KARACHI: Doda Ellahi and Ghamshad Baloch — students of Karachi University’s Philosophy Department allegedly taken away from their house in the city on June 7 — have returned home, Nasarullah Baloch, chairman of non-profit organisation Voice of Balochistan Missing Persons said on Tuesday.
In a brief confirmation, the activist told Dawn.com that the students returned to their home near Maskan Chowrangi in Gulshan-i-Iqbal after 3am. “They both belong to the Kech district of Balochistan,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Shayhaq Ellahi and HudaHair Ellahi, siblings of Doda, had tweeted that their brother and his friend had been “safely released”. Shayhaq also posted photographs of the pair. Dawn.com was able to confirm that the accounts belonged to Doda’s family members.
Both of them went on to thank God and all the people who stood with the family during the difficult time.
Protest outside Sindh Assembly
The development comes a day after relatives, activists and friends of the two students were forcefully dispersed by police, and 28 of them were briefly arrested from outside the main gate of the Sindh Assembly in Karachi.
They were there to protest against the pair’s “arrests”. The demonstrators had camped out outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC) for the last four days.
The police action was widely condemned, as footage emerged of police personnel dragging peaceful protesters and stuffing them in police vans.
South-SSP Asad Raza told Dawn that the police detained 19 men and nine women as they tried to enter the assembly building. The officer denied that protesters were treated roughly. He added that woman police officers had detained female protesters.
The demonstrators were later released.
The protest organisers had accused the police of manhandling women and children. They said the Sindh police had broke their promise of arranging a meeting of the missing students’ relatives with Counter Terrorism Department officials on Monday. Therefore, they said, they again staged a sit-in near the Sindh Assembly building where the police manhandled and arrested protesters.
Earlier, around 120-130 relatives and members of different organisations, including activists Seemi Din Baloch, Abdul Wahab Baloch, Aamna Baloch, Naghma Sheikh and others, had marched from the KPC towards the assembly building where the budget session was ongoing. Passing through Sarwar Shaheed Road, they had staged a sit-in at the assembly’s gate.
Condemnation pour in
After peaceful Baloch protesters in Karachi were manhandled and detained by the police from outside the Sindh Assembly late Monday night, almost unanimous condemnation poured in, with journalists, analysts and politicians from across the political divide criticising the violence.
Several videos making the rounds on social media showed the police manhandling and forcefully dispersing them. Around 28 of them were detained.
On Sunday, approximately 120 to 130 people, including women, took to the streets near the main gate of the Sindh Assembly against the alleged abduction of two Baloch students of the University of Karachi (KU) by law enforcement agencies.
The two students of KU’s Philosophy Department — Doda Baloch and Ghamshad Baloch — were allegedly taken away from their home near Maskan Chowrangi in Gulshan-i-Iqbal on June 7 and returned home on June 14.
Their relatives and members of civil society organisations had set up a camp outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC) for the last four days. On Sunday night, they managed to reach the Sindh Assembly’s main gate where they staged a sit-in for the release of the missing students. Police and district administration held talks with them, persuading them to vacate the place as the provincial legislature’s budget session was scheduled to be held.
South-SSP Asad Raza told Dawn that the police detained 19 men and nine women as they tried to enter the assembly building.
Founder of the ‘Gwadar rights movement’ and local Jamaat-i-Islami leader Maulana Hidayat-Ur-Rehman, immediately after the police action, announced protests and rallies across Balochistan on Wednesday.