Toronto Solidarity Rally with Latif Johar to release Zahid Baloch, Chairman BSO-Azad

Toronto solidarity rally 1

Toronto Progressive Students, Baloch, Sindhis Protest against Enforced Disappearance of Zahid Baloch, Chairman BSO-Azad – Express Solidarity with Lateef Johar and Balochistan Struggle.

Toronto, May 18, 2014 – A large number of progressive students, Baloch and Sindhi activists gathered at Nathan Philips Square to protest the enforced disappearance of Zahid Baloch, Chairman of Baloch Students Organization-Azad (BSO-Azad), on March 18th, 2014 by the Pakistani Frontier Corps from Quetta, Balochistan. This is yet another case of enforced disappearances of the Baloch people, who are resisting domination and exploitation of their resources by the Pakistani military and intelligence establishments.

Protesters stood in the rain carrying banners and placards condemning the Pakistani military establishment for the atrocities against the civilian population of Balochistan. They chanted slogans – Stop Military Aid to Pakistan – Shame on the Pakistani State and its Army – Immediate Recovery of Zahid Baloch – Recovery of 18,000 Disappeared Baloch Youth.

Speeches were delivered at the protest rally by Tayyaba, Urooj, Ayaz and Zaffar Baloch, President BHRC – Canada. A message of Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur a Baloch intellectual and Human Rights activists was read by Urooj at the rally. The speakers informed the public at the gathering about the gross human rights violations in Balochistan by the Pakistani armed forces. They stated that Baloch people were being denied their basic right to life along with political, economic and social rights. The speakers demanded immediate recovery of Zahid Baloch and all the enforced disappeared persons illegally abducted by the Pakistani security forces.

The Voice of Baloch Missing Persons, an advocacy organization run by the families of ‘missing persons’, has compiled a list of 19,000 Baloch missing persons, which include women and minors.

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Latif Johar, member of BSO-Azad, has begun a hunger strike unto death for the safe recovery of his Chairman, Zahid Baloch. As of now, Latif has NOT EATEN since 22 April 2014 and his condition is extremely frail. Latif has asked student groups around the world to support his call for the release of Zahid Baloch and other Baloch missing persons. Enough support for his cause will also help in convincing Latif to end his hunger strike and prevent more lives from succumbing to this cruel tragedy.

Message of Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur who has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s

Mir Mohammad Ali TalpurRespected Urooj Shahzadi Sahiba Friends and all those who have kindly taken trouble to attend this rally in Solidarity with Baloch I thank you all. Sadly the Baloch have been at the receiving end of state brutality for long but with special and systematic severity since 2005. Since then thousands have gone missing and more than a thousand Baloch activists, both rural and urban, of those abducted have been killed, their bodies at times mutilated beyond recognition. Sana Sangat, had 27 bullet wounds in his torso, Jalil Rieki son of Mama Abdul Qadeer who led the the nearly 3000 kilometer Long March from Quetta to Islamabad had three bullets in his heart, a heart they failed to subdue. Pakistan Zindabad was carved out on body of many of those who were dumped. The atrocities and injustices are too numerous to count.

Latif Johar a 23 year old Central Committee member of Baloch Students Organization (Azad) is on Hunger-Strike unto death because Zahid Baloch the Chairman of BSO-Azad was taken into custody on March 18th and hasn’t been either produce in a court or his arrest acknowledged in anyway. BSO-Azad fears that their Chairman‘s  fate will be similar to Sana Sangat and Jalil Reiki so they have started this Hunger-Strike to put pressure on authorities to produce Zahid Baloch but it is now nearly a month yet this peaceful protest has had no effect.

The Baloch people are thankful to you all for raising your voice in their support hopefully your voice will add to the pressure and make the state relent. We look forward to continued support from all who oppose injustice to anyone anywhere in the world. This standing up for the right other than our own is the only way that humanity can survive on this planet. Special thanks for Urooj Shahzadi Sahiba from BSO-Azad, Latif Johar and my humble self for making this happen.

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

***** We are calling this protest to demand: ***** 

1. The immediate release of Zahid Baloch and all other Baloch missing persons.

2. The immediate cessation of military operations, covert arrests, abductions, and raids in Balochistan by the Pakistani state.

3. The immediate cessation of financial and political support to the Pakistani military by the Canadian government

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