Amid the ongoing protests in Islamabad, Baloch protestors have called for a shutterdown strike across Pakistan on January 3, The Balochistan Post reported. The announcement about the shutterdown strike comes at a time when protestors have been voicing their discontent over what they consider a dismissive attitude from state officials.
The Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC), which has been organising these protests, voiced its dissatisfaction over the government’s response in a statement shared on social media, according to The Balochistan Post report.
The BYC stated, “The state has consistently shown a half-hearted and uncommitted concern regarding our demands from the beginning,” accusing state authorities of calling their movement mere “propaganda.” In response to the government’s action, the BYC announced the strike and urged people to support the strike.
In a statement, the BYC said, “On January 3, we are calling for a shutterdown demonstration across Pakistan. We urge people from all walks of life to support and respect our call for the strike in the name of humanity and the Baloch nation, aiming to preserve our identity,” The Balochistan Post reported.
On January 2, Pakistan caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul-haq-Kakar termed the ongoing Baloch protest against alleged extrajudicial killings in the province as ‘irresponsible’ and ‘provocative’, Dawn News reported.
While addressing a press conference on the issues of Balochistan at Lahore’s central business district, Kakar said, “Advocates of terrorists in Balochistan should go and join them if they are convinced on the veracity of their issue and fight the state along with them, so that we know where they stand and how to deal with them,” referring to rights activists and journalists standing with the Baloch marchers, The Balochistan Post reported.
Responding to the media on the issue of police violence against Baloch protesters in Islamabad, Pakistan caretaker PM said that some of the people, media persons included, were trying to “mislead everyone, turning themselves into fake heroes of human rights and damaging the state”.
The strike on January 3 is planned to amplify awareness among people in Pakistan about the critical issues faced by Balochistan, particularly enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. The strike showcases the growing urgency and intensity of the Baloch people’s demands for justice and protecting human rights in Balochistan, The Balochistan Post reported.
Meanwhile, Mahrang Baloch, the face of the Baloch movement, has vowed to continue the ongoing protest and said that they are ready to make all kinds of sacrifices for the cause.
In a social media post shared on X, Mahrang Baloch wrote, “If this state thinks that we will be afraid of Islamabad Police’s threatening tone, torture and arrest and end our protest, then this is a childish thinking of the state. We have shouldered the mutilated bodies of our loved ones in Balochistan, we have buried the bodies of ten of our youth together, we have spent our childhood in deep pain and sorrow waiting for our loved ones, we have lost our mothers.”
She added, “We have seen the suffering that is unspeakable, we have seen the miserable lives of orphans And you are trying to scare us here with torture and arrests, to scare those who are afraid of losing something with torture and arrests. We have lost everything, everything we loved was what you took from us now we have nothing to lose. We will continue this struggle until the complete end of Baloch genocide and are ready to make all kinds of sacrifices for it.”
Moreover, the protesters also shared that the state administration is prohibiting food, tents, sound systems and other facilities in the cold weather at the protesting site.
The Baloch Yakjehti Committee shared on X, “The Islamabad Police is now crossing all limits. Now they are not allowing our foods, tents, sound systems and other facilities. In this cold weather, old Mothers and Sisters are desperately facing harsh difficulties. Anything can happen to their health. We are, from the beginning, saying that they are harassing us. In this video, you can clearly assume how they are threatening us and the mainstream media. We want to make sure, if anything happens to anyone then @ICT_Police and the State administration is totally responsible.”
Earlier on December 28, the protestors issued a seven-day ultimatum to the government. The protesters demanded the release of all detained protesters, a comprehensive investigation into human rights violations in Balochistan, an end to enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, restrictions on the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), and the dismantling of “state-sponsored death squads.”
(with inputs from ANI)