Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why The Media Neglects Baloch Missing Persons

By Aziz Ejaz

January 21, 2015 9:04 am

Domestic media in Pakistan and international media omit proper coverage of the plight of Baloch missing persons.

The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), an association of peaceful protest formed by the families of those missing, claims there are 18,000 unsolved cases of missing persons.

Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest of its four administrative provinces, is a resource-rich territory where thousands of innocent Baloch civilians and political activists have allegedly been abducted since President Pervez Musharraf’s tenure. Locals say the missing individuals have been abducted by Pakistan’s military and associated forces as a way to suppress the Baloch people.

In a report documented by VBMP’s Chairman Nasrullah Baloch, 455 bullet-riddled bodies were discovered from the missing in 2014; not 164 as the provincial government claims in a statement. This figure seems a major threat for all missing in Pakistani custody whose whereabouts is still unknown. After recording an unprecedented march on Oct. 27, 2013 on foot with missing family members from Quetta to Karachi—and finally to Islamabad—the plight of the Baloch remains elusive.

The 71-year-old Mama Qadeer Baloch who led the long march said that the half-decade long Baloch demonstration has been deliberately ignored by the media. Mama Qadeer Baloch stated that negligence kept the international community frustrated even after a 10 day UN-fact finding mission to Balochistan about the issue of enforced disappearance in mid-September 2013.

“The media has ignored us. The entire theme of VBMP is to raise the issue of the missing persons, but how is that possible if the media ignores it? How can we get our message through? And raise a voice to be listened as negligence is likely astonishing,” says Sammi Baloch, daughter of missing Dr. Deen Baloch.

The VBMP chairman asserted in statement that on every dawn a Baloch is being allegedly abducted and the number has increased gradually to almost 4,000 in 2014 as the families of the missing were optimistically assured when Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch became Balochistan chief minister in May 2013.

Nearly every Baloch citizen accuses the Pakistani military and Frontier Corps (FC) of abducting, torturing and killing their loved ones. In 2013, 160 unmarked dead bodies were uncovered in mass graves in the Kuzdar district, Thotak.

The relatives of the disappeared are still recording their protest via VBMP with a hope of drawing media attention and international human rights organizations, as well as involvement from the UN.

Until now there has not been any prompt response from any human rights organization, stated a protestor of VBMP.

Aziz Ejaz is a freelance writer, columnist and a poet. He contributes to the Balochistan Point and is subeditor at the Monthly Bolan Voice. Read other articles by Aziz.

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