UK: protest against enforced-disappearances of Baloch activists by Pakistan and Iran

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LONDON: Human Rights and political activists from various groups have staged a protest demonstration in front of Amnesty International Head Quarters in United Kingdom (London) against forced-disappearances and extra judicial killing (killings in custody) of Baloch activists by Pakistan and Iran. The demonstration was held as part of International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (IVMBP) continuous campaign against human rights violations in Balochistan.

Members of Al-Ahwaz Democratic Popular Front, ICAD (International Committee Against Disappearances), CAMPACC (Campaign Against Criminalising Communities) and various Baloch Parties based in London joined the protest to show their solidarity with the people of Balochistan and express their hatred toward occupying states of Iran and Pakistan. The Turk activists of South Azerbaijan have also sent a letter of support for the demonstration and expressed their sympathy with the people of occupied Balochistan.

Baloch leader Hyrbyair Marri, who could not attend the protest because of his asylum interview, has also expressed his support and appreciated the Baloch and other human rights activists’ efforts for organising the demonstration despite the rain.

The protesters held pictures of Baloch political prisoners and picture of those who have been killed in custody by Pakistan Military’s death squads in custody. They handed a detailed report to Amnesty International which described the atrocities of the state of Iran and Pakistan against the people of Balochistan.

Below are given some extracts from the report titled “Few Facts about Balochistan” Baluchistan The first unified Baluch nation state was established in the year 1666 under the authority of Khanate of Kalat. The British Empire army invaded Baluchistan on 13 November 1839 and killed Mir Mehrab Khan then the ruler of Baluchistan.

The British by drawing two arbitrary lines divided Baluchistan into three parts: The ‘Goldsmith Line’ (1871) divided Baluchistan into Eastern and Western Baluchistan. This agreement was between the Iranian rulers, then the Qajar King Nasir-al Din Shah (1848-1896) and the British. This is the line that presently separates Iranian occupied Baluchistan from Pakistani occupied Baluchistan. Another artificial line, ‘Durand Line’ was drawn in 1893. This line transferred a large segment of the Northern region of Baluchistan to Afghanistan.

By the beginning of the First World War the Persian lost control over Western Baluchistan. In 1916 Bahram Khan Baluch was recognised by the British as the effective ruler of western Baluchistan. Bahram Khan was succeeded by his nephew Mir Dost Mohamed Khan in 1921. His time in power coincided with the reign of Reza Khan as the ruler of Persia. Reza Khan invaded Western Baluchistan and illegally annexed it to Persia in 1928.

Eastern Baluchistan regained its full independence on 11 August 1947 from the British. The news of Baluchistan regaining its independence was reported in the New York Times on 12 August 1947. In August 1947 the first democratic general elections were held in Baluchistan. Members of the Baluchistan National Party, a secular democratic party, won 39 seats out of 52 seats in Baluchistan legislative assembly of House of Commons.

On 27 March 1948 Pakistan army invaded Eastern Baluchistan. Since then Pakistan has carried out five major military operations in Baluchistan to crush the Baluch liberation movement. These military operations were in 1948, 1958, 1962, 1973-77 and the year 2000 which is still continuing.

The last two Pakistan’s military operations have been the bloodiest wars in the history of Baluchistan. During 1973-77 military campaign, over 90,000 Pakistani troops supported by 30 US Cobra attack helicopters, supplied by the Shah of Iran, confronted over 60,000 Baluch fighters. As a result of this conflict, at least 15,000 Baluch were killed and many thousands were displaced (Rahman, 2010 – BalochHal).

On 28 May 1998 Pakistan conducted six nuclear tests in Baluchistan. The first five nuclear explosions were conducted in the Koh Kambaran range and Chaghai hills. The sixth explosion was conducted in Kharaan in an undisclosed location. In total all six explosions yielded 52 kT (kilotons) of radio toxic nuclide. This inhumane act was carried out by Pakistan state in complete secrecy without the knowledge of Baluch people. The Baluch have been demanding an independent assessment of the impacts of these tests and are for complete removal of all nuclear activities from their homeland.

The latest military operation launched by the Pakistani military dictator Pervez Mushurraf in the year 2000. Thousands of Baluch intellectuals, political workers, students and Baluch leaders were imprisoned, tortured and killed during this military campaign.

