The World Forum of Fisher People and Masifundise Development Trust have supported the call for the release of Mr Saeed Baloch, general secretary Pakistan Fisherfolk, Karachi, who disappeared after his arrest by Pakistan rangers.

Baloch was arrested on the 16 of January.

Mr Baloch was “invited” for questioning by the Pakistan Rangers last Saturday afternoon, and has been detained since, allegedly for financing gang wars in the Sindh provincial capital. However, when media contacted the Pakistan Rangers headquarters at Karachi, the spokesperson denied his arrest and said that he is no longer with the Rangers.

When arrested Mr Baloch was able to inform his colleagues via phone that he had been taken into custody by the Rangers but since then, the Pakistan fisherfolk have not been able to reach him. No charges have been framed against him to date. The Sindh police denied his arrest.

A letter coordinated by the Asian Human Rights Commission pleading for the release of Baloch is making its way to a number of decision makers in Pakistan including to the Prime Minister.

“We are dismayed that under the guise of ‘terrorism’, Saeed Baloch is being punished for being a political activist and human rights advocate” says the letter.

“Like in many other instances, his disappearance reveals the dangers of handing over sweeping powers to military, paramilitary and law enforcement authorities under the draconian Anti-Terrorist and Protection of Pakistan Acts (PPA). Instead of actually tackling the material and ideological infrastructure of terrorism in the country, the authorities routinely abuse their powers to target those engaged in resistance to injustice and inequality”.

Masifundise Director Naseegh Jaffer says that Baloch is a leader of the World Forum of Fisher People in many ways and his work for protecting human rights of small-scale fishers should not go unnoticed, “We call for his (Baloch) immediate release and we (Masifundise and WFFP) add our voice to those people in Pakistan and all over the world who support the work that he does, especially the work on protecting the human rights of small scale fishers”.

Masifundise has signed the plea letter and send it to the respective representative.

To support this plea and ask for the immediate release of Mr Baloch go here:

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