AWP condemns killing of Baloch journalist after abduction in Sweden

Press Release

Slain journalist Sajid Hussain Baloch

The Awami Workers Party (AWP) condemns in the strongest possible terms the killing of Sajid Hussain Baloch in Sweden, a country considered to be a safer place, which boasts of rule of law, but which regrettably failed in its promise to protect Sajid.

Sajid Hussain Baloch, the editor of Balochistan Times, a news website, had been missing since March 2 and his body was found in a river in Sweden on April 23.

He was forced to leave Pakistan in 2012 after getting death threats from security agencies for his reporting on forced disappearances, human rights violations, state repression and drug trafficking in Balochistan.

In a joint statement, AWP President Yousuf Mustikhan, Secretary-General Akhtar Hussain Advocate, AWP Sindh President Dr Bakhshal Thalho, KP President Akhundzada Haider Zaman and Punjab president Ammar Rashid expressed grave concern at the heightened state repression on Baloch and Pakhtun activists under the garb of ‘national security’.

“This has become a dangerous pattern to intimidate, abduct, torture and kill activists and media persons; run smear campaign against dissenting voices through state-sponsored trolls”, the statement said.

AWP President Yousuf Mustikhan said that the murders of Sajid and Arif Wazir were a grim reminder of the continuing threat to the lives of those who asked uncomfortable questions from the state and the establishment.

He said other dissenting voices like AWP’s Baba Jan, Anjuman-e-Mazarein Punjab’s Mehr Abus Sattar and others continued to spend years behind bars for the crime of raising a voice for their people.

Mr Khan said the rulers needed to learn the lessons from the current pandemic and turn their attention from national security to human security. Instead, it seemed they were further increasing repressive measures against dissenting voices.

AWP Sindh President Bakhshal Thalho said two proud sons of the Baloch and Pashtun soil, Sajid Hussain Baloch and Arif Wazir, joined the ranks of those who have sacrificed themselves for the freedom of working people of all nations.

He said the politics of hate propagated by the state and its lackeys seemed to know no bounds. We must continue to believe in a politics beyond hate, the vision of a society in which humanity prevails above all else, in which all forms of culture can flower.

AWP Punjab President Ammar Rashid said the continued attempt to violently silence dissenting voices was a self-defeating strategy whose time was running out. More and more people are waking up to the crimes being committed in the name of national security, he said.

“More conscientious voices from across the country will continue to echo the demands of people like Sajid Baloch and Arif Wazir for an end to militancy and enforced disappearances as state policy. The more we ignore these demands, the more we condemn future generations to the same senseless slaughter, hatred and bloodshed,” Mr Rashid warned.

The AWP leaders called on the governments of Pakistan and Sweden to come clean on Sajid Baloch trace his killers and bring them to justice.