Balochistan: Peter Tatchell Calls for Referendum On Self-Determination
[email protected] Foley
Following the latest publication of the Asian Human Rights Commission report, renowned political activist Peter Tatchell expressed his solidarity with the Baloch people in Pakistan who are facing violent repression from Pakistani agencies. He urged the UN to monitor a referendum on self-determination.
Below is an article published by Peter Tatchell Foundation:
“Pakistan is waging a war of terror against the people of Balochistan, according to new evidence documented by the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons and the Asian Human Rights Commission,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
“The first four months of this year have been particularly bloody and brutal.
“Terror tactics include ‘kill and dump’ abductions, mutilation, assassination, torture and imprisonment without trial of suspected Baloch nationalist sympathisers.
“Islamabad is colluding with the Taliban and encouraging the imposition of Islamist fundamentalism and sectarianism on the Baloch people. It is looting Balochistan’s vast natural resources, while leaving the people there impoverished.
“The UN must permanently station human rights investigators in Balochistan and supervise a binding referendum on self-determination.
“Pakistan should halt military operations and begin all-party talks to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the 65-year-long conflict, which began when Pakistan invaded, annexed and occupied Balochistan in 1948.
Watch the Peter Tatchell interview with Baloch UN representative Mehran Baluch:
Watch Peter Tatchell outline a potential peace plan for Balochistan:
“We are proud to republish the report below by the Asian Human Rights Commission,” said Mr Tatchell.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes:
During the first four months of the year 2013 no restraint was observed on the part of the (Pakistan) military in their actions. Abductions by unknown persons, disappearances and extrajudicial killings continue unabated in the war-torn zone of Balochistan province.
During the months from January to April, according to the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), an organisation that compiles records of missing persons and extra-judicial killings, 244 persons were abducted, 11 recovered, 34 extra-judicially killed and 26 died during military operations in different parts of the province.
According to the Pakistan Medical Association, Balochistan Chapter, 32 doctors are missing and 28 doctors have so far been killed. In addition, dozens of lawyers are missing and many have been extra-judicially killed after abduction. Besides this, generally there is no rule of law and any person can be picked up and killed for any reason.
However, a new situation has arisen in the policies of the law enforcement agencies in that they have extended their jurisdictions to other provinces. Today Baloch citizens are being abducted from Karachi, the capital of Sindh province, where they go for higher education.
The Baloch Students Organisation-Azad (BSO-A) is the target of supra constitutional forces. Students between the ages of 16 to 24 are kidnapped by persons in plain clothes and members of the Frontier Corps (FC). Two of them were extra-judicially killed, two were recovered with disabilities after continuous torture and two of them remain missing since January 2013.
Mr. Zahid Pazeer son of Haji Pazeer Baloch was abducted from Raees Goth Karachi on January 28, his mutilated body was found on March 10 along with another missing person, Abdul Rehman Baloch. Their internal organs, hearts, livers and kidneys had been surgically removed (harvested) most probably for sale.
Mr. Babu Iftekhar Baloch son of Mansoor Ahmed Baloch, a student, was also abducted from Raees Goth Karachi on January 28 by persons in uniform and plain clothes. He was a resident of Panjgur city, Balochistan. He was killed during the disappearance and his bullet riddled and torture marked body was found on March 6, 2013.
Mr. Ejaz Ghulam Baloch son of Ghulam Jan Baloch, a student, was abducted on January 24 from Dalmia, Karachi by persons in a jeep, which are generally used in Balochistan by agencies to abduct nationalists. Since then he has been missing and his whereabouts remain unknown. He was a resident of Panjgur, Balochistan.
Mr. Waseem Fazal Baloch son of Fazal Kareem Baloch, a student, was abducted by the agents of the state intelligence agencies from Raees Goth, Karachi, on January 28. His whereabouts remain unknown.
Mr. Aman Jan Baloch son of Sayyed Ahmed Baloch, a student, was abducted from Chitkan, Panjgur, Balochistan on February 22. He was kept in an unknown place in Karachi. He was eventually released by the captors but he is paralysed and cannot walk.
Mr. Shakir Baloch son of Mohammad Jan Baloch, a student, was abducted by plain clothed men in February, 2013 from Chitkan, Panjgur, Balochistan. He was kept in a torture cell in Karachi, he received injuries on different parts of the body and he also cannot walk properly.
Mr. Manzoor Ahmad Qalandarani was abducted from Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi at midnight of February 8, he was a student of the Iqra University Karachi. He is the son of a tribal leader Mushtaq Qalandarani. It is worth noting that 30 of his relatives have also been abducted. Among them 15 were released but 13 remain missing while two of them have been extra-judicially killed.
It is believed that the increase in human rights violations is linked to the election process. The supra-constitutional forces remained busy in their attempts to sabotage the elections as they feared that the citizens of Balochistan would join mainstream politics. The most recent abductions and extra-judicial killings are seen as a warning to the Balochis to keep clear of the political arena and to deny them the fruits of democracy.
The Voice of Baloch Missing Persons has compiled a list of abductions and extra-judicial killings on a monthly basis. In the month of January this year, 53 persons were abducted, one was recovered and nine persons were killed during military operations in different parts of the province. In February 54 persons were abducted, five were recovered, eleven mutilated bodies were found and eight persons were killed during military actions in different areas.
In March, 61 persons were abducted, among them five persons were recovered, eleven mutilated bodies were found and the rest remain missing. Seven persons were killed in military actions in different districts. In the month of April, 69 persons were abducted, no one was recovered, six mutilated bodies were found and two persons were killed in military actions. It must be noted that the bodies recovered may not refer to those persons abducted in the same month.
Although the process of making a new civilian government has been completed in Balochistan there is no sign that the situation in that province will return to normal. In the presence of the military and paramilitary forces it cannot be imagined as to how they will coexist with democracy.
The Asian Human Rights Commission is appalled by the callous and negligent behaviour of the armed forces and the government of Pakistan with respect to the ongoing human rights violations in Balochistan and elsewhere targeting Baloch citizens.
We urge the civilian governments to immediately halt the increasing armed interventions in Balochistan and start a comprehensive dialogue with all the factions and groups who are agitating against the country.
Unless and until the military is completely withdrawn there will not be a solution to the conflict. The governments must take immediate action to recover all missing persons from Balochistan and ensure that compensation is paid to the families of those who were extra-judicially killed.
About the Asian Human Rights Commission. AHRC is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.