HomeSocio Legal ColumnA Month of Wait in Tents

A Month of Wait in Tents

Nobody can gauge the scale of pain through which families of missing persons go. It is shattering, destructive and unfathomably painful. Only the victim can understand how much destructive it is.

Balochistan, an often-termed as the least stable federating unit of Pakistan, is a rich abode of missing persons. It homes hundreds and thousands of families who are being sailed in an endemic realm of agony and torture. The issue of missing persons, since acclaimed by the world institutions as the brazen form of humanitarian issue, continues to increase unabatedly in Balochistan with thousands of people remain disappeared. Yet the head in the luxury corridor of power fails to heeds towards the issue. In spite of resolving the cases of previously Disappeared people from Balochistan, the practice of extra judicially missing the people continues to surge with students, intelligentsia and political activist being prime bait of the prey in the mineral rich, yet impoverished province. Resultantly, the growing sense of insecurity and state’s indifference towards the missing persons is enacting a thick wall of grievances and polarization that might not prove to be a positive for the national integrity and federal gist of the country.

Furthermore, it has enhanced the trust deficit to an extent that would pose serious challenges to the federation, and simultaneously, giving air to alienation in the already troubled province. The hands in power, however, care the least about the boiling level of grievances and widening the gap. In simple terms national integrity holds a hollow meaning for the wealthy few.

Now, it has been more than a month that the families missing persons have staged a sit-in camp in Quetta. Despite of increasing severity of the problems of missing person families, particularly due to latest rainfall in the city, the government on provisional fronts continues to adopt an ostrich approach towards them. Though some attempts were made by the district administration, all went without any positive array of success. These old aged mothers are compelled to spend their days in tents. During the latest urban flooding in the city which ended on Friday, everybody remained in homes and avoided to go outside, but the families of missing persons have had to take posters, labelled with the slogans of justice. Aren’t they the citizens of this country? Or, is the state powerless in front of people with the trim of power?

In fact, the peacefulness might be reason of government indifference towards them. So far, they have not destroyed a single thing. A single instance of violence hasn’t witnessed so far in the long journey of almost two decades. As a matter of fact, the state welcomes the people who embrace violence as their sole tactic to influence the decision of government not the peaceful ones, like the protests of missing persons. However, glancing the history of the country we find that only violent movements, like the Faiza Abad Darna-staged by TLP- got much success and influenced the decision of the state with their violent and warmonger tactics. Is it so that the law abiding and peaceful protest have no space and can’t not be entertained here? The Faiza Abad Dharna, which brought Islamabad at standstill, is among the examples of state’s double stranded policies to deal with the same citizens.

Hence, it seems there left no space for peaceful protests and demonstrations in this draconian system. Anyhow, it is a toxic and destructive cult for an assertive and mobilized system that unfortunately Pakistan lacks.

The tragedy is that here anything with a tag of missing persons goes missing. The missing persons’ bill, which was introduced by the then human rights minister Shirry Mazari, went missing on the way to the upper house of the Parliament. Still the bill is missing.  Nobody knows the whereabouts of the bill, so does the thousands of missing persons. None dared to raise an eyebrow, except few of the parliamentarian to the missing bill.


It is, in a nutshell, tantamount to play and mock the sentiments of the families of missing persons who have been fighting for their loved ones for decades. From missing bill of missing persons to the missing provisional government, it says much about the indifference face of the state.

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Nizam Hassan
Nizam Hassan
The writer is a freelance columnist based in Balochistan, Pakistan. He tweets on @NizamHassan10. He can be reached on : [email protected]


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