Occupied Balochistan: Student Leader Abduction & Millions Out of School

What happens to education in a country struggling for independence?

In occupied Balochistan, being occupied by Pakistan, independence Balochistan activist, Zahid Baloch, the leader of student movement & BSO Azad (An independent Belochistan Movement) was abducted in 2014, and his whereabouts remain unknown. And on education in Balochistan, about 2 million students are out of school.

The BBC has a report on the abduction of Zahid Baloch (see here) and the following is from the article, in an earlier interview with Zahid Baloch:

Writer or fighter

Six months before his abduction, I met Zahid Baloch at a remote unknown location in District Awaran, Balochistan. At the time, he introduced himself to us as Baloch Khan.

He told us he was forced to live in hiding because of Pakistan’s alleged “kill and dump” policy targeting Baloch separatists. “If they find me, they’ll kill me,” he told us back then.

Zahid Baloch insisted his was a political struggle for self-determination.

“Whether you are a writer or a fighter, in Balochistan if you talk about freedom, they come after you,” he had said.

“Pakistan, and even Iran, have subjugated the Baloch people. They want to erase our language, culture and heritage. The only way we can win freedom is through a national struggle.”

But Pakistani officials accuse people like you of getting support from India, I put to him.

He smiled and replied: “They said that about Bengalis as well. They went on a killing spree to suppress their freedom struggle in 1971. And look what happened? It created Bangladesh.”

The Pakistani government outlawed Mr Baloch’s Azad group in March 2013 along with a dozen other militant and radical factions.

& on education (see here)

Balochistan faces massive education challenges to encourage nearly two million children to return to school.

QUETTA —1.8 million children in Balochistan are out of school, said Sardar Raza Barech, education advisor to Chief Minister (CM) of Balochistan on Monday.

Mr. Barech made the revelation while speaking at a program titled “Education Governance” that was organized by Mishal Pakistan in Quetta Press Club.

According to Barech there are 800 high schools and 1,165 middle schools in Balochistan.

“1.1 million students are admitted to primary schools and only 50,000 of them make it to Matriculation,” added Mr. Barech.

Barech painted a very dismal picture of Balochistan’s education. “The literacy rate among females is just 19 percent and among males is less than 50 percent,” he said.

Admitting the political influence exerted by different groups, Barech stated that education changes are not easy to achieve, but pledged millions in government funding toward improving the education system.

The Baloch advisor failed to properly answer tough questions when asked about issues such as high NTS test fee for education department vacancies. He pleaded ignorance about the matter when asked about threats to college girls in Gwadar.


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