Missing persons: VBMP suspends protest after govt assurances

HYDERABAD : Relatives of missing persons march on road atHyderabad press club as they participate in a rally organized by Voice of Baloch Missing Persons,Baluchistan to Islamabad. INP PHOTO by Yasir Rajput

The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) on Wednesday announced the temporary suspension of its nearly 10-year-old protest camp after the Balochistan government’s promises to recover the missing persons in the province.

VBMP Chairman Nasrullah Baloch, while addressing a news conference, said that the protest camp set up outside the Quetta Press Club has been suspended after 3,464 days for a period of two months on the assurance of Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan and his cabinet members.

“We have taken the issue of missing persons seriously and are committed to sorting out this problem,” the Balochistan CM said at the press conference held at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat. Balochistan Home Minister Mir Zia Langove, VBMP vice chairman Mama Qadeer and others were also present on the occasion.

Jam Kamal said his government had “sought two months” time from the protesters, reiterating his government’s sincerity to resolve the issue of missing persons.

The chief minister claimed that some political parties had made the issue of missing persons a part of their political agenda. “We will speak to all the stakeholders to ensure the safe recovery of missing persons,” he vowed.

VBMP Chairman Baloch revealed that more than 250 missing persons have returned to their homes since the new government took office in Balochistan in 2018.

Mama Qadeer said 11 missing persons had recently returned home in Balochistan after VBMP established contact with the provincial government. The protest camp would be resumed if the government failed to recover the missing persons as promised, Qadeer cautioned.

He also demanded that the issue of recovery of mutilated bodies in the province “must end once and for all”.

In 2009, the VBMP had set up its protest and hunger strike camp in the aftermath of unrest in Balochistan to build pressure on the authorities to ensure the safe recovery of missing political workers in Balochistan.