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Missing PhD student Zaheer Baloch released amid protests

Written by  Jasleen Kaur -- December 28th 2023 11:05 AM
Missing PhD student Zaheer Baloch released amid protests

Missing PhD student Zaheer Baloch released amid protests

PTC Web Desk: Zaheer Baloch, a missing PhD student who vanished for five days amid protests against enforced disappearances in Balochistan, has been released by the Islamabad police. The release, reported by The Balochistan Post, comes amidst Baloch activists' ongoing demonstrations against alleged extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances by Pakistani forces.

Initially arrested during a protest against the "Long March Against Baloch Genocide," Zaheer Baloch's whereabouts were initially denied by the authorities. However, the Islamabad High Court later disclosed his detention in Adiala jail.


The Baloch Yakjehti Committee celebrated his release on social media while highlighting the continued disappearance of 34 other students. Dr Mahrang Baloch, leading the protest for the safe return of missing Baloch individuals, spoke alongside Zaheer Baloch, emphasizing the movement's aim to end enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

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Describing the inhumane conditions during his detention, Zaheer Baloch lamented overcrowded jail conditions and alleged mistreatment by authorities. He highlighted being denied legal representation and contact with family during his time in custody.

Balochistan

The protests, met with severe police action in Islamabad, saw hundreds arrested, prompting condemnation from both national and international human rights organisations. Demonstrations have spread across various cities, with the Baloch Yakjehti Committee holding protests in Karachi, Lahore and Bahawalpur.

Demanding the release of all detainees, Mahrang Baloch warned of potential repercussions if demands weren't met. The protests, initially against an alleged extrajudicial killing, escalated into a sit-in outside the Islamabad National Press Club to protest the crackdown by authorities.

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