she speaks only Balochi. It was August 9, 2011, when her brother, Qarinjar Baloch, a 22-year-old student, went missing.
It is the 23rd day of the sit-in protest outside the Karachi Press Club against enforced disappearances, and 11-year-old Nabeela from Pullabad, a village in Balochistan’s Turbat District has been here for all of these days.
She sits, cornered by the grown-ups, in a camp shrouded with portraits of missing persons and what the protesters call “martyrs of the Baloch cause”. Her face is covered in a purple dupatta, and she speaks only Balochi. It was August 9, 2011, when her brother, Qarinjar Baloch, a 22-year-old student, went missing. Two months later his tortured body was found in some woods in Turbat, along with the body of 17-year-old Arfat. He too was a student.
Nabeela remembers seeing the dead body, so does her mother who sits beside her. But the family claims that “killing the Baloch sons will never drown the movement, it will only make it stronger”.
“I have given one son for my soil, and I’ll not hesitate giving my two other sons.”
Summi Baloch is another young girl among the protesters. Her cousin Zakir Majeed Baloch went missing on June 8, 2009. She claims he was abducted by intelligence agencies. Three years later, his whereabouts are still unknown.
Zakir Majeed was a 27-year-old student, and a leader of the Baloch Students Organisation.
“Yes, he did speak for the rights of his people, since when is that a crime? You talk about an independent judiciary, if he is accused of treason try him in your independent courts. Who gives security forces the right to pick up our people without a warrant?”
There are others who liken the Balochistan situation to the then East Pakistan. “The Bengalis were deprived of their rights, their resources were exploited, their voice silenced. Look what happened a couple of years later. Balochistan is history repeating itself,” says one protester. The camp has moved around various press clubs of the country, and today is the 648th day of the countrywide protest.
The protesters claim that 14,362 Baloch have gone missing till date and 370 dead bodies have been found. “In 2012 alone, 23 Baloch disappeared, and January has not ended yet,” Majeed Baloch claims.