Pakistan’s record on human rights is so dismal and horrendous in areas like Baluchistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pak Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, that the failed state has no right to talk about internal matters of India
Pakistan has been trying to internationalize the Kashmir issue and claimed human rights violations by India in Kashmir after Indian army killed Burhan Wani, a commander of Pakistan based terror outfit Hizb ul Mujahideen, in an encounter. However, it completely glosses over the fact that it is Pakistan that is occupying parts of Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan(G-B) since the 1947 invasion by Pakistani army men in plainclothes, while India has the legal, moral and natural claim over the whole state as the Government of India Act 1947 and subsequent signing of instrument of accession.
Frustrated at not being able to annex the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan invaded and occupied Baluchistan on 27 March 1948. Its record of human rights violations there is dismal. There have been 5 waves of full blown Baluch uprisings against the Pakistani state since 1948- 1948, late 1950s, 1970s, late 1990s and the ongoing one since 2006 after Pakistan used F-16s to bomb and kill Nawab Akbar Bugti. Baluch activists in Europe raised this issue over the past few months at various international human rights conferences and protests. However, neither international nor Indian media gave it almost any coverage.
Speaking at the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 11, 2016 Baluch Republican Party (BRP) representative at the United Nations Human Rights Council, Mr Abdul Nawaz Bugti said that since the beginning of this year, Pakistani forces carried out military operations in Dera Bugti, Panjgur, Sibi, Turbat, Mastung and other parts of Baluchistan. 12232 Baluch political activists and civilians including women and children were abducted while 323 people have been killed in custody and their mutilated dead bodies were discovered. Security forces kill previously abducted students & political activists and dump their dead bodies during military operations, after labelling them as militants. “In year 2015, Pakistani forces confessed to have conducted 2000 military operations in Baluchistan implementing the inhumane National Action Plan where 204 people were killed while 9000 people were arrested. The real number of the victims is much more than these official figures as no independent media & human rights groups are allowed to report from there.”
Pakistan had barred international journalists including Declan Walsh, who was the Pakistan bureau chief for The New York Times, and many others from visiting Baluchistan. Hamid Mir was shot at by ISI soon after airing a programme of Baluchistan few years back. One cannot even question the right of Pakistani forces to target them. Women, children – none were speared. This level of indiscriminate killings has never been seen in recent history except in present day Bangladesh by Pakistan during late 1960s till 1971.
BRP also conducted protests and awareness campaign about the occupation of Baluchistan by Pakistan and the human rights abuses by it at various locations in Geneva during the months of March and June. At the Israel -German congress in Frankfurt, BRP members met political figures of Israel and Germany including Former Deputy President of Israel, Vice President, Mr. Shaul Mofaz, Former Minister of Defence, Mr. Sacha Stawski, organizer of Israel Congress Germany, Uwe Becker, the Frankfurt City Treasurer and many other media and political representatives and briefed them about the situation in Baluchistan. While Baluch IDPs (refugees) and political workers have been killed outside Baluchistan too- in Sindh, Punjab and Afghanistan, last week for the first time Baluch were targeted in Iran. BRP leader, Shah Nawaz Zehri, was assassinated by Pakistani intelligence’s proxies in Saravan, Iran on July 11.
At a conference organised in Geneva at the sidelines of the UN HRC by Asian legal resource centre (ALRC) on enforced disappearances & extrajudicial executions in Pakistan on June 21, International Representative and Foreign Spokesman of Baluch National Movement (BNM), Hammal Haidar, said “Pakistan’s ambassador in China boasted earlier this week that they had killed 3,400 people in military operations in Baluchistan to protect the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Look at the number! Killing thousands of people just to assure China to invest money? What sort of state is Pakistan? And what sort of humanitarian values the world is defending if it cannot speak a word against this genocide of the Baluch people on their own homeland…….Bodies of hundreds have been found dumped in abandoned places across Baluchistan months or years later. The Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have issued a couple reports against these kill-and-dump operations and that’s it. That’s it?
Unfortunately, the mass killing of the Baluch didn’t start a decade back. It started in 1948 when Pakistan occupied the independent state of Pakistan with its military might. The Baluch want their independence back and Pakistan want to hold back their resource-rich land by responding with military might against their demand for an independent Baluchistan.” Mehran Marri also spoke at this conference.
This month on July 16, activists of Free Baluchistan Movement (FBM) started a 600 KM long march from Dusseldorf to Berlin Parliament on foot. They are interacting with people on the way and highlighting ongoing Pakistani state atrocities and human rights violations in Baluchistan. The aim of our march is also to inform the free born people of world that there is a war going on in Baluchistan but the international community and world media mostly either remain unaware of this war or they are misled by the Pakistan state into believing that everything is normal in Baluchistan.” All the major Baluch leaders- Karima Baluch of Baluch National Front, Hyrbyair Marri of FBM, Brahumdagh Bugti of BRP, Khalil Baluch of BNM, Mehran Marri have repeated appealed to India and the world at large that their governments, media, human rights organisations must look into the human rights situation in Baluchistan. They have repeatedly asked the governments to take up problem of the Baluch people at least diplomatically at the international forums.
In a recent article Sunday Guardian published a statement made by Hyrbyair Marri was directed to the Indian government- “We wish that India has a clear policy about Baluchistan because Pakistan’s policies about Kashmir are clear and their interference in Kashmir not hidden from anyone. If Pakistani officials can openly meet the Kashmiri (Hurriyat) leadership then why shouldn’t India do the same? If Pakistan can speak at UN about Kashmir issue why shouldn’t India raise the issue of human rights violations in occupied Baluchistan? As one of the biggest democracies of world and a power in South Asian region we expect India to diplomatically and morally support the Baluch freedom struggle.” Is it not the time that media and human rights activists who chant the ‘Kashmir’ mantra also give space to these voices across the border?
(The Writer is a social media activist and keen observer of developments in Pakistan)