Monday, April 15, 2013

Pakistan Elections Have So Far Failed Human Rights in Balochistan

Press Release

 Toronto, April 12: Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada) while condemning the recent state-backed attack on the offices of a Balochistan-based newspaper, Daily Tawar, described the precarious situation in Balochistan as a ‘killing field’ of human rights. The process of electing a parliament in any democratic society is a freedom of expression and rights exercised by the civil society – the state policy of silencing the Baloch media at this critical instant is an open statement of war on freedom of expression and the rights of a people.
Elaborating on the escalating human rights crisis in Balochistan, BHRC stated that since the takeover of caretaker governments in Islamabad and Quetta – there has been a continuous rise in the enforced disappearances, killing and dumping of the missing persons, target-killing of political activists, and attacks on villages resulting in destruction of property and deaths of local populace.
Furthermore, on March 15, 2013 the Federal Ministry of Interior issued a notification of ban on BSO-Azad, a secular, nationalist organization striving for Baloch rights and freedom from Pakistani occupation.
Abdul Razzak Baloch, a reporter for Daily Tawar was illegally abducted by Pakistani security agencies on March 24, 2013 from Karachi. Mr. Baloch also was politically affiliated with Baloch National Movement, an organization striving for the independence of Balochistan. To date his whereabouts are unknown.
Balochistan-based, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons and Baloch Human Rights Organization has reported that 17 Baloch youths have been illegally abducted in the last three days. The list also includes two brothers; Rehmatullah Marri, 14, and Sanwal Marri, 16, students of grade 6 and 7 respectively. Report further states that an elderly, 82 year-old Nehal Khan Bugti and his son were taken away during an offensive in Dera Bugti by the Pakistani army.
Abdul Mutalib of Baloch Republican Party was abducted by security forces on April 7, 2013 from Panjgur and 4 other members of BRP were taken away from Noshki, including Shehak Baloch and Zakaria. Reportedly, 4 bullet-riddled bodies of missing persons have been discovered in the last 24 hours from Awaran and Kharan areas of Balochistan.
To sum up the overall situation in Balochistan, the European Union has decided not to send observers to the conflict-ridden Balochistan to monitor the upcoming elections because of security reasons and the risk factors involved.
BHRC statement concluded that the 5-year track record of the previous government and human rights violations under the caretaker Prime Minister on the eve of elections is a proof that the Pakistani establishment and its army is determined to continue a policy of genocide, enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, sectarianism, Talibanization, and targeted-killings of  civilians in Balochistan with impunity. The level of patronage provided by the state security agencies in constructing and facilitating Taliban-linked private death squads in Balochistan to crush the Baloch nationalist struggle is now self-evident.
Zaffar Baloch,
President, BHRC (Canada)    

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