The arrest of Fareed Husain Baloch, a Baloch student studying in the eighth semester of BS Education at Punjab University, has stirred public anger and condemnation from various quarters. The incident unfolded at the New Campus gate of the university, where Fareed was apprehended by police officers and plainclothes individuals, an act captured on CCTV footage that circulated widely on social media.
In the footage, Fareed is seen resisting the arrest and attempting to flee, but the police officers forcibly detained him and transferred him to a private vehicle. Notably, PU security personnel did not intervene as the police and plainclothesmen entered the campus to apprehend the student. The Baloch Council office-bearers later approached the Garden Town Police Station, where Fareed was being held, expressing concerns about the lack of information regarding his arrest and the fear of fabricated charges.
Social Media Outcry and Condemnation
News of Fareed’s arrest quickly spread on social media, sparking outrage and condemnation. The Progressive Students’ Collective issued a strong statement denouncing the abduction, stating that such acts disrupt the pursuit of education and are unacceptable. The incident has also drawn attention to broader issues of harassment and intimidation faced by students from Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) studying in Punjab.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan expressed deep concern about the situation, highlighting reports of harassment and intimidation faced by Pashtun and Baloch students in Lahore. They emphasized the need to end the practice of subjecting students to ethnic profiling, asserting that all students should be able to pursue their education without the fear of harassment and enforced disappearances.
Notably, despite growing calls for clarification and transparency regarding Fareed’s arrest, there was no official response from law enforcement authorities at the time of reporting. Both Ammara Sherazi, the superintendent of police (SP) for the Model Town Division, and SP Investigation Shehzad Rafique Awan, were unavailable for comment. The incident has underscored the urgency of addressing the broader issue of student safety, freedom from intimidation, and the protection of their rights to education in the region.