Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Balochistan Chief Minister Dr. Malik Baloch visits BSO-Azad`s Hunger Strike Camp

KARACHI: Balochistan Chief Minister Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch visited BSO-Azad`s Hunger Strike Protest Camp at Karachi Press Club and Signed the petition book of Committee to Save BSO-Azad Leader.

Visting Latif Baloch's hunger strike camp, Dr. Malik assure them that he is on it from day one to recover him safely.   

"I know Zahid Baloch More than all of you who are sitting here except Karima Baloch and Latif Baloch. I used to be a BSO worker myself and I worked with him and It is my wish that he is safely recverd",  he told the camp.

Answering to a question, if agencies have more power than him, Dr. Malik said that he will not get into the blame game but will do his best to solve the problem of Baloch missing persons.

 "We highly appreciate honorable Chief Minister Dr. Malik Baloch for visiting the hunger strike camp and thank him for his efforts and concerns regarding the recovery of Baloch missing persons", said Dr. Wahid Baloch, President of Baloch Society of North America. 

He asked Latif Baloch to end his hunger strike and help Dr. Malik and his government to bring peace and normalcy in Balochistan.


Balochistan CM visits protesting students’ camp

Dr Malik says he will try but cannot promise to have BSO-A chief released

Ammar Shahbazi
Thursday, May 29, 2014 

Karachi: The Balochistan chief minister visited the Baloch Student Organisation-Azad (BSO-A) protest camp at the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday and assured its activists that he would try his best to get their chairman Zahid Baloch released, but could not make any promises at this point.

“I don’t want to make lofty claims now and put myself in an awkward situation later,” Dr Abdul Malik Baloch told Latif Gohar, a BSO-A activist on hunger strike against Zahid’s alleged abduction, and others at the protest camp under the full glare of the media.

The BSO-A claims that Zahid was picked up by the intelligence agencies from Quetta on March 18 this year.

The chief minister appealed to Gohar to end his hunger strike, however, praised his perseverance as “one of the most memorable protests in the history of the BSO”.

Malik, who was a part of the BSO in his student days, said he understood the grievances of the Baloch youth but disagreed with those who took up arms against the State. “As a political person I believe in dialogue, and I still hope that someday I will be able to bring our estranged Baloch brothers to the table.”

Gohar, however, refused to end his hunger strike (now in its 37th day) and told the chief minister that he would only end his protest when those who ‘kidnapped’ Zahid admitted that he was under their custody.

The chief minister had a tough time facing journalists, who vexed him about his apparent “limited authority” as the provincial chief executive.

Malik insisted that the situation in Balochistan was volatile and pleaded with journalists and the Baloch youth present at the camp to understand the exceptional situation in the province.

Banuk Karima Baloch, the acting chairperson of the BSO-A, said the members of the student organisation were outraged when Balochistan’s home minister Sarfaraz Bugti said there was nobody by the name of Zahid Baloch in the political scenario of the province.

“Each and every child in Balochistan knows the name of Zahid Baloch, and I can say that not many people know Sarfaraz,” she told the chief minister.

Dr Malik admitted that he knew Zahid personally and had worked with him. He added that he was clueless about Zahid’s whereabouts.

The BSO-A activists also resented the ban on the organisation imposed by the federal government.

“Why should a peaceful organisation like the BSO-A be banned?” asked Karima. “We are a peaceful student organisation that attains its objectives through democratic means,” she said.

The chief minister said the BSO-A had not been banned by the Balochistan government. He said the province was going through tough times and reiterated his government’s commitment to help mitigate the crisis.

CM Malik fails to make student end hunger strike, pledges FIR

By Saher Baloch

Published May 29, 2014 

Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik urges BSO-Azad activist Lateef Johar to end his hunger strike at the protest camp outside the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday.ó White Star 
KARACHI: Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch said on Wednesday that his government would ensure the registration of an FIR for the recovery of a student organisation leader abducted in Quetta in March. 

On a visit to meet a protesting Balochistan Student Organisation-Azad (BSO-A) activist, Lateef Johar, who has been on hunger strike outside the Karachi Press Club for the past 37 days, Dr Malik said: ìThe case of missing persons is the top priority of the government.î 

Sitting beside him inside the camp, crowded with reporters, Dr Malik said: ìIím not asking you to end your struggle, but requesting you to call off the hunger strike. To us, you are like other Baloch students.

