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Shireen Mazari decries baton charge on students' peaceful protest in Islamabad

Students reconvene outside National Press Club to continue protest against 'enforced disappearance' of Hafeez Baloch a day after police highhandedness
Updated 02 Mar, 2022 05:37pm
On Wednesday morning, the students once again staged a peaceful hunger protest in a camp despite the baton charge by the security officials a day ago. @BSCIslamabad
On Wednesday morning, the students once again staged a peaceful hunger protest in a camp despite the baton charge by the security officials a day ago. @BSCIslamabad

As videos on social media showing police baton charging those participating in a protest against the enforced disappearance of Hafeez Baloch outside the National Press Club in Islamabad went viral, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said the Islamabad police's action was "absolutely unacceptable" and that she would seek reports from the officials.

"We as a party held many peaceful protests in Islamabad and we have always supported people's right to the same. Absolutely unacceptable ICT police, with DC watching, baton charge peaceful protest of young unarmed ppl protesting disappearances & profiling of Baloch students at Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU)," Mazari tweeted on Wednesday.

She further said: "MoHR has received complaints & we will be seeking reports from the police, ICT admin & QAU. Our govt has allowed our pol [political] opponents to protest & hold dharnas in ICT so using police violence against unarmed ppl is not our govt's policy."

@ShireenMazari1
@ShireenMazari1

Sharing a video of the baton charge, lawyer Imaan Mazari, who had joined them in the protest, said students were severely beaten and they had to be taken to the hospital.

She also shared images of Baloch students who were injured and said one of the student was missing.

Journalist Asad Toor claimed that students were targetted at the behest of personnel of sensitive agencies.

"A large number of Baloch students gather outside National Press Club of Islamabad for protest against harassment and profiling at their campuses, agencies men in plain clothes roaming around and police encircled them after getting “instructions”.

As per Baloch Student Council Islamabad, one of their activists Qasum Murad was taken into custody by the officials only to be released later. However, he was "harshly beaten" by the Islamabad police, they added.

Member of National Assembly Majeed Dawar also joined the protesters outside the National Press Club. Later, he along with lawyer Mazari negotiated with Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafaat to let them continue the protest after the use of force by the police.

On Wednesday morning, the students once again staged a peaceful hunger protest in a camp despite the baton charge by the security officials a day ago.

On February 13, Baloch Students Council had staged a protest in front of the National Press Club against the enforced disappearance of Abdul Hafeez and to demand justice for other Baloch young men who had been killed.

Abdul Hafeez Baloch, who is the only student from Khuzdar doing MPhil, went missing from a private academy in Balochistan’s Khuzdar on February 8.

Recently, a hashtag to release Dileep Baloch continues to trend. "Dileep, a student of MA English Literature in IUB, has been abducted by Frontier Corps in Rakni Check Post Barkhan," a political worker Mahrang Baloch, tweeted.

A large number of cases are pending before the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, which is investigating the missing persons cases.

Meanwhile, a case of missing bloggers and journalists is ongoing in the Islamabad High Court, including the case of Mudassar Narua who has been missing since 2018. His four-year-old son Sachal regularly accompanies his grandmother to the Islamabad court to attend hearings. In the recent hearing of the case, the high court ordered the commission to submit a report before the next hearing.

Earlier, the court had granted time to the commission for effective investigation in the missing persons case and directed it to present final arguments.

Besides, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah had remarked that persons involved in enforced disappearances could not do it on their own without the consent of the federal government.

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