a tweet after the arrest Mahrang Baloch said that they were protesting against decision of online classes. She alleged that the “barbaric state doesn’t change its behaviour towards oppressed nations.”

Students in Balochistan have been protesting since last few weeks due to non-availability of internet facilities and the decision of Higher Education Commission to conduct online classes.

The protest in Quetta was called by Baloch Students Alliance, who claimed that the sole of the peaceful protest was to grab the attention of concerned authorities towards students issues.

Earlier, the protestors had said: “The HEC’s decision for beginning online classes is one sided and prejudiced, which completely ignores the ground realities. The HEC’s decision makes it clear that the students of Balochistan are not the part of this education system. Which is an attempt to keep away the Baloch students from education.”

It is pertinent to mention that the authorities have suspended access to the internet in various regions of Balochistan for years citing security reasons.

The nationalist organisations claim that the internet inaccessibility is an attempt of the Pakistani state to thwart social media activism and to conceal the perpetrated human rights abuses in Balochistan.

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