Baloch demonstrators in their province issued a three-day ultimatum to the state, demanding an end to enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings. They called for the immediate release of detained protesters and the dismissal of charges against them. Failure to meet these demands would lead to the protesters taking “harsh steps,” holding the state and its administration responsible.
The protesters, outside Islamabad’s National Press Club, claimed that over 100 previously detained members were missing, as they continued their rally. The long march, initiated by Baloch women after an alleged extra-judicial killing, had reached the federal capital, facing police blockades and brutality, including tear gas and water cannons.
Human rights organizations, politicians, and analysts strongly condemned the police actions. While the government claimed that 90% of those detained were released, the Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC) insisted that over 250 remained in jail, with 100 not presented in court, issuing a three-day ultimatum for the withdrawal of FIRs against protesters and the release of the missing.
The BYC demanded a UN fact-finding mission, acceptance by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of a staged fake encounter, and the immediate release of all forcibly disappeared Baloch people. They also called for shutting down the CTD and death squads supported by state agencies. The sit-in at the NPC would persist until these demands were met.
The group further alleged that the Islamabad police hindered a peaceful rally, and footage showed a heavy police presence. Concerned about potential force, they appealed for public support. Balochistan Governor Malik Abdul Wali Khan Kakar negotiated with demonstrators, and leaders like Ali Wazir and Farhatullah Babar supported the cause.
Mahrang Baloch, one of the march organizers, emphasized the protest’s aim for Balochistan’s rights, condemning police actions and demanding an end to human rights violations. The BYC’s Karachi chapter reported solidarity protests in the metropolis.
In response, Islamabad police stated that 200 people were present outside the NPC, allowing peaceful protests but not permitting a rally towards the High-Security Zone. British-Pakistani writer Mohammed Hanif returned his Sitara-i-Imtiaz in protest against the state’s treatment of Baloch citizens.