Deeply concerned by efforts to uproot Baloch camp: Pakistan human rights body

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Islamabad [Pakistan], January 23: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said that it stands with the ongoing Baloch camp led by women against enforced disappearances. It said it is “deeply concerned” by efforts to uproot the Baloch camp.
In a post shared on X, HRCP stated, “HRCP stands in solidarity with the ongoing Baloch camp led by women against enforced disappearances that has faced persistent harassment from local law enforcement, as well as dismissal from government authorities.”
“We are also deeply concerned by efforts to uproot the camp–this violates not only the Islamabad High Court’s order that the camp remain undisturbed, but also the protestors’ right to peacefully assemble. The validity of the Baloch protestors’ demands cannot continue to be ignored, and must be heeded with the legitimacy it deserves, not with undue force or defamation,” it added.
The HRCP’s statement comes as the National Press Club (NPC) of Pakistan requested the Islamabad police to remove the Baloch rights camp near the club’s premises.
Baloch protesters are currently demonstrating a sit-in in front of the NPC by the Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC) against enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. The camp has been installed since December 22 last year and continues to attract more participants despite the bitter cold weather and pressure from law enforcement agencies.
Furthermore, the organisers of the sit-in have accused the police of harassing their supporters and profiling them, as well as registering first information reports (FIR) against them.
Reportedly, the NPC wrote a letter to the Kohsar police station house officer on Tuesday and urged them to make a plan to relocate the protesters to a different location so “the difficulties for the press club and all residents and the business community can be reduced.
“The letter explained that the press club’s sole means of income were press conferences and seminars held at the premises. However, the sit-ins and their related issues, such as security requirements, have been affecting not only the club’s members but also the events, as well as the local business community and residents, according to Dawn.
Baloch activist Mahrang Baloch expressed dismay at the letter and stressed that the journalist and media community “have an obligation to stand with people whose voices are neglected.”
“It is painful to see that even now, the Islamabad Press Club is uncomfortable with our staging a sit-in outside the press club, protesting against enforced disappearances. We understand why they are doing this. There is pressure on us, too, and through various means, we are being harassed and threatened, with the police circulating false information,’ she added.
Moreover, Mahrang further emphasised that the Islamabad administration’s response to the protesters was “deeply disappointing” and that the movement would announce its next step in a press conference on Tuesday at 2 pm.
Another organiser, Sammi Deen Baloch, highlighted, “Earlier, our protests were not covered, but now the journalists are becoming a party and they are angry and disgusted with our protests.””I don’t need to tell you what journalistic responsibilities are, but I must say that if there are strong on one side and weak on the other side, then we should take care of the weak instead of the strong.”
Meanwhile, journalists further expressed disapproval and strong condemnation towards the letter, Dawn reported. Recently, Mahrang Baloch called for global support against enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Balochistan.
She has said that the movement of Baloch protesters, which has entered its fourth phase, aims to raise awareness nationally and internationally.
Notably, the Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC) camp has continued to hold sit-ins outside the National Press Club in Islamabad for more than 50 days. Moreover, the BYC said that even though the state tried to use every force to sabotage the peaceful movement, the participants of the march faced each tactic with resilience.

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