As many as 70 students have been arrested by the police in Quetta after they tried to reach the chief minister’s house on Wednesday, demanding access to the internet for attending online classes.
As being reported, the students belonging to Baloch Students Committee have been staging a protest for the past three weeks protesting against the online classes and provision of internet services.
The activist and student leader belonging to the Baloch Students Committee, Mahrang Baloch was also among those who were arrested by the police.
“I am arrested along with other peaceful students,” she said in a video on her Twitter handle hours ago, adding that, “we were protesting online classes.”
As soon as the video of students’ arrest was uploaded on social media, it stirred the storm, and internet users showed their anger against the authorities calling it a “shameful act”.
Hashtag #ReleaseAllStudents started trending on top on the micro-blogging website Twitter for the immediate release of the students.
Disgusting state violence against student protestors. More power to @MahrangBaloch5, @jiandbaloch5, Muzammil Khan & other students who have long been braving state repression to demand justice & equality. They represent hope in changing this rotten system. #ReleaseAllStudents https://t.co/r2ugFUZiXw
— Ammar Rashid ☭🌹#FreeBabaJan (@AmmarRashidT) June 24, 2020
They don't have the right to live.
They don't have the right to education.
They don't have the right to protest.
They are from Baluchistan.
ظلم کے یہ ضابطے ہم نہیں مانتے#ReleaseAllStudents pic.twitter.com/htT5bUMguy
— Ahsan Taqveem (@AhsanUtTaqweem) June 24, 2020
A protest is something we have a democratic right to. It’s a shame that we as a free nation, are not even allowed to raise our voices against something that bugs us. It’s a real shame.#ReleaseAllStudents pic.twitter.com/A2Lc8lUGh2
— Hoorain (@its_hoorain) June 24, 2020
— Murtaza (@Murtaza22504185) June 24, 2020
— Abdul Rehman kakar (@AbdulRehmanka19) June 24, 2020
— Nazar Mohammad Domki (PSF) (@nazarbaloch07) June 24, 2020
Zamin Hussain Zaman, a police constable at Quetta’s Civil Lines police station said that students attempted to hold a demonstration in the city where all gatherings are strictly prohibited.
“The arrested students have been shifted to different police stations,” he said.
Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the government of Balochistan had already shut all educational institutions across the province in March. Later, the educational institutions had announced that they would be conducting online classes during this period of closure.
Opposing the decision of online classes, some students said that there are some areas in the province where internet services are not even available and they cannot attend the study sessions.
The arrest of the students in Quetta have also condemned by the human rights activists demanding for their release.
“We demand the chief minister of Balochistan ,Jam Kamal for the immediate release orders of all the students,” Jalila Haider, a human rights activist in Quetta, said in a tweet.
We #WDFBalochistan Strongly condemn the arrest of protesting students by the police against online classes. We demand @jam_kamal for the immediate release of all leaders of Students Action committee and Connect the Disconnect including #MuzamilKhan Immediately.
— Jalila Haider (@Advjalila) June 24, 2020
The leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also condemned the police arrest of students.
Taking to Twitter, Bilawal wrote, “To protest peacefully is a constitutionally protected right. Strongly condemn arrest of students in Quetta! Shutting out voices and high handedness has become a new normal under this regime. #PPP demands #releaseallstudents”.
To protest peacefully is a constitutionally protected right. Strongly condemn arrest of students in Quetta! Shutting out voices and high handedness has become a new normal under this regime. #PPP demands #releaseallstudents
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) June 24, 2020
Meanwhile, the human rights organization, Amnesty International has also asked authorities in Quetta to release the students.
Pakistan’s authorities must immediately release all students detained in Quetta who were demanding internet access to continue their studies. Their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly must be respected and protected.
— Amnesty International South Asia (@amnestysasia) June 24, 2020