Jiand Baloch must be freed

December 5, 2018

Socialists and international human rights activists are campaigning to defend a Pakistani activist and his family who were abducted by the security services. This statement is from the International Executive Committee of the League for a Fifth International.

AT 3 a.m. on the morning of November 30, Jiand Baloch, a sociology student at Multan University was abducted by security services together with his father Abdul Qayyum Baloch and his 10-year-old brother Hasnain Baloch. They are the latest additions to a long list of forced “disappearances” across Pakistan, but in particular in Balochistan. The situation is extremely worrying; torture of detainees is commonplace and their very lives are seriously at risk.

Clearly, their abductions are not individual cases. Over decades, thousands of Baloch and members of other minorities have “disappeared,” — in other words, they have been abducted, for engaging in the struggle for their national and democratic rights and against discrimination.

Jiand Baloch himself is such an activist for democratic and student rights. He is a postgraduate student at Bahauddin Zakariya University in Multan, in southern Punjab, and has been elected as a Joint Secretary of the Baloch Student Organization, BSO. He has been engaged in numerous activities as a student and democratic activist, in particular in the fight against racial and social discrimination of Baloch and Pashtun students at his university, many of whom have been discriminated against or harassed by management or right-wing student organizations.

Jiand Baloch
Jiand Baloch

His abduction is clearly not only directed against his activism and peaceful, extra-parliamentary activities, independent and critical of bourgeois nationalist parties and of parliamentary politics, but also as a threat and a warning to others.

In the current period, democratic rights are under permanent attack in Pakistan — be it against national minorities like the Baloch people, bloggers, journalists or media activists. Abductions, disappearances, torture and murder have always been a part of the activities of the deeper state in the country. Given the economic crisis, the imposition of neo-liberal IMF-imposed programs, the effects of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, CPEC, program on the lives of ordinary people and the tensions between China and the U.S., which are struggling over influence in the country, the state is becoming become ever more authoritarian and increasingly uses outright repression and violence.

What you can do

Contact the Pakistan Embassy at 202-243-6500 or [email protected] and ask for the safe and immediate release of Jiand Baloch, Abdul Qayyum Baloch and Hasnain Baloch, a public investigation into the matter and an end of all illegal and extrajudicial abductions in Pakistan.

We fully solidarize with Jiand Baloch, his family and the many others who have been subject to forced abductions both in Balochistan and other provinces of Pakistan. We can only imagine the worries, fears and concerns that their families, their friends and comrades face. On the first day after the abduction, protests have already been organized in Quetta, Lahore and other cities.

In Quetta, there has been a peaceful sit-in and protest camp of women and children for the last month, organized by Seema Baloch, after the abduction of her brother, Shabir Baloch and other Baloch activists. Their cause has also won the support of many Pashtun students, who face similar discrimination, and the Pashtun Protection Movement, PTM, has called on its members and supporters to join the demos in Quetta, Lahore and other cities. The BSO and Jiand Baloch himself have been to the fore in organizing solidarity with the Pashtun people, whose activists have also been abducted.

These are the forms of actions that need to be spread and backed up en masse by left wing organizations, trade unions, student organizations and other democratic forces in the country in order to oppose the harassment, abductions and intimidation. In this way, fear and anger can be turned into action and become a force to defend the democratic rights of millions. Long live international solidarity!

We call on the international labor movement, all socialist, communist and democratic forces to solidarize with the missing persons and to demand their immediate release!

International Executive Committee
League for the Fifth International

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