Baloch Marchers In DG Khan Claim Transportation Denied To Reach Islamabad

At least 20 march participants were reportedly arrested by authorities in DG Khan but later released; while cases were registered against some activists part of the march

Baloch Marchers In DG Khan Claim Transportation Denied To Reach Islamabad

The authorities in Dera Ghazi Khan have attempted to stop hundreds of Baloch protesters from marching towards their destination, Islamabad.

At least 20 Baloch activists have been arrested, while transporters in the district have allegedly been directed to refuse service to participants of the march, who decided to continue on foot.

Hundreds of residents from Balochistan started a long march from Turbat last month as they protested against the enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killing of their loved ones without any judicial recourse.

The march made its way from Turbat to the provincial capital of Quetta via Khuzdar. The marchers then announced plans to continue their protest in the federal capital of Islamabad. 

The marchers arrived in Dera Ghazi Khan late last week. However, the protesters claimed that the district administration and other authorities were trying to prevent the peaceful marchers from proceeding towards Taunsa.

One of the protesters, Mahrang Baloch, said that the state has been threatening them, denying them access to transportation while several of their fellow protesters have been arrested.

On Tuesday, the marchers said they had decided to continue their march towards Islamabad and had set off from Dera Ghazi Khan on foot. They plan to stage a peaceful protest demonstration in Taunsa before continuing towards Islamabad. 

Meanwhile, Amnesty International's South Asia Regional Office noted that at least 20 participants of the march were arrested but later released.

"The protestors have been released, however, three separate cases against the organisers and participants have been filed," the statement read.

The global rights organisation demanded that Pakistani authorities immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against those charged for exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression.

It further demanded an impartial investigation into all extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, particularly in Balochistan, in line with international standards.

It said that the government must provide compensation to families of those who were killed extra-judicially and those who have been forcibly disappeared.

Meanwhile, FIRs were filed against activists participating in the march in several parts of Balochistan, including Kohlu, Naal, and Khuzdar.
The march commenced on November 23 with a sit-in in Turbat, in southwestern Balochistan, after the custodial death of 24-year-old Balach Mola Bakhsh. Bakhsh was arrested by the Balochistan Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) from his home on October 29. But weeks later, while officially still on physical remand, his body was said to have been discovered in a militant camp that the CTD had raided.