After much drama, all detained Baloch marchers finally released from police custody

By
Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai
Members of Civil Society and the Baloch Community are holding a protest demonstration against the Islamabad polices used of force to disperse and detain Baloch demonstrators in Islamabad, held at the Karachi press club on Saturday, December 23, 2023. — PPI
Members of Civil Society and the Baloch Community are holding a protest demonstration against the Islamabad police's used of force to disperse and detain Baloch demonstrators in Islamabad, held at the Karachi press club on Saturday, December 23, 2023. — PPI

  • 290 Baloch protesters arrested during demonstration freed. 
  • Police say detained, remanded marchers released after court orders.
  • "Cabinet committee, Balochistan governor ordered their release."


ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad police said late Sunday night that all Baloch protesters arrested during a demonstration in the federal capital against the "enforced disappearances" of their loved ones have been released.

Taking to X, formerly known as Twitter, the capital territory police said that all the detained and remanded Baloch marchers have been released after the court's orders.

The capital territory police, on Wednesday night, used “excessive force” and rounded up all the Baloch protestors, who converged in the capital to stage a protest against “enforced disappearances”. The long march led by Baloch women had started their journey from Balochistan on December 6.

The police action against the Baloch women and men drew widespread condemnations from human rights bodies and political parties. Even the federal ministers admitted that the “protestors who reached Islamabad from Balochistan were not involved in the violence”.

Hearing a petition filed by long march organisers against the "illegal" arrests of Baloch protestors, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled next day: "Let them protest who have come to protest, it's their constitutional right."

As many as 290 protesters have been released from jails and from police custody, the post read.

"Cabinet committee and Balochistan governor had ordered their release," it added.

The development came after the protestors, who travelled to the capital city holding a long march from Turbat, gave the authorities a three-day ultimatum for the release of all the participants of the protest in Islamabad apprehended late on Wednesday night.

They also called for the dismissal of all cases registered against the detained protestors.

In an earlier post, the police said that the protesters had demanded the release of their detained companions during a meeting with a cabinet committee formed by the prime minister.

“Keeping in view the legal requirements, the bail of the arrested protesters has been approved. The detained protesters are being released,” it said, adding that the relatives of the detainees should contact them for information and assistance so that legal assistance can be provided.

Earlier, the Islamabad police said that the court had issued the orders to release 163 protesters after approving their bail.

Meanwhile, the Baloch Yakjahti Committee said that the protest sit-in continues in front of the National Press Club in Islamabad.