ANI Photo | Women activists at frontline of war against enforced disappearances in Pakistan

On International Women’s Day, women activists raised concerns over the enforced disappearances in Pakistan, reported Friday Times.
The Baloch, Sindhi, Pashtun, Shia and now Punjabi women are seeking truth, justice and accountability for their loved ones.
The defenders of human rights based in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Karachi, Larkana and Quetta are tirelessly advocating how enforced disappearances violate human dignity and terrorize families.
Despite the threats, harassment, false police cases, use of force and surveillance, delay in justice, and debilitating uncertainty, the women from the families of the disappeared have refused to cede space to the perpetrators and to the state apparatus trampling on their rights, reported Friday Times.
Amina Masood Janjua is Asia’s foremost campaigner against the crime of enforced disappearances. Her husband Ahmad Masood Janjua, forcibly disappeared in 2005 from Rawalpindi, is one of the emblematic cases of this crime.
Initially struggling with her loss and grief, Amina slowly began showing up for protests. Upon seeing the pain of the other families lacking resources and a platform to seek or access justice, Amina started guiding them and found her calling, reported Friday Times.

“Had I not consistently associated with [other victim] families, I would have drowned in hopelessness and depression and would have broken down. Whenever a victim is released, the relief and tears of the family members give me the strength to keep me going. My mission is to continue working for the separated families of the disappeared to reunite,” said Amina.
Dr Mahrang Baloch, a graduate of Bolan Medical College, she sees her medical service as a form of activism. Her, father nationalist political dissident Abdul Ghaffar Lango, was forcibly disappeared first in 2006 and then in 2009, before his extrajudicial killing in 2011. She was 16 when Lango’s body bearing torture marks was found in Gadani. Mahrang had to renew her participation in the Baloch movement for missing persons when her brother Nasir Baloch was subjected to enforced disappearance for more than three months in 2017. The fear of losing another loved one to state violence also made her set up a Twitter account.
“My first tweet was for the release of my only brother,” she said. She has not stopped demonstrating justice since then despite the threats and risks.
Sammi Deen has led the protests of families and has not been afraid to confront the police rounding up of Baloch men and women from protest sites. She was a child when, in 2009, her father, a doctor, and Baloch nationalist leader, was forcibly picked up, reported Friday Times.
Sammi, 25, has taken up a formal role with the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), “It was not an easy choice. I am the patriarch of my family, its ‘mard’, and the primary care provider for my mother, and follow up on my father’s case. But due to questions from other women’s relatives about pursuing cases, I decided to take up this responsibility.”
Sorath Lohar, with her sister Sasui, started marching for their father’s release and went to the court for justice when he was forcibly disappeared in 2017. Even after the release of their Sindhi nationalist father Hidayat Lohar in 2019, Sorath and her sister not only fearlessly led the campaign for the Sindhi forcibly disappeared but also collaborated with other affected groups’ including the Shia, Baloch and families of the MQM’s disappeared during sit-ins and strike camps in Karachi.
Sorath, 31, a lawyer by training, is also engaged in documentation of Sindhi missing from the platform of a collective for Sindhi forcibly disappeared and advocated to shed light on their plight on global forums. For her advocacy, Sorath is continuously on the receiving end of the security forces’ ire, who have rolled out a slew of unproven accusations against her, reported Friday Times. (ANI)

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