Jul 30, 2015

Balochistan: Congressional Hearing on Baloch Repression

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee in the US Congress chaired a meeting in which evidence of the repression faced by the Baloch community was delivered. Speakers from the Canadian and European Parliaments, as well as Baloch leaders, shed light on the injustice and oppression perpetrated by the Pakistani Government.

Below is an article by Big News Network:

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, who is the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee, presided over a meeting in which alleged acts of repression in Pakistan's Balochistan Province was taken up.

The meeting on Capitol Hill was attended by representatives of the Jura and the Balochistan House, and the highlight of it was the issue of minority rights in Pakistan.

Among the prominent speakers were Canadian MP and Jura Chairman Russ Hiebert, Italian Member of the European Parliament Elisabetta Gardini, Executive Director of Balochistan House, Tarek Fatah and Baloch leader and activist Mehran Baluch.

In his remarks, Hiebert highlighted the injustice and oppression faced by the people of Balochistan at the hands of their own government.

He also spoke at length about the methods used by the army in Pakistan to torture and breakdown activists and leaders of minority groups to ensure their subjugation.

Italian MEP Elisabetta Gardini highlighted the extra-judicial disappearances and killings of Baloch people by the Pakistani authorities, and the growth of terror organisations within Pakistan.

She added that international terrorists like Mullah Omar, Hafiz Saaed, and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi carry out their nefarious activities from Pakistani soil, and under state patronage.

Executive Director of the Balochistan House, Tarek Fatah, highlighted the critical threat that Pakistan poses to the United States and other Western nations, by providing a safe haven for terrorist organisations, and by allowing the Chinese military to gain control of the strategic Gwadar Port close to the essential Persian Gulf petroleum shipping lanes.

Baloch leader Mehran Baluch said Pakistan is committing serious human rights violations in Balochistan, and through its policies, is changing the character of the secular Baloch into religious extremists.

He added that the Pakistan state has unleashed its proxy groups like the Lashkar-e -hangvi and the Jamaat-ul-Dawa, who are building madarsas throughout Balochistan, and are preaching hatred, targetting women's education, throwing acid on girls and killing religious minorities like Shias, Zikris, Ahmadis and Hazaras.

Congressman Smith announced the holding of a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee shortly to hear expert witnesses who would testify on "Ethnic and Religious Minority Rights in Pakistan".