South Asia and Beyond

She Is Giving The Pakistani Army A Tough Time!

 She Is Giving The Pakistani Army A Tough Time!

“The unidentified graves you see out here are ours and we will not let you forget the graves of Baloch.” Strong words when one realises the speaker is a woman belonging to one of the most patriarchal societies in the world: Balochistan. Yet doctor-turned-activist Mahrang Baloch is succeeding, she is able to mobilise vast crowds on the issue of people abducted and killed by Pakistan’s security and intelligence agencies.

Who is Mahrang Baloch?

Mahrang is trying to draw international attention to Islamabad’s atrocities against its Baloch population. Her crusade is born of her own tragedy: her father was abducted in 2009 by Pakistan security forces when she was very young. His body bearing multiple marks of torture was recovered only two years later. Her brother too was abducted in 2017 and tortured for three months by the Pakistani military.

Mahrang is now a key figure in the women-led Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC), a rights group campaigning against enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of ethnic Baloch.

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What does Mahrang want?

According to Pakistan’s Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, at least 2,708 people have gone missing in Balochistan since 2011. Mahrang is demanding closure for the families of the victims. She wants justice for them and wants the crimes investigated and the guilty brought to book.

Her activism also focuses on the exploitation of Balochistan’s vast resources of gas and minerals that tend to benefit every other Pakistani province but Balochistan.

Why has the Pak army not targeted her?

It is a matter of some speculation why Mahrang has not been targeted by the Pak military. Perhaps because she is a woman, vulnerable and therefore any move against her could spark off a wider civil disturbance in Balochistan. It could well be that the military is biding its time, hoping her agitation which has reached the gates of Islamabad, will lose traction and her followers will disperse.

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