Civil society organisations, networks and individual rights activists across Pakistan have reacted with outrage to the news that the Voice of Missing Baloch Persons head, Mama Qadeer Baloch, is receiving serious threats and that their Long March from Quetta to Islamabad, now in its last stage, is in imminent danger.
A statement released on Wednesday said that Mama Qadeer has received a threatening telephone call from an unlisted number, informing him of the decision to prevent the marchers from entering Rawalpindi and
Islamabad and warning them that they will not be allowed to present their demands to the United Nations. The march was undertaken to demand accountability for the 18000 missing persons from Balochistan, which Mr. Qadeer's organisation has painstakingly documented.
Mr. Qadeer was reportedly told that preparations have been finalised to ensure that the march is forcibly stopped before it reaches Rawalpindi and that their safety lies in returning home from Wazirabad now.
Mr. Qadeer has appealed to the civil society and media to convey to the government that their march is Constitutional, legal, peaceful and non-violent, aiming to highlight the plight of the missing persons and serious notice should be taken of the threats.
The civil society groups condemned the threats and intimidation tactics from supposedly "mysterious" sources. It warned the government that if any section of the state takes action against Mama Qadeer Baloch and his brave band of women, men and children, walking the length and breadth of Pakistan in the freezing winter the government would be held responsible. It called for protection to the marchers while expressing solidarity with their cause. It said the government should take concrete measures to end the issue of enforced disappearances.