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Being Baloch in Punjabistan

The lack of educational institutions and the ongoing conflict in Balochistan and KPK push the youth of these regions to move to gain access to education. This desire for social mobility and the ambition to seek higher education brings the youth from the conflict areas to educational institutes outside their region.

Although they move for better prospects and to gain access to better resources, they still face extreme harassment, racial profiling, and even go missing. This has led to multiple sit-ins and protests by the Baloch and Pakhtoon students. They have a growing resentment among themselves as they are the ones that have had to pay the price for the state’s creation as they have been displaced from their homes and paid with their lives.

The students from Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad filed a petition against the harassment and the enforced disappearance of Baloch students in the Islamabad High Court. The students from the Baloch Students Council (BSC) said that a fellow student Bebgar Imdad was picked up from his hostel at Punjab University on the morning of April 27. Another Baloch student Hafeez Baloch was also picked up from his hometown in Khuzdar in February and was detained without an FIR for weeks and later charged with terrorism. Baloch students claim that this racial profiling has been going on for a long time. The Islamabad High Court ordered the President to meet with the students to hear their grievances and called for a commission to be formed to look into the case and ensure the safety of Baloch students on campus.

Looking at this from the perspective of class and ethnic privilege makes you realize your positionality in a country like Pakistan. As a Punjabi studying in a private university, conflict and racial profiling are almost unimaginable. These incidents make one feel that there are indeed different Pakistans.

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getting discriminated against and facing violence j because of one's ethnicity or belonging to a certain minority group is unacceptable. colleges and universities are places that play important role in shaping the future of a country. and when seeing the same spaces become unsafe and points of discrimination is sad and alarming. how is the future of such a country going to be? hatred, violence, and discrimination everywhere?

you also mentioned how the supreme court's judge asked the president to meet the students. and i wonder how would that have turned out to be. but regardless, the culprits behind the forced disappearances certainly have enough power to dodge such efforts. one can argue that social mobilisation to demand justice is…


An insightful post! I find it interesting how you brought in the perspective of economic privelege that is demonstrated through one's access to either private or public university. Your post alludes to a rampant tradition of prejudice common to public universities which is missing from the private universities. Do you think that this difference in the academic atmosphere is a product of the curriculum taught? If so, do you believe a standardized curriculum, that encourages inclusion and diversity would be the first step to overcoming the issue?


You have raised some interesting points. Rights groups like the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons estimate that at least 5,000 people have been subjected to enforced disappearances in Balochistan in the last 20 years. The security forces often accept that the missing persons have been detained on suspicion of being Baloch fighters. The UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances maintains that there were 1,144 cases of allegations of enforced disappearances in Pakistan between 1980 and 2019, with 731 people still missing. It is absolutely disappointing that such racial profiling is still taking place.


Students were dragged out of Examination halls the next morning and bludgeoned to the face of administration. Photoshoots and video clips recorded. I am talking about PU. Scores of students were arrested from press club. Innocent students were sent to police stations. Police treated them as if they were terrorists. Only In Race course police station, 72 students were imprisoned in a poky room without providing them any sort of bedding and nourishment. A few students were transferred to CIA investigation office, Model town police station and Muslim town police station amounting the total number of arrested Pashtun and Baloch students to 127.

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