PAKISTAN: Disappearances and extrajudicial killings continue unabated in Balochistan — the civilian governments remain callously indifferent

By: Asian Human Rights Commission

During the first four months of the year 2013 no restraint was observed on the part of the military in their actions. Abductions by unknown persons, disappearances and extrajudicial killings continue unabated in the war torn zone of Balochistan province. During the months from January to April, according to the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), an organisation that compiles records of missing persons and extrajudicial killings, 244 persons were abducted, 11 recovered, 34 extrajudicially killed and 26 died during military operations in different parts of the province.

According to the Pakistan Medical Association, Balochistan Chapter, 32 doctors are missing and 28 doctors have so far been killed. In addition dozens of lawyers are missing and many have been extrajudicial killed after abduction. Besides this, generally there is no rule of law and any person can be picked up and killed for any reason.

However, a new situation has arisen in the policies of the law enforcement agencies in that they have extended their jurisdictions to other provinces. Today Boloch citizens are being abducted from Karachi, the capital of Sindh province, where they go for higher education.

Read more » Asian Human Rights Commission
http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-110-2013

Simple arithmetic — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The establishment and its intellectuals’ priority has never been the rights of the Baloch and Sindhis

The envisaged Gwadar-Khunjrab-Kashgar railway and oil pipeline, for which a feasibility report was completed by Chinese engineers before Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s 2010 visit to Pakistan, bodes evil for the Baloch people’s rights. This is but a part of the larger strategy aimed at ensuring that Balochistan becomes the Tibet and Xinjiang of Pakistan. Masood Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, had then stated, “We support China’s policy on Tibet, Xinjiang and human rights.” China-Pakistan relations are based on mutual support for human rights violations.

This is amply proved by the fact that during the 23rd regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s general debate in Geneva on June 7, 2013, when Balochistan’s representative to the UN Mehran Marri spoke about Pakistan’s continuing human rights abuses and recent farcical elections in Balochistan, the Pakistani delegate objected, and was supported by the Chinese and Cuban delegates. However, much to their chagrin, the US and UK representatives taking strong exception to their objections, supported Marri and called on the session chair to allow him to complete his statement and be allowed on record. Ironically, the Cuban representative said it was unacceptable for an NGO, conveniently forgetting that they too were once an NGO (pun intended), to attack the territorial integrity and independence of a sovereign state.

The continuing Afghan influx has already changed the demographic balance in parts of Balochistan. This proposed railway will help Pakistan usher in engineered demographic changes to turn the Baloch into a minority in their own land. The recently installed extremely pliable government in Quetta — whose titular chief minister cannot even name a cabinet without Nawaz Sharif’s consent — fully supports these sham mega-projects to bring about required demographic changes. The systematic engineered demographic changes combined with the brutal killings of Baloch activists and ordinary people suspected of sympathies with the Sarmachars (insurgents) are the two-pronged attacks that the Pakistani establishment has unleashed on the Baloch people. The demography issue is a life and death issue as the Baloch people’s destiny hinges on it and the resistance they can muster.

The Pashtuns too are suffering because of the harebrained dreams of strategic depth, which the deep state refuses to abandon in the hope of becoming the arbiter of Afghanistan’s fate and the hope to keep India on the back foot with its non-state actors. This ludicrous policy also sustains sectarian terror.

Sindhis have had the worst of both worlds and are rapidly turning into a minority in Sindh. Once again demands for shifting Biharis there are being made. This does not mean that they have not been coming in slowly, steadily and surreptitiously; where even mechanics can get blue passports at a price, getting an NIC is not a big deal. Thousands of Afghans refugees are bona fide citizens of Sindh; an Afghan colony is slowly taking shape near Bhit Shah and may well become a Sohrab Goth.

Continue reading Simple arithmetic — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

New Film ‘Dirty Wars’ Exposes America’s Ruthless, Covert Wars

Jeremy Scahill’s new documentary reveals how dirty wars take innocent lives and make us less safe.

The United States deems Kabul, Afghanistan the center of the “war on terror.” The press corps and other embedded reporters, then, are limited to these borders.

But beyond these green (meaning safe, according to the U.S. govt.) streets of Afghanistan, lies a sea of red (dangerous) and black (Taliban-heavy) streets that go largely unexplored by journalists.

Yet, that’s exactly where investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill begins to delve in his new documentary Dirty Wars, directed by Rick Rowley.

Read more » AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/media/review-jeremy-scahills-new-documentary-dirty-wars

Tarek Mishkhas Honored in Riyadh

By: Faiz Al-Najdi

Editor-in-Chief of Urdu News and Malyalam News – Tarek Abdul Hameed Mishkhas – was honored by Pakistanis in Riyadh this past weekend. He was the Chief Guest at a reception hosted in his honor by Engr. Tariq Soomro – the President of Pakistan Investors Forum – aka: PIF.

Welcoming Tarek Mishkhas to Riyadh Engr. Soomro mentioned that Tarek Mishkhas was a proud recipient of Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam in 2010 – one of the highest civil awards in Pakistan. “Tariq is well known as an intellectual and a journalist-cum-writer of a high standing in the Saudi society. He is equally known and quite popular too amongst the Expatriate community, especially with the Pakistanis, for his services and contributions to Urdu News and Malyalam News”, he informed. Soomro also informed that Tarek Mishkhas has travelled widely throughout the length and breadth of Pakistan. “He is the one who actually encouraged and motivated the Saudi Writer Yusf Safrallah – to write a book on Pakistan entitled, Pakistan: The Land of Seasons and Sceneries”, he added. Engr. Soomro also mentioned that Urdu News was in fact quite popular amongst the Pakistan community. “It is popular for the basic reason that it brings news from home and makes us feel homely”, Soomro remarked. Engr. Soomro then allowed the audience to introduce themselves to the Chief Guest.

Continue reading Tarek Mishkhas Honored in Riyadh

House Passes Rohrabacher Amendment Tying Human Rights in Pakistan to U.S. Military Aid

Today, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s (R-CA) amendment tying the Defense Department’s ability to give monetary aid to Pakistan’s military to its treatment of ethnic and religious minority groups was included in final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 by the House of Representatives.

The amendment requires the Secretary of Defense to certify that Pakistan is not using its military to “persecute minority groups for their legitimate and nonviolent political and religious beliefs.” The amendment specifically names the Balochi, Sindhi and Christian minorities, among others.

“This is a giant step forward for those victims of oppression in Pakistan,” said Rohrabacher. “For the first time their plight is being recognized and a policy is being established of not giving the Pakistani government the weapons to carry on their repression. This is the first time the plight of the Balochi and the Sindhi have been underscored in legislation that links support for Pakistan’s military to how they treat those minority groups.”

Read more » http://rohrabacher.house.gov/press-release/house-passes-rohrabacher-amendment-tying-human-rights-pakistan-us-military-aid