(Note: this article was published last year, on 11th anniversary of Dr.’s enforced disappearance)
Daughters of Dr Deen Mohammad and families members of other missing persons of Balochistan have announced a protest demonstration today, on the eleventh anniversary of the disappearance of the doctor.
On June 28, 2009, personnel of the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force in Balochistan, broke into the house of Deen Mohammad in Khuzdar, Balochistan. He was beaten, blind-folded, hand-cuffed, thrown into a military vehicle and taken away. Nothing is known about his whereabouts since.
Deen Mohammad is a physician and politician. He is from Mashkay, Awaran, and was serving as a doctor at the Ornach hospital in Khuzdar at the time of the abduction.
He was affiliated with the Baloch National Movement (BNM), a pro-independence party in Balochistan. Several leaders and activists of the party have been abducted over the years with many extra-judicially killed by the country’s security forces, including its founder and chairman, Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, secretary general, Dr Mannan Baloch and information secretary, Razak Sarbazi. In such a scenario the family of Dr Deen Mohammad fears for his fate.
On June 29, 2009, his daughters and wife held a press conference in the Quetta Press Club and shared the news and details of the incident. They registered a case with the police in Khuzdar. They also filed a petition in the Balochistan High Court but it seems all their efforts so far have gone in vain. The Pakistan Medical Association Balochistan protested against Dr Deen’s abduction, refusing to perform their duty and demanded safe recovery of their fellow missing doctors, including Din Mohammad. But it did not work.
Dr Deen’s daughter Mehlab and son Mansoor sat on hunger strike along with Mama Qadeer, Vice Chairman of the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons, in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, in February 2010, demanding release of their father.
In September 2013, his daughters Mehlab Baloch and Sammi joined the family members of other missing persons of Balochistan in a historical 2,500 kilometre long march from Quetta, capital of Balochistan, to Islamabad to raise awareness in the public and pressurize the government to produce the missing persons in courts of law if in case there are any charges against them.
The Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Council of Pakistan (HRCP) had reported the abduction of the doctor and asked the government to release him. But their requests remained unheard.
In May 2017, the case of his disappearance was registered with the UN’s Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance.
The police FIR, court petition, peaceful protests, hunger-strike camps, thousands of kilometers of long march could not force Pakistani intelligence agencies to produce Dr Deen in court. Appeals by Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch, the HRCP and the UN’s working group on enforced disappearance also fell on deaf ears. It may mean that the government is not ready to listen to anyone on the issue of the enforced disappearances in Balochistan. But, it shows how irresponsible a state can be when it comes to basic human rights guaranteed under many international conventions signed and ratified by the state.
Dr Deen’s kids are grown up now, during these eleven years of continuous struggle, in camps and protests. They may or may not expect any good from the state, but they have not tired and are not ready to give up on the case of their loving father who was a messiah to many in the villages where he served as doctor and saved lives who could not afford costly treatments in Pakistan’s private hospitals.
We appreciate the struggle of the missing doctor’s daughters and all the family members of missing persons who are struggling for the safe release of their loved ones, even knowing that the government has not been responsive towards their pleas, but has been trying to pressurize them to end their protests and withdraw from their demands. We request family members of all the missing persons of Balochistan to keep raising their voice for their loved ones as no one will care for them if the family itself does not care first.
We appeal to the UN bodies, Amnesty, the HRW, the HRCP and all the human rights groups across the world to raise their voice for the safe release of Dr Deen Mohammad and thousands of others who are suffering in torture cells of Pakistan military.
(Updated for title, on 28 June 2021)