Subject: Human rights violations in Balochistan
The Baloch National Front (BNF), an alliance of Baloch nationalist parties, would like to draw Your Excellency’s attention towards your recent visit to Pakistan which caused heartbreaks among the Baloch people.
Your Excellency, in a speech delivered on August 30 in Switzerland, had said:
“We must ensure that anyone, on any side, who commits war crimes, crimes against humanity or other violations of international human rights or humanitarian law is brought to justice. This is a shared responsibility for this Council, for United Nations Member States, for the international community as a whole. We must use all our many tools to shine the light of human rights everywhere.”
When Your Excellency was in Islamabad on August 13, relatives of hundreds of Baloch missing persons were protesting outside press clubs in Quetta, Karachi and Turbat cities. As we presume that Your Excellency is aware of the missing persons’ phenomenon in Balochistan, we will not indulge into its details. In short, human rights groups have confirmed that thousands of political activists, writers and common Baloch have been abducted by Pakistan’s security forces whose whereabouts are unknown to their families and rest of the world.
Pakistan’s top judge has said they have evidence of Pakistan’s paramilitary troops’ involvement in these abductions. According to Human Rights Watch, tortured bodies of 300 of these missing persons have been found dumped in deserted parts of Balochistan and Karachi. International media calls this kill-and-dump phenomenon Pakistan’s ‘dirty war’.
The BNF and the relatives of missing persons were hoping that Your Excellency will use the influence of his office during his visit to press Pakistani government to stop this ‘dirty war’ against the Baloch people, who are struggling for their right of national independence – a right that is enshrined in the United Nations’ Charter.
However, Your Excellency didn’t say a single word about the issue of Baloch missing persons. A single sentence from Your Excellency’s mouth could have saved several innocent lives, who are in the custody of Pakistan’s security forces. At least, that’s what the relatives of missing persons believe.
We understand that the purpose Your Excellency’s visit was to witness Pakistan’s independence day flag hoisting ceremony on August 14. However, it might not be in Your Excellency’s knowledge that on the same day, on August 14, Pakistan’s security forces raided a house in Turbat city and killed two Baloch youngsters — Reza Jehangir, the Secretary General of the Baloch Students Organization; and Imdad Baloch, a senior member of the Baloch National Movement.
When Your Excellency was attending Pakistan’s Independence Day celebrations, hundreds of Baloch women were protesting in Balochistan’s Turbat city to observe August 14 as a black day. Pakistan’s paramilitary troops fired tear-gas shells and baton-charged the protesters to disperse their rally.
In the night between August 14 and 15, Pakistani forces set on fire a hunger strike camp set up by the relatives of Baloch missing persons outside the Quetta Press Club.
Just two days ago a prominent Baloch journalist and the leader of BNM Haji Razzaq was brutally murdered. He was abducted by security forces 4 months ago.
We don’t know if you should have attended the independence day ceremony of a state that is blamed by human rights groups of mass murdering people living there, but we did see your visit as an opportunity to highlight the issue of human rights abuses in Balochistan. Being the custodian of the UN and the guardian of international laws and instruments, we hope that Your Excellency will play his role in putting an end to human rights violations in Balochistan.
At the end, we want to apologize for some candid remarks we made in this letter, but Your Excellency should know that we, the Baloch people, are really in a messed-up situation.
Dr. Mannan Baloch
Secretary: Baloch National Front