Convoy from Turbat protests reaches Quetta with dead body of 11-year-old

Thousands joined a sit-in protest to demand justice for death of 11-year-old boy killed in police raid in Buleda, Balochistan last week

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A group from the thousands who have been protesting for their rights in Turbat, marched into Quetta on Tuesday with the body of an 11-year-old boy, who was killed in a police crossfire last week.

The boy died after he was shot during firing by the police in a raid at his house to apprehend a murder suspect. The deceased’s family has refused to bury the boy till their demands were met. Jamaat e Islami’s Balochistan chapter leader Hidayat ur Rehman tweeted that a convoy of protestors had reached the Governor House in Quetta to demand justice for the slain. Rehman accompanied his tweet with a video that showed the boy’s body placed in the centre of the protestors.

Maulana Rehman has been at the forefront of a larger sit-in protest for Balochistan’s rights in Turbat that began on October 1. After two days of the protest, Rehman addressed the media and demanded that the government rectify issues such as water shortage in Gwadar and Makran.

Rehman said that the government had failed to provide basic services such as education and health facilities in the region, in addition to turning a blind eye to skyrocketing unemployment amongst Baloch people. Rehman said that the livelihoods of traditional fishermen were jeopardized as the government allowed larger trawlers to charter the waters for their business.

The JI leader also addressed the issue of missing persons in Balochistan and said that the youth were either missing or being drugged. He added that the dignity of Baloch people was consistently affronted as security personnel from elsewhere in Pakistan stopped to question them on their way home.

Rehman also took Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) members Abdul Qudus Bizenjo and Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal to task and said that they were ‘puppets’ in a democracy that was basically a farce in the province

For his role in the protests, the cleric has allegedly been placed on the Anti-terrorism Act’s Fourth Schedule. Lawyer Mohammad Jibran Nasir posted on Facebook and said that it was a shame that the government was punishing a figure like Rehman whose only crime was to stand up for the rights of the Baloch people. Nasir said that he was placed on the fourth schedule for demanding necessities and human rights for the people of Balochistan.

As per Nasir’s claim, the Baloch leader has been placed on the fourth schedule in accordance with the 1997 Anti-terrorism Act. If a person is proscribed under the fourth schedule, their activities and movements are under the surveillance of authorities. The fourth schedulers are also disallowed to travel without approval from a nearby police station.