Nov 17, 2017

Balochistan: Activist Mehran Marri and Family Detained in Switzerland Before Being Handed Lifetime Ban From Country

Photo Courtesy of ANI

Balochi activist Mehran Marri and his family were detained at Zurich airport on 16 November 2017, while on their way to attend a Baloch unity event in Geneva. On his twitter, Marri claims that his detention and lifetime ban by Swiss authorities was influenced by the Pakistani Government in Islamabad. Despite what happened, he maintains that the peaceful and legal struggle for Balochistan will continue. Commenting on the event, fellow activist Bhawal Mengal condemned the ‘malicious and desperate attempts of the Pakistani government’ to silence the voices of Balochi representatives who are working to ‘raise awareness of the worsening situation in Balochistan and Pakistan’s crimes against humanity’

The following article was published by aninews:

Mehran Marri, a key leader of the Balochistan struggle, has been detained by the Swiss authorities at the Zurich airport.

Informing the same, Mehran Marri, the president of the Baluchistan House, tweeted, "Friends, I have been detained at Zurich Airport for the last few hours and feel I am under arrest by Swiss authorities on request of the Pakistan Govt. My wife and children are also with me in detention. Don't worry, being detained is nothing new for the Baloch..."

Adding, "My father spent many years in far worse conditions, but never gave up. The peaceful & legal struggle for an independent #Balochistan free of Pakistani occupation shall continue no matter what the Punjabi generals & babus of that excuse of a country plan. We'll persevere"

He further said, "I have now been informed that I have been placed under a lifetime ban on entering Switzerland at the request of Islamabad. So much for the Geneva UNHRC being the world capital of human rights. I am still in detention at Zurich Airport with my wife and children. Stay tuned 4 more."

Another tweet of Mehran Marri read, "If it had been Pakistan or China, I wd have shrugged it off, but I never imagined Swiss Authorities would take mug shots of my 4-yr-old and seven-year-old children as detainees. The long arm of the Pakistan's billionaire Army Generals sure reach far beyond their bank accounts."

Youngest son of the late Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, Mehran Marri was travelling to Geneva to attend the Baloch unity moot called by his brother-in-law, Brahumdagh Bugti, president of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP).

Brahamdagh, who organised the meeting in Geneva, speaking to ANI on the detention, stated, "It is sad and shocking for me that he was stopped and detained with his family and children."

"I am really shocked how a neutral country like Switzerland can do that. Mehran's visiting the country is not new," Brahamdagh said, adding that the former used to often visit Switzerland "for last 15 years".

Baloch activist Bhawal Mengal also condemned the Pakistani military's "malicious and desperate attempt".

"This is a malicious and desperate attempt by the Pakistani military establishment to malign and curtail the freedom of Baloch representatives, who are working to raise awareness on the worsening situation in Balochistan and Pakistan's crimes against humanity. Developed countries should not be intimidated by Pakistan, which has been an international sponsor of terrorism," Mengal said.

Other than Mehran Marri, his estranged elder brother Hyrbyair Marri, who heads the Free Balochistan Movement, was expected to attend the Baloch unity meeting that begins this Saturday.

On a related note, Mehran and Hyrbyair Marri are active participants in the struggle for free Balochistan, while their eldest brothers Jangyz Marri, a provincial government minister and Gazain Marri, who ended his exile and returned to Pakistan in September, owe allegiance to the country.