ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday directed the interior secretary to develop a mechanism to end the ethnic profiling and disappearance of Baloch students in the country.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the directives while hearing a petition filed by rights activist and lawyer Imaan Zainab Hazir against harassment of Baloch students who were protesting in Islamabad over disappearance of their missing colleague.
In the previous hearing, Justice Minallah had asked President Dr Arif Alvi to dispel the impression of ethnic profiling of the Baloch students.
During the hearing, Hazir told the court the president had given assurances to the students. “However, Bebgar Imdad – a student of National University of Modern Languages in Islamabad – was picked up from Punjab University yesterday”, she said.
Another student, Dr Dildar Baloch, was picked up from Karachi, she said, adding: “It seems the government is not taking the matter related to Baloch students seriously.” She added that the Higher Education Commission (HEC) should issue notices to all varsities so that Baloch students are not harassed.
“What did the president do?” Justice Minallah asked. These are real issues but the previous government also ignored them, the IHC chief justice remarked, questioning who was responsible.
“Why is there a human rights ministry when neither the previous government nor this one did anything?” he asked. “Do not say there is a law and order situation, why should children be affected by this?”
Justice Minallah pointed out that political parties’ statements were different before they came to power but once in government, they forget everything.
Deputy Attorney General Syed Mohammad Tayyab Shah requested the court for time so he could ask the new government for instructions.
“You can write to the government that the state is weak,” Justice Minallah replied, asking how it could ignore human rights violations. It is the job of the political leadership in a democratic society to find a solution, the chief justice observed.
A day earlier, security agencies picked up Bebgar Imdad from the hostel of the Punjab University, purportedly in connection with the Karachi University (KU) suicide blast case.