The International Community Must Act Now to Save the Baloch from Extinction
Dated: 20 March 2009
Mr. Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi
President of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Subject: The International Community Must Act Now to Save the Baloch from Extinction
Dear Mr. President
The representatives of the international human rights organisations and Baloch and Sindhi human rights activists have gathered here today to request the urgent help of the UN and the international community to stop the atrocities committed by Pakistan army against Baloch people.
Mr President, a ruthless military operation has been going on in the Pakistani controlled Balochistan for the last five years in which thousands of innocent men, women and children have been mercilessly killed, hundreds of thousands have been displaced and thousands are missing. As the international community is busy in dealing with “far important matters” a whole nation is systematically being wiped out by the Pakistani state through cultural, economic, political and military aggression.
The Baloch and Balochistan
Balochistan is divided and controlled by Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, a legacy of colonialism in that part of the world. In the wake of the British withdrawal from India, the ruler of the Baloch state of Kalat declared Balochistan independent on 11th August 1947, few days before the independence of Pakistan and India. The independence of Balochistan was a short-lived affair as it was invaded by the Pakistani troops with the blessing of the British colonial administration of the time on 27th March 1948 and Balochistan was annexed by Pakistan. The Baloch resistance for national sovereignty and several military operations to quell the Baloch national uprisings by Pakistan have widened the gulf between the Pakistani State and the Baloch people.
The Baloch Pakistan Conflict
Mr. President, the history of relationship between the Baloch and the Pakistani state is the history of violent conflicts. The Baloch national resistance is the response of the Baloch masses to cultural and economical domination and political subjugation by Pakistan. Crude military power has been the only way adopted by almost every Pakistani Government in dealing with the Baloch discontent. The ongoing military campaign is the bloodiest one causing internal dislocation of thousands of the Balochs. The brutal murder of one of the towering figures of the Baloch national movement, Nawab Akber Bugti and the murder of the revered resistance fighter Nawabzada Mir Balaach Marri by Pakistani army are the most important happenings of the present conflict. Recently, the most prominent of the nationalist scholars and intellectuals, Mir Jan Mohammad Dashti was ambushed and critically wounded by the death squad of a front organization of the Pakistani State security agency (ISI). In addition, kidnapping of hundreds of the Baloch by security agencies is another unprecedented hallmark of the 5 years long, low intensity war of resistance and political mobilization inBalochistan.
The primary aspect of the conflict between the Baloch and Pakistan has been the dispute over the legitimacy of accession of the Baloch State of Kalat with Pakistan. The annexation of their land by Pakistan was against the will of the Baloch people expressed by both Houses of their parliament. It was the illegal occupation of their land without their consent.
The second aspect of Baloch-Pakistan conflict is the irrational rather politically perverse doctrine of ‘Islamic brother-hood’. The concepts of Islamic brother-hood, and Pakistani Islamic Nation doctrine adopted by the state were used as tools for subjugating the Baloch and other nationalities and for undermining their cultural, linguistic and social traditions.
Coercive military presence has been the permanent feature of the Baloch and the state conflict. The Pakistani army, perceiving the Baloch nationalism as a grave threat to the state, launched major military offensives in Balochistan during 1948, 1958, 1962, and 1973. Extra judicial killings of the Baloch by the army, paramilitary and state intelligence agencies, harassment, kidnapping and inhuman torture of the Baloch political activists and intellectuals during the sustained military campaigns have been permanent features of the state and Baloch conflict. The recent military aggression in Balochistan is the continuation of that policy; nevertheless, it surpasses all previous military operations in its intensity and ruthlessness.
Cultural exploitation of the Baloch is another characteristic of the Baloch and the state conflict. Alien cultural traditions and language are being imposed at the expense of traditional Baloch social values, the Baloch socio-cultural and political systems are being destroyed or corrupted in a systematic and organized way. Organized attempts are being made by state establishment to bring religion into a prominent position in a secular Baloch society. In this regard, large numbers of religious schools are being patronized by the state in every corner of Balochistan to convert the ‘ignorant Baloch’ and save them from ‘eternal damnation’. This ‘colonisation of the mind’ has important implications. Replacing a traditional belief and social system of a people by an alternative frame of reference often amounts to changing the entire identity of a people. The forceful destruction of a culture inflicts real harm not only on the group or the nationality but also devastates and hurt the individual human beings. One culture cannot simply be removed and another transplanted without committing a violation of the dignity and integrity of that group, nationality or individual.
Witness to the Violation of Basic Human Rights
Respected Mr. President, violation of basic human rights of the Baloch is the most painful aspect of the Baloch-Pakistan conflict. Extra judicial killings, harassment, kidnapping and inhuman torture of the Baloch leaders; political activists and intellectuals are the normal state responses to the Baloch political mobilization and expression of Baloch national aspirations.
