Pakistan: Awaran’s arrested women released from Khuzdar jail

Pakistan: Awaran’s arrested women released from Khuzdar jail

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QUETTA: Balochistan government on Monday released three Baloch women arrested from Awaran district after a strong reaction from political parties and rights organisations. The officials of District Jail, Khuzdar confirmed the release while Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) Chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal and Sanaullah Baloch, a member of Balochistan Assembly, also took to Twitter to announce their return.

Their arrest sparked outrage among Baloch nationalist parties and human rights organisations who vehemently condemned the step and expressed displeasure over the attitude of the provincial government towards Balochistan’s norms and traditions.

Sakina, Sayad Bibi, Nazal and Hameeda were picked up by security forces last week under the anti-terrorism act. The forces claimed that the women had been delivering arms and explosives to armed groups who were targeting forces and government installations in the restive Awaran.

The BNP-M chief had warned that his party would pull out of its alliance with the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) if the women were not released.

“This wouldn’t be for the first time for us to quit the ruling alliance. We will not compromise when it comes to our dignity,” Mengal said while delivering a fiery speech in the National Assembly last week.

“Dictators have failed in the past when they tried to run Balochistan at gunpoint and the present government won’t be able to do either,” he added.

BNP-M lawmakers and MNAs from tribal districts then staged a token sit-in in front of speaker’s dais and staged a walkout from the House.

The deputy speaker, who was chairing the session, summoned the interior minister to the assembly to explain why the women were arrested.

Later, Interior Minister Brig (retd) Ijaz Shah assured the Balochistan National Party-Mengal delegation of the federal government’s full support in getting released four women arrested in Awaran last week.

“We respect the culture and sentiments of the people of Balochistan,” said the interior minister while addressing a BNP-M delegation at the Parliament House on Friday.

Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, members of the BNP-M delegation, headed by Akhtar Mengal, and others were in attendance.

Balochistan National Party-Mengal protested against the arrest of four women in Awaran district on charges of terrorism and described the move as an attack on Baloch traditions.

Addressing a press conference at the Quetta Press Club, the BNP-M Acting President Abdul Wali Kakar said the way four Baloch women were picked up from their homes in Awaran district is unequivocally condemnable.

“It is beyond comprehension as to why the provincial government has not taken any step to address the concern over these arrests,” he had said.

The BNP-M leader had said their party would stage a protest across the province against the said incident. “This is an unconstitutional and inhuman act which we cannot tolerate at any cost. This incident can worsen the situation in Balochistan,” Kakar

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