Lateef Johar went on hunger strike on April 22 after BSO-A chairman Zahid Baloch was taken away from Satellite Town in Quetta. The student body alleges that intelligence agencies are behind the abduction and demands his release by continuing a hunger strike. Joharís doctor, who was also present at the camp, informed the chief minister that the student had lost 20 kilograms in the past few weeks. 

A student activist and later chairman of the BSO himself, CM Malik tried hard to persuade the student to call off the protest. He was constantly put on the defensive as activists and reporters asked him questions related to the law and order situation in Balochistan and the continuing ëkill and dumpí policy in strife-torn province. 

The students told the chief minister that in case something happened to Johar, they had 13 more students in line to take his place. 

Dr Malik said: ìI have known Zahid Baloch and worked with him when I was associated with the BSO in the past. Weíve had ideological differences due to which he joined another organisation. Iím requesting you all to help me in my struggle of solving the case of missing persons.î 

BSO-Azad student Kareema Baloch, who was sitting right next to Johar, told the media: ìItís been two months since the abduction and yet the SP of Satellite Town, Quetta, refuses to register an FIR of the case. How can we trust that Zahid will not meet the same fate as others who were abducted before him? Weíll hold everyone responsible if something happens to him.î 

The CM pledged that his government would take the responsibility of the registration of the case and ìwill help in any way we possibly canî. 

Looking weak, with dark circles under his eyes, Johar was accompanied by activists belonging to the Democratic Students Federation. 

In response to CM Malikís statement, Johar said: ìWe were given assurances in the past as well. Weíll end our strike the day an official from the intelligence agency admits that our chairman is in their custody and releases him.î 

To pacify the students, the CM also signed the petition for the release of the abducted activist. Speaking further on the issue, he said he had been given a ìpublic mandate to bring stability to Balochistanî. 

ìYou have your point of view and I have mine. The need is to sit together and bring our differences to the table and speak them out,î he said. 

However, when a reporter asked him whether by signing the petition he, too, had joined the protest camp, Dr Malik got annoyed and abruptly ended the meeting after once again requesting the activist to call off his hunger strike.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2014

Missing persons: Balochistan CM asks Lateef Johar to end strike

By Rabia Ali

May 30, 2014 

Baloch student activist Lateef Johar has been on hunger strike for the past 38 days to demand the authorities find their missing leader. 

KARACHI: In the scorching heat outside Karachi Press Club, the Balochistan chief minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, sat next to a pale Lateef Johar and asked him to give up the hunger strike. I have come to meet you and appeal to you to end your hunger strike, he said to Johar. The chief minister had come to Karachi to especially meet Johar on Wednesday.

The student activist who has been on hunger strike for the past 38 days, however, refused to give in. In a low voice, he replied, Tell me the name of the agency that has detained Zahid Baloch. When those who have him admit he is in their custody, I will end my strike.

The chief minister became silent and helplessly looked at the crowd of journalists and activists who pressed him to blame the law enforcers for his abduction, and to let everyone know when he would be recovered.

But the official parried all these questions. I can't make promises that can't be fulfilled,î he lamented. ìBut I wish to resolve the missing persons issue and hope Zahid Baloch will be found soon.

Zahid Baloch, the chairperson of the Baloch Student Organisation (BSO) Azad was allegedly picked up by law enforcers from Quetta on March 18.

The Balochistan High Court has given orders for the registration of the FIR, but it has not been registered yet, said an activist, Kareema Baloch. The chief minister said that he would look into it.

Dr Abdul Malik said that he knew Zahid Baloch very closely. I have worked with him. Though we had our political differences, I knew him.The chief minister said that he had been a member of the BSO and the organisation had played a major role in his election as the CM. When journalists asked him what he had done for the missing persons in Balochistan, he said, You know all the problems Balochistan is facing.  Zahidís abduction is not in my information, but being the chief minister, I am responsible,î he admitted.

Turning towards Johar, he said that though the latter had the democratic right to protest, he wanted the hunger strike to end. Johar was, however, adamant to continue until Zahid's whereabouts were known. People have assured us several times but there have been no results, he said.

Dr Abdul Malik Balock signed a petition regarding Zahidís abduction that would be submitted to the United Nations. Meanwhile, Johar's doctor also addressed the chief minister. His blood pressure is low and his sugar level is dropping, he said, referring to the medical complications.

Since the hunger strike started, Joharís weight has dropped from 76kg to 54kg. He gets a lot of headaches. He used to be a gentle speaker but now he doesnít talk to anyone.  He cannot drink a lot of water as he throws up.î said an activist. Other activists vowed to continue the struggle until their leader was found.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2014.

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