Protest Held In Lahore Against Alleged Enforced Disappearance Of Baloch Medical Student

Protest Held In Lahore Against Alleged Enforced Disappearance Of Baloch Medical Student

Students and people from various backgrounds participated in the protest.

ANIUpdated: Monday, March 25, 2024, 01:35 PM IST
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Islamabad: The Baloch Students’ Council (BSC) Punjab held a rally in Lahore on Saturday to protest against the alleged enforced disappearance of a Baloch medical student from Sargodha, Khudadad Siraj, The Balochistan Post reported.

The rally started with a large procession and concluded with a peaceful demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club. People who participated in the event handed out leaflets to raise awareness about the challenges faced by Baloch students, in Balochistan and elsewhere.

Students and people from various backgrounds participated in the protest. Khudadad Siraj, a second-year pathology student at Sargodha Medical College, was reportedly taken into custody on March 8, near Al-Rasheed Hospital on Bahadur Shah Zafar Road, by armed individuals who forced him into a white Cultus car and left the scene, according to The Balochistan Post report.

While addressing a press conference in Quetta, Khudadad Siraj’s family shared details about his disappearance. They recalled that Khudadad was taken away while he was out to purchase bread with a friend, as a man in a car engaged him in conversation until another vehicle arrived, from which several armed men came out, abducted Khudadad, and drove away, according to The Balochistan Post report.

After this incident, Khudadad Siraj’s family protested in Tijaban, Turbat, and blocked the M8 Highway to demand his safe return. The protest was ended after local authorities assured them of his release. However, the promise remains unfulfilled, with Khudadad still missing.

Protesters in Lahore expressed their concern over the pattern of disappearances among Baloch students in various Pakistani cities. They called Khudadad Siraj’s case a continuation of harassment and racial profiling at universities across the nation, The Balochistan Post reported.

They stressed that such actions seek to force Baloch students, who travel to other regions to study, to leave their studies and return to Balochistan. Notably, Khudadad Siraj and others like him, who are active in Baloch student councils, are targeted for their political involvement, The Balochistan Post reported.

The student councils support new students in adapting to their new environment and organise cultural and educational programmes to help integrate them and have no involvement in any illegal activity. The protesters in Lahore warned that if Khudadad is not found, they plan to start widespread protests in collaboration with other student groups in Pakistan.

Earlier on March 9, prominent Baloch activist Mahrang Baloch expressed concern over the alleged enforced disappearance of a Baloch student and urged human rights organisations to intervene. The “enforced disappearance” of Baloch student Khudadad Siraj is not the first such incident. The enforced disappearance of Baloch people is a major issue in Pakistan.

In a post on X, Baloch stated, “The enforced disappearance of Baloch student Khuda Dad Siraj, son of Siraj Ahmed from Sargodha, Punjab, is alarming. The escalating incidents of such disappearances among Baloch students in educational institutions in Punjab and Islamabad are deeply troubling. I urge human rights organizations to address Khuda Dad’s disappearance by Pakistan’s secret agencies in Sargodha.”

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