BHRC convened a conference entitled, “State sponsored Religious Terrorism in Balochistan: Regional & International Repercussions”

Geneva, Switzerland – 11/09/2019: BHRC has successfully convened a conference on its second consecutive day of a week-long awareness campaign in Geneva. The conference on Pakistani state engineered ‘Islamization of Balochistan’ was attended by a number of esteemed speakers who brought forth an informed opinion on the phenomenon of Islamization that threatens to gradually erode the foundations of a secular and tolerant Baloch society while giving way to Islamist militants to take roots in Balochistan. 

The chief guest of the seminar was Mr. Ryszard Czarnecki, a senior Polish politician and MEP who was also until recently the vice president of European Parliament. Mr Czarnecki admired the BHRC Tent for being symbolic and for being close to the UN and hoped that the UN will not be silent and deaf for the Human Rights violations being perpetrated by Pakistan in Balochistan. He asserted that Pakistan cannot be a friend of Europe without its commitment to human rights principles that Europe cherishes and until it stops harboring and funding the Islamist militants that are close to its heart, and are actively involved in murdering the religious and ethnic minorities in Balochistan. 

Dr. Lakhu Luhana of World Sindhi Congress, maintained that the security establishment of Pakistan has been defying international standards and the current global order for a long time now. The secular and nationalist entities in Pakistan who seek right to self-determination – as enshrined in the UN declaration of human rights – are targeted by the security forces of the state on daily basis, and their socio-cultural and political freedoms have been restricted. On the other hand, the state of Pakistan is acting as a safe haven for extremist groups like Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, ISIS and other auxiliary militants of the state. 

Another speaker, Sultan Shahin , who is a Delhi based journalist, and a researcher on the role of Wahabi-Salafi ideaology leading to the radicalization of Muslims. Mr Shahin told the conference that the Muslim countries are in constant denial of Islamic ideologies’ contributions to religious terrorism. He pointed out that Pakistan has actively contributed in the expansion of religious terrorism in South Asian region.   

Peter Tatchell of Peter Tatchell Foundation conveyed a clear and bold message to the state authorities of Pakistan. You will not win because you have an unjust cause and unjust causes always end up in defeat. Said Peter referring to Pakistan. 

According to Peter Tatchell, following are the practical things that should be raised at the UN’s noble forum:

1.         There should be a halt to western arms sale to Pakistan which are being diverted from the intended fight against the Taliban and Al-qaeeda to repress the Baloch nation. These weapons include US supplied f16 fighter jets and Cobra attack helicopter. 

2.         The UN should appoint a special rapporteur on Balochistan to monitor and report to the general assembly and the human rights council on human rights abuses and ethnic discrimination in Balochistan

3.         We need a UN fact finding mission to go to Balochistan; to independently assess the deteriorating humanitarian situation. The independent UN monitors and observers to go there and see the facts and to come back and tell the UN the truth. 

4.         Pakistan must be pressed to lift entry restrictions and permit free access to Balochistan to aid agencies, to journalists and to human rights defenders.

5.         The military and intelligence chiefs in Pakistan be responsible for HR abuses by Pakistani state officials using Alien Tort Claims Act which has a remit even in foreign countries.

6.         Western aid to Pakistan should be made conditional on ending HR violations. Until Islamabad complies, all aid should be withdrawn from Pakistan government and switched to local or international aid agencies. 

7.         The international community need to consider a boycott, sanctions and dis-investment campaign targeting Pakistani government, military and intelligence officials who were implicated in HR crimes in Balochistan.

The Secretary General of Baloch Human Rights Council presided the session. He informed the audience that state has heavily invested in what it regards as its strategic assets while the general population of the province live a perilous life. He further stressed on the need of joint efforts by the civilized members of the international community to cut the weeds of terrorism sown by Pakistan that run the risk of causing regional instability and pose a threat to international peace if left unchecked. One only needs to remember the 2008 Mumbai Attacks to ascertain the seriousness of these threats, said Samad Baloch.

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