Tag Archives: VBMP

No exit: Human rights activists denied foreign travel at Karachi airport

By Faraz Khan

KARACHI: Abdul Qadeer Baloch, also known as Mama Qadeer, the vice-chairperson of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), was stopped from travelling outside the country at the Karachi Airport on Wednesday night.

Qadeer, accompanied by his organisation’s general secretary, Farzana Majeed and a relative of one of the Baloch missing persons, Faiqa Baloch, was travelling to New York for a conference on the alleged human rights violations in Balochistan and Sindh, to be held on March 7.

“They [FIA] officials told us that Farzana and I could not leave the country as our names have been placed on the exit control list [ECL],” Qadeer told The Express Tribune. “They even stopped Faiqa as her visa was issued in my name.” He added that the FIA officials also off-loaded their luggage from the plane. “They forced us to stay at the airport for at least three-and-a-half hours until the plane flew off, during which time they mentally tortured us,” he alleged.

“The US government has given us a five-year visa, but we cannot fly to the USA now,” he lamented. “I just want to ask the government what we have done wrong that made them stop us from travelling abroad,” he questioned, adding that there was no case registered against him and he had never heard about his name being put on the ECL.

“What is the government doing with us since the last six years? We are human rights activists, not anti-state activists, but the government has always tried to label us in the latter category,” he decried. “They [government] should be ashamed of such activities.”

On contact, the FIA officials confirmed that the name of Qadeer and Farzana Majeed had been placed on the ECL. “We do not know why their names were put on the ECL as it does not concern us,” the FIA’s Immigrations deputy director, Asim Qaimkhani, told The Express Tribune. “We only follow the system. We put their names on the computer and found them on the ECL. It is our job to stop those people whose names are on the ECL and we only did our job.” He said that only the interior ministry would be able to tell why their names were put on the ECL.

HRCP condemns

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has slammed the denial of foreign travel to the rights activists, reportedly on account of their ‘anti-state activities’.

In a statement issued on Thursday by chairperson Zohra Yusuf, the commission said:

“Apart from the obvious denial of the freedom of movement, the decision to prevent them from traveling abroad is bound to add to the sense of deprivation felt by the Baloch. It also demonstrates the many difficulties that human rights defenders face in their work in the country.”

This manner of arbitrarily adding citizens’ names to the ECL has been severely criticised by the Supreme Court in the last few years and the government has committed on more than one occasion to introduce parameters to introduce safeguards to prevent abuse. The safeguards are meant to inform the individuals in time about inclusion of their names to the list in order to enable them to challenge the inclusion, read the statement.

Continue reading No exit: Human rights activists denied foreign travel at Karachi airport

A no ordinary long march

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
http://www.viewpointonline.net/a-no-ordinary-long-march.html

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

Balochistan: middle-class rebellion

Dr. Allah Nazar

By: Mahvish Ahmad

QUETTA: The state sees them as unruly men serving power-hungry sardars, but the six 20-something Baloch Student Organisation-Azad (BSO-Azad) members sitting cross-legged on the floor of their dorm room come across as more diligent than unruly, and more revolutionary than submissive.

As active sympathisers of a rebellion calling for outright independence, they embody a new kind of Baloch freedom fighter – or sarmachar.

And a new kind of victim of the kill-and-dump policy practised, they claim, by the Frontier Core (FC) and intelligence agencies.

These six young men are urbanised, middle-class, educated, and typically allied as equals rather than serving as underlings to the separatist Bugti and Marri sardars of Balochistan.

“We are united in our call for an independent Balochistan. And we have sacrificed our lives for our cause. Ninety-five members of BSO-Azad have been picked up, tortured and brutally murdered by the establishment. Many of them were students at educational institutions like Balochistan University,” says Khalid, an office-holder in BSO-Azad.

Malik Siraj Akbar, the editor of the online newspaper, Baloch Hal, which has been banned in Pakistan, agrees. “Today’s Baloch movement is headed not solely by […] tribal chiefs, but [by] educated middle class youth,” says Malik in the introduction to his book, “The Redefined Dimensions of the Baloch Nationalist Movement”.

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