In brief

Protest in Balochistan seeks UN involvement against disappearances, extrajudicial killings

Thousands have protested for six weeks in response to human rights violations committed by Pakistan

A moment of the BYC protest.
A moment of the BYC protest. Author: Baloch Yekjehti Committee @ X
Thousands of Baloch have for the last six weeks protested against decades of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings by Pakistani forces. The protest movement, organized under the umbrella of the Baloch Yekjehti Committee (BYC), has settled in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, where it now says it will seek UN involvement.

The Baloch movement has demanded self-rule for Balochistan and respect for its human, economic, cultural, and linguistic rights since the mid-20th century. Pakistani authorities have often repressed Baloch organizations, whether armed or unarmed, and thousands of people have disappeared or been extrajudicially killed.

The current BYC protest movement gained momentum in November 2023, after a man, Balaach Mola Baksh, was arrested in an anti-terrorist operation and killed. Pakistan’s Counter Terrorist Department (CTD) says the death occurred in a clash with other gunmen, but the family claims the scene was staged to provide an excuse to kill him.

His family started a protest that was joined by more people and reached Balochistan’s capital Quetta in early December. From there, hundreds of people took to Islamabad, more than 1,000 kilometres away.

One of the BYC leaders, Mahrang Baloch, announced at the beginning of January that the protesters would organize a camp in front of the UN offices in Islamabad “to seek help from the international community.” This is not the first time the Baloch movement has tried this.

Mahrang Baloch is a Baloch activist who, in 2009, at the age of 16, denounced the forced disappearance of her father, Abdul Gaffar Langove, who was found dead with signs of torture a year and a half later.