By Murtaza Ali Shah
LONDON: A delegation of the US Congressmen accompanied by top official from the US State Department met two exiled Baloch leaders and assured them of the open and clandestine help in their activities in Balochistan and abroad. Khan of Kalat Mir Suleman Khan Dawood and Hyrbyair Marri held talks with a delegation of US congressmen at a central London location.
Sources have told The News that officials linked with America’s State Department were also present in the meeting where the situation in Balochistan was extensively discussed and the two asked the US officials to step up support for their efforts.
US Rep. Steve King, Rep. Louie Gohmert, and Rep. Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher were confirmed present in the meeting but a source said that two other senators were also part of the meeting. Some of these representatives have been meeting the Baloch exiled leaders for many months now but the presence of some US government officials have provoked interest in this meeting. The meeting will be viewed with interest in Pakistan where a great level of suspicion at the official level exists that elements of the US establishment are deeply involved in Balochistan and have been helping some armed Baloch groups, directly and indirectly.
Rep. Louie Gohmert told the Baloch nationalist leaders that he would do his best to highlight their movement. For several years, Hyrbyair Marri and Khan of Kalat have been living in exile in London. Both have been given asylum status by the British government. Mehran Marri, Khair Bux Marri’s youngest son and Balochistan’s unofficial representative at the United Nation Human Rights Council, has also held several meetings in recent days with ambassadors of European countries in Geneva. A source told that a delegation of the US administration met Marri in Brussels a few days ago.
Mehran Marri and Brahumdagh Bugti, who have been given asylum by the Swiss government, work closely at the European level US Representatives have assured the Baloch leaders that they would continue to work on their behalf to speak against Pakistan. The issue of the discovery of the alleged mass graves in Balochistan was also discussed in the London meeting. Some US congressmen have been showing increasing interest in Balochistan in recent months and have taken it upon themselves to talk about the issue.
Balochistan and human rights officials say several bodies have been uncovered recently in Balochistan but Pakistani officials put the number at just over a dozen and its hoped that a judicial inquiry would be held into these allegations. Although US politicians and the government figures deny supporting the Baloch nationalist political movement or the armed insurgency but such meetings will only strengthen the view of those in Pakistan who believe that the US continues to grow interest in the resource rich province, which is also of huge strategic importance in the region.
Courtesy: The News
Balochistan: Portraits Of Life On The Brink
Balochistan, a vast, resource-rich desert region spanning Pakistan and Iran, is a hotbed of separatist conflict. In his new book titled “Balochistan at a Crossroads,” journalist Willem Marx and photographer Marc Watterlot documented the suffering and struggles of Baluch people living in underdeveloped and marginalized communities in both Pakistan and Iran.
Read more » rferl.org
by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
On February 4th, a day before Pakistan closes down ostentatiously for the rights of Kashmiris, Pakistani intelligence agencies’ personnel harassed the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) Long Marchers with intimidation and questions. They didn’t stop at that they even harassed a Baloch family which stopped to greet the Marchers by asking them for their National Identity Cards (NIC) numbers, telephone numbers address and the purpose of greeting the Marchers. They also harassed their host at 7 Chak Raowan Wala for that night with questions and threats. They took their NIC numbers, telephone numbers and asked how they knew these Baloch. This place was arranged by Comrade Irfan Ali of Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP), who has now joined the march. This nuclear power is so scared out of its wits at these handful but brave and defiant Baloch that it is harassing not only them but even who come into their proximity.
Read more » http://www.nakedpunch.com/articles/202
PAKISTAN: More than 100 dead bodies from three mass graves were found in one district of Balochistan
The UN and international human rights organisations must send fact finding missions to probe the illegal disposal of Baloch people in mass graves
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) expresses shock and deep concern over the discovery of mass graves in Balochistan; it is suspected that these graves are of Baloch missing persons who were arrested and subsequently extrajudicially killed. A large number of family members gathered around the places of Tootak village, district Khuzdar to inquire about their loved ones who have been missing for many years. However, the police and other security forces refused them permission to try and identify the bodies and baton charged the people to disperse them.
On January 25, three mass graves were found after one of them was discovered by a shepherd who saw pieces of human bodies and bones. He informed the Levies, a private armed force organised by tribal leaders, and according to Assistant Commissioner, district Khuzdar, Mr. Afzal Supra, Balochistan, the grave was excavated and 15 bodies were found.
As the news of the mass grave spread throughout the district people gathered there and started digging in the nearby area where they found two more mass graves. In total 103 bodies were recovered from the graves. The bodies were too decomposed to be identified. From the three mass graves 17, 8 and 78 bodies were found but the local people say that a total of 169 bodies have been found. People have witnessed more than 100 human bodies in Tootak while they were digging the area. However, Pakistani military forces stopped the local people from unearthing the mass graves and took control of the area. Now, no one is allowed access to the location except military personnel.
According to the media, a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity said so far they have found around 56 unidentified graves and that there are many more. It is claimed that these bodies are those of Baloch missing persons.
Read more » Asian Human Rights Commission
The participants of the long march from Karachi to Islamabad for the recovery of Baloch missing persons are facing threats from the notorious intelligence agency. The marchers have been threatened not to enter Punjab province otherwise they would face serious consequences.
Read more » Asian Human Rights Commission
by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
This isn’t an ordinary march because it is the expression of the pain and sufferings of the families of the many thousands missing and of 700 plus who have been victims of death squads and who suffer in silence
A protest long march organized by the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, or (VBMP), and led by Mama Qadir Reki, vice chairman of VBMP, with as many as 20 families, including women and children, carrying placards, photographs of missing persons and banners inscribed with slogans in support of their demands started their journey from Quetta Press Club on Sunday 27th; it will culminate with a sit-in at Karachi Press Club.
Many relatives even fear protesting in fear of further retribution. This isn’t a march to secure justice because the relatives of missing and dead had sought all avenues but were let down by all including the Supreme Court (SC) which has been long on rhetoric and miserably short on action. This 700 plus kilometer journey which the relatives of the missing and dead have undertaken is to highlight the injustices to Baloch people. The agencies, the army and Frontier Corps (FC) naturally couldn’t be expected to provide justice because even the most partial SC reluctantly admits that these are responsible for the missing and the mutilated dead. The civil society is expected to stand up for human rights violation but their enthusiasm regarding missing Baloch persons is quite uninspiring.
Read more » ViewPointOnline