The graphic details of human rights violation in Balochistan have been published by different non-governmental organizations and international humanitarian’s institutions. Some of the reports are mentioned below:
1. USSD Country Report on Human Rights Practices, Pakistan 2007 11/03/08
2. Amnesty International Annual report, May 2008
3. International Crisis Group: Pakistan: The Worsening Conflict In Balochistan 14/09/06
4. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan fact finding mission, “Conflict in Balochistan” 2005-2006
5. Balochistan Dossier by Balochistan National Party June 2006
6. Asia Pacific Human Rights Network Report 19/09/06
7. Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Pakistan: Displacement ongoing in a number of regions 15th May, 2008
The Tale of Brutalities in Balochistan
The human rights violations of the Baloch by the Pakistani State Establishment are characterized by:
1. Humiliation of the Baloch socio-political leaders and personalities: in 2001, the respected Baloch nationalist personality and cheif of the Marri Tribe NawabKhair Bux Marri was insulted, arrested and kept in solitary confinement for more than a year. In 2006, the house of Nawab Akber Bugti a prominent nationalist leader and president of Jamhoori Watan Pary was bombarded by the armed forces of Pakistan killing and injuring more than 70 people including women and children. 2007, the house of Sardar Attaullah Mengal, prominent nationalist leader and cheif of Mengal Tribe was targeted with rocket fire by the security forces. In 2006, president of the Balochistan National Party Sardar Akhtar Mengal was abducted, tortured and presented in a court held in a small cage. He was kept in solitary confinement for more than a year.
2. Abduction of political activists and human rights workers by the state security agencies: it is a routine by the security forces to abduct political, human right and student activists. They are usually held for many months tortured and later dumped in a remote area. Dr. Allanazar, Dr. Imdad Baloch and their friends were kidnapped and tortured and released after many months. Journalist Muneer Mengal was abducted from Karachi airport, tortured and kept in solitary imprisonment for many years. Some of the other names are Dr. Haneef Shareef, Professor Hassan Janan, Professor Misri Khan Mari and AbdulnabiBungulzai.
3. Extra-judicial killings of political and social leaders and activists: Nawab Akber Bugti and hundreds of his followers were massacred in August, 2006 by the Pakistani army. His dead body was desecrated. Dr. Khalid a human right activist and his friends were murdered by the security forces in 2007.
4. Detention without trials: hundreds of political and social workers and civil rights activists are under detention without trials.
5. Abduction of the Baloch women by the Pakistani security forces: one hundred and forty three Baloch women are missing and believed to be abducted by the security forces.
6. Burning and bombardment of the Baloch villages: 54 villages and settlements in Balochistan have been burnt either by aerial bombardment or ground actions of the armed forces.
7. Forced Displacements of hundreds of thousands Baloch from their settlement: two hundred thousand Baloch have been forcefully dislocated by the armed forces and are living in miserable conditions throughout Balochistan.
The violation of human rights in Iranian Balochistan
Mr. President, the Baloch people in western Balochistan under Iranian control are facing the gross violation of their basic fundamental human rights. The Islamic regime of Iran resorts to most cruel approaches to suppress Baloch national aspirations in Balochistan. Arbitrary arrest, torture and other ill-treatment, as well as the use of the death penalty remain prevalent. Impunity for human rights abuses is widespread. Cultural and civic activities are banned or vigorously controlled by the regime. Publication of Balochi literature is not allowed, and Balochi are denied the right to educate their children in their own language. Systematic discrimination is exercised throughout Balochistan by the institutions. Non-governmental organizations, newspapers, magazines and websites have been forcibly closed by the authorities, which also regularly blocks internet access to a wide range of internet sites, including some relating to human rights. The Amnesty International in its recent report on the 30th anniversary of Islamic Republic of Iran (5th Feb 2009) has cited some graphic details on the state of affairs in Balochistan under the Iranian regime.
· Hundreds of Baloch people have been executed and killed by the regime in past few years. In 2008 a prominent civic activist Yahqob Mehrnehad who also was Secretary General of Justice Association was executed after many months of torture and imprisonment in Zahidan. Two prominent Baloch religious scholars, Molavi Abdul-Qodos Molazai and Molavi Yusuf Sohrabi with another 3 Baloch were executed under such fabricated allegations.
· On March 11, 2009 four Baloch, Normohd Ismailzai, Mojibulrahman Kurd, Babak Kurd and Mohd HassanKhan Hassani were executed in Zahidan. On March 3, 2009 two Baloch religious clergies, Molavi Khalilulla Zarahi and Salahudin Gwahramzahi were executed in Zahidan after being imprisoned and tortured for 9 months.
· Several religious leaders are under arrest and their whereabouts are not known to their relatives. Ibrahim Mehrnehad, the Younger brother of YaqobMehrnehad is still in prison and he is under mental tortures.
The Baloch Needs the Help of International Community
Mr. President, In the face of heinous crimes being committed by the Pakistani security forces in Balochistan and the unchecked violations of the basic human rights of the Baloch both in Pakistan and Iran, the silence of the international community is incomprehensible. The Baloch are facing a systematic genocide operation by an internationally recognised rogue state. The Baloch expectations and demands from the international community are genuine and simple. They are justified in demanding that:
1. The UN should establish a fact finding mission to investigate the acts of brutalities and violation of human rights by the state security forces of Pakistan in Balochistan.
2. The perpetrators of the heinous crimes against humanity should be brought to justice by initiating cases against them in the international court of justice in The Hague.
3. The United Nations should use their influence in asking the Pakistani establishment to immediately halt the aggressive actions against the Baloch.
4. The Baloch have never accepted the partition and incorporation of their land into different countries of the region. Right of self determination is the inalienable right of the Baloch people. The Baloch national question should be negotiated between the Baloch and the countries occupying the Baloch land under the auspices of the UN giving the universal right of self determination to the Baloch.
We believe that Baloch people need an urgent help from the UN and the international community. This is high time for the international community to rise and act before it is too late for Baloch people.
(On the behalf of)
P.O. (c.p.) Box 32,
PO Box 85878
2508 CN The Hague
Baloch Human Rights Council
59 Forsyth Gardens
London SE17- 3NE
Sindhi Baloch Forum
38 Barbican Road
Middlesex UB6 9DH