Pakistan bans Baloch activist from US trip

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Abdul Qadeer Baloch campaigns for the families of those who have disappeared in conflicts

Pakistani authorities have stopped a rights activist from the strife-torn Balochistan region from travelling to a conference in the US.

Abdul Qadeer Baloch and two other activists were stopped from boarding a flight at Karachi Airport because he is on a so-called exit-control list.

The 73-year-old campaigns for people whose family members have disappeared in the region's overlapping conflicts.

He told the BBC that he would fight the travel ban.

Taliban militants, Baloch separatists and other groups fight in the Balochistan region, which borders Iran.

Rights groups often accuse government forces of arbitrary killings of rebels and enforced disappearances of activists.

The government denies the claims.

Mr Baloch, known as Mama Qadeer, told the BBC's Shahzeb Jillani in Karachi that airport staff had accused them of "anti-Pakistan activities".

"How can the state deny us travel without any reason? We are not criminals. We are civil society activists struggling for the rights of our people," he said.

He accused the authorities of preventing Baloch people from raising their cause on the international scene.

"We will not give up. We will go to court. We will go to media and we will continue our protest," he said.

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