A seminar on ‘Baloch Missing persons and Role of the State and Society’ was held in Karachi University premises despite the refusal by the administration of the university. Karachi University refused the request for seminar by saying that the University auditorium cannot be used for seminar related to sensitive issues. It was organized by a Chemistry Professor, Dr, Riaz Ahmed. Mama Qadeer, Farzana Majeed and Mohammad Ali Talpur were invited to speak on the issue.
The issue became more controversial when Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) cancelled ‘Un-silencing Balochistan’ on orders from government, followed by the murder of Sabeen Mehmud, a human rights activist and director of T2F. The investigation of Sabeen Mehmud murder case revealed that Indian Intelligence Agency was involved in her murder to create chaos in the country.
Similarly in a period of one year three professors, Waheed-ur-Rehman, Shakeel Auj and Maulana Masood of Karachi University were killed by unknown people and the investigations are still going on.
Issue of missing persons and one sided speeches
The issue to be discussed in seminar was ‘Baloch Missing persons and Role of the State and Society’. The seminar was organized to debate and discuss the above mentioned issue but the flag holders of the freedom of speech and expression only expressed their opinion. They delivered their speeches and started to leave the scene, clearly avoided the questions of the participants. Some of the students even stopped them to ask the questions, but the speakers turn a deaf ear to their queries.
Freedom of speech is not just limited to the issue of missing persons, if the state and its agencies are held responsible for missing persons then activities of BLA and BLF should also be condemned. If the murder of Sabeen Mehmud is discussed and condemned then the killing of innocent laborers in Turbat by the BLA terrorist should also be discussed so that the participants of the seminar could hear both sides and get a clearer picture of the situation in Balochistan to understand the issues in its entirety.
Safety & Security of the students
After the murder of Sabeen Mehmud and three professors of Karachi University, the organizers of this seminar put the life of the students and participants in danger by arranging a seminar in the university’s premises even after the rejection of institute’s administration. As per the investigations of Sabeen Mehmud murder case, it has been established that some foreign agencies were involved in her murder. So the possibility of attacks on such seminars cannot be ignored. The university administration should have taken strict action against the organizers of the seminar for putting the life of students and professors in danger.
On the other hand, any student organization can organize a similar kind of gathering at the same time on some conflicting theme, which could result in the confrontation between two students groups. Therefore, to avoid such situation, the organizers of the seminar should have invited speakers from different backgrounds to create a healthy debate.
The so called flag bearers of freedom of speech should have called someone like Sarfraz Bugti from Balochistan who can inform the audience/students about the other side of the picture that was ignored in this session. If the seminar was meant to create awareness and inform the audience about the accurate accounts, then it should have incorporated speakers from diverse backgrounds to cater both sides of the story. Unfortunately, this was not the case in the discussion held. It was clearly a biased session, which completely overshadowed and negated the ground realties. The questions of the participants were clearly ignored and no speaker bothered to address any query.
These kinds of influenced sessions and seminar don’t prove much productive, as they leave the audience with fabricated stories and a lesser amount of truthful information. The institutions should shun such organizers rather than support them for such prejudiced notions.