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Monday, April 15, 2024

Dr. Mahrang Baloch Charged with Sedition Amid Protests for Missing Baloch Citizens

Human rights activist Dr. Mahrang Baloch faces sedition charges amid protests for missing Baloch citizens, highlighting a call for a UN investigation and a defiant stand against police brutality in Islamabad.

Human rights activist Dr. Mahrang Baloch, known for her advocacy against enforced disappearances, has been charged with sedition and making anti-army statements. The First Information Report (FIR), lodged on behalf of the state, accuses Dr. Baloch of inciting public revolt and fostering negative sentiment against state institutions during recent protests in Islamabad. The charges under Section 124-A of the Pakistan Penal Code highlight the government’s claim that her actions aim to create civil unrest.

The FIR further alleges an anti-Pakistan agenda, linking Dr. Baloch with other anti-state elements. Dr. Baloch has called for a United Nations fact-finding committee to investigate enforced disappearances in Balochistan, rejecting the government’s committee. This call for international intervention brings attention to the contentious issue, sparking a dialogue beyond Pakistan’s borders and emphasizing the need for an independent inquiry.

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Dr. Mahrang Baloch has been leading the ‘March against Baloch Genocide,’ demanding justice for missing Baloch citizens. The march, initiated after the recent extrajudicial killing of Balach Mola Baksh, gained widespread participation, reflecting collective frustration with death squads, CTD, and enforced disappearances. The Baloch Yakjehti Committee led the movement, focusing on issues such as the kill-and-dump policy, financial hurdles, and threats faced by participating families.

Upon reaching Islamabad, the police prevented the peaceful march from proceeding to the Islamabad Press Club. Despite their peaceful intentions, the police resorted to violence, arresting all protesters, including Dr. Mahrang Baloch. The government’s attempt to send the protesters back to Quetta led to a defiant stand. Baloch women questioned why their peaceful protest was met with brutality, emphasizing their right to voice concerns as citizens of the state.