Aftab Sherpao, the interior minister of Pakistan talking to media in Turbat in December 2005 admitted the arrest and imprisonment of about 4000 Baluch people.

In their report on 5 March 2010 the Asian Human Rights Commission has estimated that the number of Baluch men, women and children abducted by Pakistani intelligence agencies, during Mushurraf reign, to be over 4000. Among the disappeared persons are the names of 168 children and 148 women. The number of extra judicial abductions and killings of Baluch people by Pakistani secret agencies since the year 2000 according to Baluch sources is more than 8000. The political prisoners include students, lawyers, doctors and people who general member of public or labors aged between 17 years old to 75 old activists.

In August 2006 the Pakistani army targeted and killed a prominent Baluch political leader Akbar Bugti (age 79). Almost a year later, in November 2007, they assassinated Balaach Marri the leader of Baluch Liberation Army. On 3 April 2009, Pakistani agencies abducted three more Baluch political leaders; Baluch National Movement President Ghulam Mohammed Baluch, his deputy Lala Munir Baluch, and Baluch Republican Party Secretary General Sher Mohammed Baluch from their lawyer’s office. Shortly after, their mutilated bodies were found on the outskirts of Turbat on 8 April 2009.

Pakistani secret agencies also abducted Rasool Bux Mengal, the joint secretary of the Baluch National Movement, from Uthal on 23 August 2009. His badly tortured body was found on 30 August 2009 in Bela of Lasbela district. Jan Muhammad Dashti, the owner and publisher of the Daily Asaap, survived their assassination attempt on 23 February 2009.

From month of August 2010 the Pakistani intelligence agencies have started to use its new method of “Kill and dump tactics” about twenty Baluch political and social activists have been killed in cold-blood and then dumped their bodies in open fields. Among these victims were three lawyers of the Baluchistan High Court. Mr Munir Miwani was abducted few months ago and is still missing. Mr Zaman Khan Marri was abducted on 18 August 2010 and his body was found on 6 September 2010. Another renowned Baluch Lawyer, columnist and poet, Mr Ali Sher Kurd was abducted on 21 September from Quetta and his mutilated body was found on 24 September 2010 in Khuzdar town in Balochistan.

In Western Baluchistan, Baluch people have been on the top of the list of victims of Islamic fundamentalist regime. Under their occupation, Western Baluchistan has been in a state of perpetual curfew. The Islamic regime of Iran from the day it sets a foot in Baluchistan has targeted the secular progressive Baluch intellectuals who can articulate the democratic demands of their people most effectively.

The vast majority of Baluch political and human rights activists were either killed imprisoned or forced to leave their homeland within the first two years of the Islamic regime being in power.

During the period of 2004/2009 the Islamic regime of Iran has executed about 1481 persons, out of the total population of 75 million, according to Amnesty International annual reports on Death Sentences and Executions. In the same period the number of Baluch people being killed by the Islamic regime forces is about 800 persons out of a population of about three million people (Balochistan Human Rights Activists Association). That figure indicates that about 55% of people being killed by Islamic regime of Iran during this period have been from Baluch ethnic community. In view of that, as a proportion to their population, the Baluch in Western occupied Baluchistan had the highest concentration of death penalties in the world during this period of time.

This figure corroborates a report by the Human Rights Watch in March 2008 which quoted Hossein Ali Shahryari, a member of Islamic Regime Parliament, who confirmed a long list of 700 individuals being on death row in Baluchistan.

The actual figure of the victims of the Islamic Regime of Iran is far from complete. According to the Human Rights Activists of Iran “there is no accurate information on the number and identities of the tens of Baluch political prisoners in southeastern Iran. As a result of the tight grip maintained by Intelligence services in this region and the absence of civil rights institutions, this region is among a number of areas which is suffering from a lack of surveillance by human rights organizations.” … illing-message-2010-03-30
Mr Yaghub Mehrnehad, a young Baluch journalist, was the first Web blogger journalist in the world to be executed in August 2008 by Islamic regime of Iran.

International Voice for Baluch Missing Persons (U K)
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Photos by: Baloch-e-Tawar

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