Voice of a Journalist & Human Rights Defender
By Yousaf Ajab Baloch
Baloch human rights activist Mama Qadeer 72, with 20 other Baloch women and children has made a history by breaking 84-year old record of Mahtama Gandi. Gandi had marched 390 kilometers on foot from Ahmedabad to Dandi against British Government in 1930, whereas Mama Qaeer Baloch traveled for more than 2000 kilometers on foot from Quetta to Islamabad through Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab for the harmless release of Baloch missing persons. Mama Qadeer’s this move will make new ways of struggle for young who are fighting for their rights.
This peaceful record has been made after 84-year. Because when Mahatma Gandhi started his Salt March on 12 March 1930 so he was 61- year old but Mama Qadeer Baloch took this responsibility in the age of 72- year.
Qadeer Baloch, known as Mama Qadeer is Vice Chairman of Voice for Baloch Missing Person (VBMP), a non-governmental organization striving for the safe release of Baloch missing persons. Mama Qadeer launched historic long march from Quetta to Karachi and then marched towards Islamabad to highlight the issue of enforced disappearance in Balochistan and ‘Kill and dump’ of Baloch political activists and people from different walks of life allegedly being carried out by secret state agencies.
Mama Qadeer‘s son Jalil Reiki, information secretary of Baloch Republican Party, was abducted on February 14, 2009 in Quetta allegedly by secret state agencies and his bullet riddled body was dumped in the Aap Sar area of Turbat on November 24, 2011.
The long march led by Mama Qadeer Baloch was started on 27 October 2013. Now the marchers have marched over 2000 kilometers. Mama Qadeer, Farzana Majeed and twenty Baloch women of victim families continued their march committedly, saying that they would continue their mission until they see the safe recovery of the disappeared Baloch. Regrettably, according to them not only they received death threats for calling off long march but also routinely the family members of missing persons received mutilated and decomposed dead bodies of disappeared Balochs. Qadeer Baloch and other marchers were also attacked while traveling towards their destination.
The VBMP has been protesting for last four years, yet there have been no extraordinary developments vis-à-vis the recovery of missing persons. Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) claims disappearance of some 18000 Baloch from different walks of life and 1000 of them have been extra judicially killed . The VBMP leaders assert that current rulers intensified the ‘Abduct, kill and dump’ policies in Balochistan and intelligence agencies have picked up a large number of Baloch political workers to suppress their voice ,however, officials disagree with the claims.
It does not seem that Baloch get justice and missing persons will be released but Mamam Qadeer is of view that long march has highlighted human rights abuse in Balochistan and bloody scenario on international level. “We succeed to convey the message that Baloch people have their own language, history and geography and struggling for ownership of their land and rights.” Said Qadeer Baloch
Mama is committed to continue their struggle until the disappearance and murder of youth and political activists continues. “Our struggle will go on until the safe release of last abducted Baloch in any torture cell and end of military operation in Balochistan.” Said Mama Qadeer Baloch in his recent interview to the Balochistan Point
If the media in Pakistan were balanced and human rights organizations were neutral, Qadeer after 1300 days peaceful strike would have qualified for human rights award. Unfortunately, it is not possible because firstly he is Baloch and secondly motivated against a policy allegedly imposed by real state runners. Therefore, for the media in Pakistan he does not deserve this position as human rights activist.
Mama’s role is really praiseworthy; the Quetta to Karachi and Karachi to Islamabad long march on foot has become a new history in Asia. The long march and more than four years peaceful protest may be productive or not but his character is becoming source of courage for the youngsters to continue struggle for their rights and be committed to their movement.
Published in the Balochistan Point on February 28, 2014