Thousands of relatives of missing persons and their supporters arrived in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad today. It’s the end of a 105-day march by activists who say their own government has failed to explain the whereabouts of thousands of Baloch it took into custody in the last decade. Umar Farooq reports from Islamabad.
Ten-year-old Ali Haidar Baloch has walked more than 1,200 miles across Pakistan, trying to find out what happened to his father.
“My father, Muhammad Ramzan Baloch, was picked up by intelligence agents in front of me on July 14, 2010,” Ali says. “We still don’t know where he is. I am marching for my father, and for the 18,000 other Baloch brothers who are missing or have been killed. We are saying if they are guilty, then bring them to court, if they have been killed, do them justice. We are marching to learn the fate of my father and those other 18,000 people.”
Ali and fifteen other ethnic Baloch with missing relatives reached Islamabad today. The marchers have been joined by thousands of supporters and opposition lawmakers have promised to meet them, but leadership from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League has not. Disheartened by their government’s inability to account for the missing, the marchers are asking the United Nations to intervene on their behalf.