Sep 01, 2008

Balochistan: Human Rights Abuses Continue

Sample ImageEven after the resignation of Pervez Musharraf, egregious human rights violations continue.


Below is an article published by The Guardian :

Four Baloch prisoners have been burned alive in hot coal tar by the Pakistan army during military operations in annexed and occupied Balochistan, according to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

Last week the AHRC received confirmation that Pakistani soldiers arrested four people on April 5 2008, in the Dera Bugti district of Balochistan, and subjected them to torture. They were asked to identify local supporters of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). After failing to get any names from them, the victims were immersed in scolding hot coal tar. Three of the men were literally boiled and burned to death. A fourth died later from his injuries.

Villagers in the area also claim the Pakistan army used a form of chemical gas against them and that some of the gassed survivors were later shot. Their bodies have not been handed over to relatives for burial.

These and many other crimes against humanity are still happening in Balochistan, despite the resignation of the dictator President, Pervez Musharraf, and despite Pakistan's ostensible transition to democratic government.

During July and August [2008], over 100 Baloch persons were killed, 250 disappeared and more than 20,000 were displaced. They are victims of intensified military operations by the Pakistan army, which has occupied Balochistan since invading in 1948 and forcibly incorporating it into Pakistan.

Cobra attack helicopters that were provided by the US to help defeat the Taliban and al-Qaida are instead being used to crush the Baloch people.

On May 1 this year [2008], the new democratically elected prime minister of Pakistan, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, publicly apologised for the persecution of the Baloch people and pledged to halt military assaults in Balochistan:

“It has been decided that no army action will be carried out in the province (of Balochistan) until a strategy is formulated in consultation with representatives of the provincial government to deal with the issue of law and order in the province.”

Contradicting these assurances, Pakistan's war of aggression seems to be intensifying. The Daily Jang newspaper reported on August 21 [2008] that the armed forces of Pakistan had deployed more troops in the region, killing innocent civilians in repeated aerial bombardments.

Pakistan's minister of the interior visited the area on August 20 [2008] and announced that military operations would continue if Baloch nationalists and freedom fighters continued to be supported and protected by the people. The same newspaper also reported on August 24 [2008], that military operations have been expanded to new areas in Balochistan.

Over the last few years of Pakistani attacks on Balochistan, the AHRC reports that about 3,000 people have died, around 200,000 have been displaced, and more than 4,000 people have been arrested by the police, army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The AHRC is organising an urgent action appeal to the government of Pakistan, calling on it to investigate the killing of civilians and to halt military operations in Balochistan.