BHRC Condemns the attack on Baloch Families

BHRC (Canada) Strongly Condemns the Pakistani Paramilitary Attack on Baloch Families in Quetta, Balochistan.

Toronto, April 20, 2010

Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada) condemns in the strongest words the brutal and cowardly pre-dawn paramilitary attack on Baloch families in Quetta, Balochistan. In an urgent press statement released today, BHRC expressed deepest sorrow over the loss of life of a brave Baloch woman, Ms. Mehnaz Mengal and arbitrary arrests of more than 250 men in a raid by the Pakistani security forces.

According to sources in Balochistan and the Baloch media, this unprovoked paramilitary operation began between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. on April 20, 2010. 

Sources stated that the whole area, comprising of hundreds of houses was completely surrounded by the heavily armed Frontier Constabulary (paramilitary organization) and cordoned off from the rest of the city. None of the media personnel of local TV networks, photographers, and reporters were allowed to enter the area where a house to house search was underway for Baloch political activists.

Baloch media states that during the search operation women and children were harassed, manhandled, and humiliated at gunpoint by the security forces. Any kind of resistance by the families to the unlawful invasion of their privacy was dealt with excessive use of brutal force that resulted in the death of Ms. Mehnaz Mengal when she intervened to save her son from the soldiers. According to sources, more than 250 men and youth of the families were beaten, handcuffed, and whisked away to a military camp for interrogation.

BHRC (Canada) questioned the legitimacy of this barbaric act of the security forces and strongly criticized the Pakistani lawmakers in the Senate, National Assembly, and Balochistan Assembly in relation to the recently approved Balochistan Package and the 18th Amendment Bill of Pakistan Constitution that was supposedly meant to provide guarantees to the safety of life and welfare of the people of Balochistan. This is yet another proof that Pakistan’s powerful military establishment sees Balochistan as an occupied territory where the only response to the political and economic demands is a military solution.

BHRC (Canada) believes that this recent operation is part of a larger plan to ethnically cleanse Quetta of the Baloch people. Sources in Balochistan indicate that this was a test case for the original plan of attack in future on New Kahan, a Marri tribal settlement in Quetta. New Kahan is a new urban settlement where the families of displaced Marri Baloch tribesmen have sought refuge in the aftermath of Pakistan Air Force’s aerial bombings and the complete destruction of their ancestral villages. 

BHRC (Canada) appeals to the international humanitarian organizations and leaders of the western democracies to take urgent action and save innocent Baloch men, women and children from the atrocities committed by the Pakistani state and its security forces.

Subsequent Statements:

Pakistani Army is committing gross Human Rights violations in Makaran

URGENT PRESS RELEASE
BHRC (Canada) calls upon the international community to intervene immediately. 

Toronto, June 1, 2010 – Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada) expressed its deepest concerns over the new wave of gross human rights violations committed by the Pakistani army soldiers in the Makaran region of Balochistan. BHRC has learnt through local sources and press statements of Baloch National Movement (BNM) central leadership that within the last couple of days there has been a significant movement of Pakistani troops in the area of district Gwadar and Dasht. A heavy contingent of military including 80 trucks carrying soldiers, 40 armoured vehicles, artillery, 8 gunship helicopters, and 20 water supplying tankers are reportedly part of the first wave of troop deployment in the region. There is news of more troops on the way to join the military operation.

Sources have confirmed that the Dasht townships of Zaren Bog, Mollai Negwar, Palani Bazaar, Ziarati, Hasadeg, Hor, Chateg, Doro Kandag, and the surrounding villages and tent settlements are under siege by the army. Reports coming in from the area stated that the soldiers have complete control of the meager water resources and have blocked all access to the local population. The livestock has been confiscated in the service of the soldiers and a large number was slaughtered to starve the inhabitants. Sources mentioned that people are not allowed to leave their homes even in case of a medical emergency.

There have been reported incidents of artillery fire directed at the civilian residential areas while gunship helicopters hovered over the towns. According to witnesses, incidents of aerial bombardment of villages have taken place and the fear of casualties is growing, complicated by the military blockade and denial of access to media and medical personnel. An unconfirmed number of youth has been taken away by the soldiers and their whereabouts are yet unknown. So far, names of two abducted persons have been confirmed, which are Mr. Sadiq Ismail, resident of Bal Negwar near Turbat and Mr. Shehak, resident of Gwarag.

BHRC urgently appeals to all international human rights bodies, the U.N., the European Parliament, the international media, and the world community to take urgent notice of the atrocities committed by the Pakistani army against innocent civilians in Dasht, Makkuran and elsewhere in Balochistan. The slow motion genocide of the Baloch nation has to be stopped immediately by forceful intervention of world bodies.

Zaffar Baloch
President,
BHRC (Canada)

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