Balochistan's People Want Equity

Balochistan's People Want Equity
In 2009, a ten-year-old girl called Sammi Deen Baloch raised banners against her father's forced disappearance at the Quetta Press Club in Balochistan and demanded that her father be released, asking that if her father had committed a crime then he should be brought him to court.  She demanded that if her father was to be charged then he should also be given his full rights and if he was found guilty only then should be punished otherwise he should be released.

But nothing happened and every year from 2009 to 2023, the girl has continued to raised banners for her father's release.

Governments have come and gone.  And someone somewhere made promises to that ten-year-old girl who is now 24 years old.  In these 14 years, no concrete progress has been made for the release of her father.

Sammi Deen Baloch's father Dr. Deen Muhammad Baloch was a government employee in Balochistan. On June 28 2009, Dr. Deen Muhammad Baloch was on night duty at the government hospital in Nach, Khuzdar area, and was forcibly taken away by armed men in plain clothes.  To date there is no news as to his whereabouts.

Sammi Deen's family knocked on every door from government institutions to state institutions. Sammi Deen appeared before every commission and committee and demanded that if her father had committed any crime, only then should he be punished otherwise he should be brought to light, if not alive, at least dead.

In 2011, former Chairman Justice Retired Javed Iqbal started raising questions as he had been made the head of the commission for sensitive cases including enforced disappearances.  Earlier, he had promised Sammi Deen that her father would be released, but this promise remained only a promise.

Similarly, in 2021, when PTI Chairman Imran Khan was in government, Imran Khan himself as the Prime Minister, met the families of the missing persons. Amongst all of them was also Sammi Deen. The PTI government assured them that they would solve the problem and also promised to legislate against forced disappearances. But the forced disappearances bill also went missing during the PTI government's tenure.

To raise further awareness, the families of the missing persons from Balochistan protested in different cities of Punjab. Muslim League-N leader Maryam Nawaz also participated in the protests and criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan and appealed to the institutions to present the people in the court.

In 2022, when the families of missing Baloch people staged a 50 day dharna in Quetta's red zone and raised questions about the helplessness of the provincial government, a delegation of federal governments headed by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah went to meet the demonstrators. There this delegation gave assurances and consequently, the sit-in was ended on belief; today it has been nine months, but so far no progress has been made.

Like hundreds of families, Sammi Deen has been protesting for the release of her father even on the days of Eid for the past 14 years, and for thousands of families on the streets, the same question is far from the state, where are their missing loved one and whether they are alive or not.