Pakistan releases 290 activists detained over protests of forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings News
Pakistan releases 290 activists detained over protests of forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings

Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior announced Monday that the Pakistani police have released all 290 Baloch activists that were arrested while attempting to protest forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings last week in Islamabad.

Around 200 Baloch activists traveled 1,600 kilometers from Balochistan, Pakistan to Islamabad. They attempted to protest the death of Balaach Mola Bakhsh, who died in November while he was detained by police in Balochistan. Pakistani police used water canons and batons to disperse the activists. The detained protesters were taken to police stations.

In response, human rights organizations condemned the acts of the Pakistani police. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan wrote on X (formerly Twitter):

[The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan] strongly condemns the violent police crackdown on Baloch protesters in Islamabad … This treatment of Baloch citizens exercising their constitutional right to peaceful assembly is inexcusable. It also reflects how little the state thinks of the protesters’ demand that their right to life and liberty be upheld. All those detained must be released unconditionally. Once again, we urgently call on the government to organize a delegation to meet the protesters and give their legitimate demands a fair hearing.

In addition, Amnesty International South Asia stated that it was extremely concerned by the use of force against the Baloch activists in Islamabad. The group urged the Pakistan government to immediately release all activists and investigate the alleged disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

On November 10, Amnesty International called upon the government of Pakistan to cease the detentions, deportations and harassment of Afghan refugees. The group also said that Pakistani authorities target human rights defenders with enforced disappearances and have reduced the right to peacefully assembly. For example, two journalists were detained by Pakistani authorities in June last year. Furthermore, Pakistani police employed unlawful force in dispersing protesters outside the Provincial Assembly of Sindh on June 13 last year.