Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq on Thursday said that Baloch demonstrators have 'constitutional right' to protest and warned the Islamabad top cop against any hindrance in the protest staged by the Baloch marchers, Pakistan-based Geo News reported.

Justice Farooq made the remarks during the hearing of a case related to illegal arrests of Baloch long march participants in Islamabad. Islamabad Inspector General (IG) Akbar Nasir Khan appeared before the IHC bench after he was summoned by the Chief Justice as the court took up a plea against the arrest of Baloch protesters.

Authorities detained long march participants during a demonstration in Islamabad against the enforced disappearances of Baloch missing persons. The march began in Turbat and was enroute to Islamabad Press Club when the police intercepted them on Wednesday night.

On Wednesday, an advance party of Baloch Yakjehti Council (BYC) reached Islamabad through the motorway. However, the police barricaded all the main and artery roads, leading to the Red Zone, according to Geo News report.

Human rights lawyer Imaan Mazari appeared in the court on behalf of the protesters in the plea registered by long march organisers Sami Baloch and Abdul Salam.

During the hearing, Mazari said that force was used against the protesters, who were also baton-charged. She said, "Peaceful protesters were also detained, which is illegal," adding that the protesters included women and children.

Chief Justice Farooq asked about the status of 86 protesters, whose names are mentioned in the petition, who were arrested during the protest, Geo News reported.

In response to the question, Akbar Nasir Khan said there was no information available about the listed individuals.

Justice Farooq said, "Let them protest who have come to protest, its their constitutional right." The IHC Chief Justice warned the Inspector General against any one of his officers impeding the protests.

Akbar Nasir Khan said that all the people nominated in the FIR lodged at the Tarnol Police Station have been released. He further stated that those arrested in the FIR registered at Kohsar Police Station have been presented before the magistrate, according to Geo News report.

The court then adjourned the hearing and sought a report regarding the number of people detained, remanded in judicial custody, and released, by tomorrow.

Earlier in the day, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the violent police crackdown on Baloch protesters in Islamabad.

In a post on X, HRCP wrote, "HRCP strongly condemns the violent police crackdown on Baloch protestors in Islamabad, with women, children and the elderly subjected to unwarranted force in the form of water cannons and use of batons. Numerous women protestors have reportedly been arrested and separated from their male relatives and allies."

"This treatment of Baloch citizens exercising their constitutional right to peaceful assembly is inexcusable. It also reflects how little the state thinks of the protesters' demand that their right to life and liberty be upheld. All those detained must be released unconditionally. Once again, we urgently call on the government to organize a delegation to meet the protesters and give their legitimate demands a fair hearing," he added.

Meanwhile, the Baloch Yakjehti Committee (Islamabad) has accused the Pakistani authorities of adopting a fascist attitude towards the Baloch. It said that Islamabad police have conducted a crackdown on the long march and kept hundreds of youths, including participants at an unknown location.

In a post shared on X, Baloch Yakjehti Committee (Islamabad) stated, "The Islamabad police has cracked down on the long march and kept hundreds of youths including the participants at an unknown location. The state has adopted a fascist attitude towards the Baloch. We strongly appeal to the Baloch people to show a strong reaction, to convince the upper class with public power and force that we are not afraid."

The Baloch Yakjehti Committee (Islamabad) also condemned the police attack on the protest in Dera Ghazi Khan. It further said that several protesters were arrested in Dera Ghazi Khan.

Islamabad police dispersed the Baloch protesters late at night as the long march against alleged extrajudicial killings in Balochistan continued in full swing, VOA Urdu reported. A water cannon was used for this purpose, and many people including women were arrested too.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), VOA Urdu reported, "The Islamabad police started dispersing the long march to highlight the issue of missing persons in Balochistan late at night. A water cannon was used for this purpose. Many people including women have been arrested. While many people were reportedly injured due to police violence."

On Wednesday, the long march against the alleged Baloch genocide and disappearances started to move towards Islamabad. The Baloch Yakjehti Committee has called for Baloch people to gather in front of Balochistan University on Thursday, from where the movement against the ongoing state violence against Baloch mothers and sisters in Islamabad will be launched.

The committee noted that the Baloch Long March against alleged Baloch genocide, illegal forced disappearance of the people, killing of missing persons by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in fake encounters and the activity of death squads across Baluchistan had seen widespread support.