The Diplomat’s Kiran Nazish spoke with Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur, who has been one of the very few to have written on the issue in Pakistan. For speaking out on Baloch rights in Pakistan, Talpur has been challenged and attacked repeatedly.
Balochistan, the largest province in Pakistan, has been marred by multiple conflicts that have left the province in a state of terminal chaos. While the state of Pakistan, the parliament and the provincial government are accused of neglecting the province, the military and intelligence agencies have been continuously blamed for brutalities, especially the abduction and extrajudicial killing of Baloch. According to Voice for Missing Baloch Persons, about 18,000 Baloch have been abducted from Balochistan since the 1970s. Government and NGO figures vary dramatically.
Iranian security forces again clashed with protesters across Iran as new rallies calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic spread across the country after Friday prayer.
Videos obtained by IranWire show security forces shooting at protesters gathered around Makki Grand Mosque in the eastern city of Zahedan. One video purported to show a boy who was shot in the head, while activists said up to two people may have been killed in the shooting.
Iranian authorities did not immediately acknowledge Friday’s violence in Zahedan, about 500km southeast of Tehran. Zahedan is capital of Sistan and Baluchestan Province where Baloch form a majority of the population.
Excerpts from an article by Michael Georgy and Tom Perry for Reuters
A prominent Sunni cleric who directed unprecedented criticism at Iran’s supreme leader over a bloody crackdown in his hometown appeared unbowed this week by warnings from security forces, pressing his demands for more rights for his minority and voicing support for other groups in country-wide unrest.
Molavi Abdolhamid has long been a dissenting voice seeking better living standards and more political representation for the Sunni minority in the mostly Shi’ite Islamic Republic, including the Baluchi ethnic group to which he belongs and the Kurdish population. Iran’s government denies discrimination against Sunnis.
The ongoing protests against the Iranian regime can be defined not only as a women-led uprising, but also an ethnic minorities-led one. In fact, for the ethnic minorities that comprise almost half of Iran’s population (e.g., Ahwazi Arabs, Kurds, and Balochis), this is a “revolution” for liberty and basic ethnic and human rights of which they have been deprived not only by the Islamic Republic of Iran, but also by the former Persian regimes (e.g., under the Pahlavi dynasty) for almost a century. For this reason, this is as sensitive topic for the Iranian regime as it is for the Persian diaspora itself.
It is worth noting that the protests were sparked all over Iran following the murder of Jina Amini, the 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman who was beaten to death by the Iranian “morality” police. As Kurdish women’s rights defenders in Iran often say: “We are both women and Kurds; so, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, we are doubly accused.” In fact, Jina Amini was arrested, tortured, and murdered not only because she was wearing her hijab too “loosely,” but also because she was Kurdish.
Anti-government protesters are back to the streets across Iran on Wednesday to mark the 40th day since Mahsa Amini’s death, despite heavy presence of security and intelligence forces as part of a heavy-handed crackdown on rallies.
Videos shared online showed dozens of people gathered at Aichi cemetery in Saqqez, Amini’s hometown in the western province of Kurdistan, shouting “Kurdistan Kurdistan, the graveyard of fascists” and “Death to the dictator,” in reference to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Iranian security forces have opened fire on protesters who had gathered in their thousands in Mahsa Amini’s hometown to mark 40 days since her death, a human rights group has said.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Colonel Mehdi Molashahi and Basij militant Javad Kikha were shot and killed by unidentified persons in Zahedan on Tuesday afternoon, as anti-government protests continued in the area and throughout Iran.
The IRGC and other Iranian security forces brutally cracked down on protesters in Zahedan in recent weeks, killing over 100 people, according to human rights organizations.
The police on Monday booked Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen under sections of terrorism for “criticizing heads and generals of the Pakistan Army” during a speech at the Asma Jahangir Conference.
The session on ‘Reluctance to Criminalize Enforced Disappearance and Arbitrary Detentions’ was also attended by Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, activist Sammi Deen Baloch and former chief minister of Balochistan and chairperson of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal Akhtar Jan Mengal among others.
On the closing day of the conference on October 23, Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) chairman Manzoor Pashteen held the Pakistani Army responsible for killing the democracy, and alleged that the Army Chief is the “king” and issues all the orders in the country.
The fourth edition of the annual two-day Asma Jahangir Conference was held at a local hotel in Lahore. Organized by the AGHS Legal Aid Cell with the support of the Asma Jahangir Foundation, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC). The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Crisis of Constitutionalism in South Asia’
Lawyers, human rights activists, political leaders from all over Pakistan including Sammi Baloch, Akhtar Mengal and others from Balochistan also participated in the conference.
Speaking at the conference, Sammi Deen Baloch said ‘thanks to the Asma Jahangir Foundation, for the first time in a hotel in Lahore and Punjab, the relatives of the missing persons have been given the opportunity to talk. I am here to represent the plea of the suffering mothers of Balochistan. Before this, the voice of Baloch may have reached some circles in Punjab, but we are always ready to take our plea to every door’.