LONDON: Pakistan occupied Balochistan on 27 March 1948. Since then the state of Pakistan has conducted five major military operations in Balochistan. As result of these military operations and continuous military rule thousands of Baloch have been imprisoned, displaced and killed. The extent of the brutalities committed by the Pakistani security forces is as gruesome as those of the Nazi era and as horrific as during the dirty wars of many other aggressors. What is so shocking is that the Baloch genocide has not adequately drawn the world’s attention to-date.
In the last 12 years the Pakistani security forces have abducted approximately 18000 Baloch political activists. These activists were taken from their homes, markets, educational institutions, buses and even from hospitals. Pakistani security forces have developed a trend in their policy of abduction and disappearances of Baloch political and human rights activists. They abduct Baloch activists and then keep them incommunicado in their military camps. All abductees are subject to extreme torture. Many of the victims are kept for years and some of them are tortured to death. Since April 2009 more than 1500 bodies of abducted activists, including students, doctors, journalists, engineers, poets, and educationists have been dumped in desolate places in Balochistan. Pakistani forces are committing all these crimes with complete impunity. The world and international media has, by and large, turned a blind eye on Pakistan’s violation of human rights in Balochistan.
In a desperate attempt to draw the world’s attention, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), an organisation comprising of the family members of abducted and murdered Baloch activists have resorted to different peaceful forms of protest. They have attended many rallies, press conferences, submitted petitions, met countless authorities, have gone on hunger strike, have kept a picket continuously since 2009 and now are tracking this long march. The participants in the march are mostly children and women.
They started from Quetta on 27 October 2013 and walked more than 700 kilometres to reach Karachi on 22 November. The second phase of the march was resumed with a token hunger strike in front of the Karachi Press Club on 23 November. The VBMP also convened a successful seminar on international human rights day on 10 December to highlight the plight of Baloch disappeared persons.
The VBMP began tracking the second part of their march on 13 December 2013. This is from Karachi to Islamabad a distance of about 1500 Kilometres. The March will terminate in front of the United Nations office in Islamabad.
We appeal to all civilized people, international human rights organisations including the United Nations, UNHRC, European Union, the International Court of Justice and all democratic countries including Britain to support the rights of Baloch prisoners of war and conscience. They should put pressure on Pakistan to stop its atrocities in Balochistan without delay. We also request Baloch abroad to write to their local MPs, MEPs and to the UK foreign office to stop the enforced-disappearances, in-custody murder of Baloch political and human rights activists and urge them to make their support of Pakistan conditional on the improvement of human rights of the Baloch in Balochistan.