Baloch leaders seek the appointment of a special UN rapporteur in Balochistan as Britain acknowledges the existence of mass graves at Khuzdar, Turbat and Dera Bugti. Baloch activists are now seeking the trial of top Pakistani leaders for crimes against humanity …. Writes Kaliph Anaz
Pakistan President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and military chiefs including General Javed Bajwa will be dragged into international court of justice in Geneva as Britain acknowledges the presence of three mass graves in Balochistan.
Myanmar’s defacto ruler Aung Saan Suu Kyi was forced to appear in the court over alleged crimes against the Rohingya community which sparked an exodus of Rohingyas to Bangladesh. About 660,000 Rohingyas were affected in the assaults by Myanamr Army with the consent of political and military leadership.
Baloch Human Rights Activists in London smell victory as a British minister expresses his concerns about the human rights violations in Balochistan and acknowledges the existence of three mass graves.
“This is a major victory for our campaign for justice,” said Afzal Baloch. “International forums including UN are ignoring our plight and the British government’s acknowledgement will promt others to follow the suite and force Pakistan to stop genocide in Balochistan.”
Mr Baloch said death squads kidnap social and political activists, who are then murdered and thrown into mass graves at Khuzdar, Turbat and Dera Bugti. Several other mass graves have been discovered across Balochistan.
“Military oppression is the key tactic Pakistan has employed in order to sustain its unjust rule over the Baloch,” he added.
Baloch urged the UN to appoint a special rapporteur to probe the mass graves and human rights violations by Pakistan Army in Balochistan. He alleged that it was a far more serious crisis than what happened with Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
Mr Abdul Nawaz Bugti, Baloch Republican Party member who represents BRP at UNHRC, earlier sought UN intervention in Balochistan after the discovery of a mass grave in Dera Bugti. The grave only had women and children.
To a question raised by Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan regarding the reports of mass graves in Khuzdar, Turbat and Dera Bugti, Nigel Adams, the secretary of state for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs, said that Britain is aware about the reports of mass graves at three spots in Balochistan.
“We are aware of reports of mass graves in Khuzdar, Turbat and Dera Bugti in Balochistan,” said Mr Adams in his reply. “These would be of deep concern to the British Government. The UK is clear that all States have the responsibility to meet human rights obligations for all including the right to life.
“The British government regularly raises its concerns about human rights at the highest levels of the government of Pakistan. The British government regularly raises concerns with the Pakistan government at a senior level on the vital need to respect human rights and the rule of law.
People of Balochistan have been opposing the state project tooth and nail. For that, they have been over the decades terrorised through brutal military means. Thousands have died in the battle for their honour but have refused to kneel down before the military might of Pakistan Army
“Most recently Lord Ahmed of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth, raised concerns about human rights with Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister in February 2020.
Pakistan occupied Balochistan in 1948 and after the country became an Islamic Republic, imposed religious laws and culture which have been alien to the ethnic Baloch.
“This was a flagrant intrusion into the Baloch way of life and a blatant denial of the secular and democratic principles to which the Baloch cling. Since the Pakistani government invaded the region, the people of Balochistan have suffered under constant oppression and terror,” Baloch activists said in Geneva.
“The people of Balochistan were never asked whether they wanted to be part of Pakistan. Baloch people never gave their consent to have their territory annexed into the fundamentalist hotbed that is Pakistan.” Despite the people’s peaceful requests for a referendum on the future status of Balochistan, the Pakistani government has denied their right to self-determination.”
The government in Islamabad pushes the narrative that the people of Balochistan are happy with Pakistan.
“This narrative is baseless and demeaning to the actual lived experiences of the Baloch,” BHRC headed by Dr Naseer Dashti and Dr Habibullah Malik, said in Geneva.
Recently, human rights activists have set up a pavillion named ‘Save the Baloch’ right outside the United Nations office of Geneva. The BHRC protesters demanded the UN to initiate an immediate and thorough investigation into the Pakistani government’s actions in Balochistan and to hold Pakistan accountable for its egregious human rights abuses against the Baloch people.
“Defending the rights of the people of Balochistan is not an option,” it is an obligation. Freedom for Balochistan has been long-delayed, but it cannot and will not be denied,” a protestor said.
State sponsored Repression
The Baloch have been subjected to state-sponsored repression ever since they had expressed their demand to be free of Pakistan. There was nothing common, be it the language, or culture, or history, between the Baloch and the Punjabi Pakistanis. The Baloch always consider themselves to be a separate nation of people, like the Pathans. They were however forced into submission by Pakistan Army with the West, Britain and US in particular, supporting the new occupier than the people. Since then, Pakistan has been trying, without much success, to convert Balochistan into a subsidiary province, more like a supplier of minerals, gas and other natural resources to Punjab and Sindh.
But the people of Balochistan have been opposing the state project tooth and nail. For that, they have been over the decades terrorised through brutal military means. Thousands have died in the battle for their honour but have refused to kneel down before the military might of Pakistan Army. The army has always viewed the Baloch suspiciously, calling them terrorists and `Indian agents` to justify its kill and dump policy. Thousands of men and women have been abducted and killed and their bodies dumped by the road side or outside their homes or in mass graves. These graves continue to be discovered in different areas of the province.
The last major offensive against the Baloch was carried out by General Pervez Musharraf who was incensed by the Baloch demand to punish an Army Major for raping a Baloch doctor. The despotic General not only refused to pay any attention to the truth of the army officer brutalising a young Baloch woman, he launched a massive military operation against a popular Baloch leader, Nawaz Akbar Khan Bugti. The Baloch did not want to fight and want to sit across the table to discuss their problems with the government. But Musharraf, drunk with power, was not interested in peaceful dialogue and he surrounded the homes of Baloch leaders with tanks and bombed them with military jets. Hundreds were killed and scores of villages and towns were razed to the ground, forcing the community to retreat into distant shelters.
The assassination of Bugti and his men created an international outcry with the West calling for a UN intervention and punishing sanctions against Pakistan. Since then, the army decided to change the tactics—from an open war against their own people, it made the war more covert. The media was banned from reporting the military operations and instead they were fed with information, false and misleading, about the military operations.
— Abdul Nawaz Bugti (@Abdul_Bugti) February 11, 2017