Thursday, April 3, 2014

Oppression of Baloch Culture during Gwadar Business Deals with Chinese Investors

A Baloch Bookshop keeper was abducted on April 1st during raids conducted by Pakistani security forces in Gwadar.  Pakistan’s strict censorship policies outlaws; writing, reading, and selling of any material considered to be critical of the Pakistani government.  Well known Balochi writer Major Majeed’s books were among the allegedly “controversial” material Security Forces found within the book store.  Earlier today reports have surfaced of several other book and music shops throughout Gwadar & Turbat being systematically raided by Pakistani Security Forces.  Security Forces have abducted several shopkeepers, and confiscated Balochi books, magazines and cassettes deemed controversial during the raids.

Pakistani authorities in Gwadar have announced a May “deadline”for their free trade zone “master plan”.  Occupational government officials hope to impress Chinese investors with a “comprehensive business and marketing plan”.  According to the Gwadar Port Authority Chairman Dostain Khan Jamaldini, Islamabad has already signed over full control of the region to Beijing.  The Gwadar Port Authorities met with with a delegation of Chinese businessmen, earlier this week, to discuss investment opportunities in the Gwadar “free trade zone” region.

On March 31st Pakistani Armed Forces began a series of violent attacks in the Panjgur region of Balochistan.  During the attacks, five people were abducted from the Koh, Sabz, Charowan, Sohr, Gari districts.  Yesterday Pakistani Forces abducted eighteen more local civilians from the Gramkan district.  Since the initial invasion on Monday, Pakistani Soldiers have conducted relentless attacks upon Baloch towns & villages in the Panjgur region for several days.  Panjgur residents have rallied at the District Commissioner's office, staging peaceful protests against the abduction of their family members and violent military occupation of their towns.

The Occupational State Forces attacked another Baloch School on Friday March 28th while conducting Military Operations in Panjgur, Balochistan. This time a small rural high school, the Martyr Muslim High School, was raided by Pakistani Forces. Witnesses report the school teacher was subjected to Acts of Torture and the school’s blackboard was removed. On the same day in Washbood, Panjgur, Pakistani Security Forces invaded the home of Master Jalil and Abducted his relative Qambar s/o Master Safdar.

 On March 30th, Khuzdar officials reported the unearthing of three more bodies from the vicinity of the Totak Mass Graves discovered in January this year.  Regional sources have reported as many as 15 bodies may have been recovered from the newly discovered mass grave.  Occupational State Media continues to significantly downplay the magnitude of the Mass Graves.  Despite local reports of 169 bodies in the first three graves, and 15 more in the newly discovered grave, the State News maintains that 13 bodies were recovered in January & only 3 more yesterday.  The bodies recovered on Sunday have been shifted to a nearby civilian hospital for potential identification.

Pakistan’s Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani had summoned the Balochistan Inspector General early in February and even announced the formation of a “judicial commission”, headed by High Court judge Justice Noor Mohammad Muzkanzai, to conduct a ‘transparent’ investigation of the discovery of the Totak mass graves. Since the investigation began, the entire region has been under strict military lock-down and investigators have not released any reports or announced any progress.  Although two months have passed, since the inquiry was launched, only two of the bodies have been identified.

Today in Karachi, the BHRO held a demonstration at the Karachi Press Club to raise awareness of the severity and magnitude of the #MassGraves in Khuzdar.  Protesters hope to persuade international human rights organizations to take notice of the severe human rights abuses in Balochistan and send impartial investigators to expose the severity of the Mass Graves.

On April 2nd in Satellite Town, Quetta, three people were killed and several wounded when unidentified Target Killers opened fire on their vehicle.  Among those injured were two women.  The victims of the attack were taken to the local hospital.  Quetta police are conducting search operations in the region.  On April 1st, Hazrat-u-Deen s/o Meya-u-Deen was abducted by unidentified gunmen on Mission road, and in the Dawood district of Quetta a mutilated body was discovered.   
On March 29th, In Quetta, unidentified Target Killers assassinated Mohmmad Hussain. Meanwhile in Wadh, Khuzdar, Sardar Akhter Mengal’s security guard was killed when they were fired on by unidentified gunmen. The mutilated remains of a 14 year old boy were recovered in a Quetta rain canal on Sunday. The body was taken by officials to a local hospital for identification.

The remains of Naseem Baloch s/o Jam Mohmmad were recovered today in Kech.  Naseem Baloch was abducted several days prior by Pakistani Armed Forces during a military operation in Pidrak.  On April 1st State Security Forces abducted a Zhob resident while conducted search operations in the region.  Another person was abducted by State Forces on Tuesday in Turbat.  In Mashkai, Qadeer s/o Noor Baksh was abducted by Pakistani Agents on Tuesday. On Monday unidentified gunmen in Daadhar Sibbi abducted a local Truck Driver.
In Passani, Yousuf and several companions were killed by unknown gunmen on Sunday. Unidentified target killers also murdered another unnamed civilian in Khuzdar, and In Kech, unidentified gunmen abducted Naseem Jan. Iranian Forces again fired upon Baloch citizens travelling near the Iranian Border on Saturday. One female civilian was injured by Iranian gunfire.

The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons Chairman Nasrullah Baloch has again received threats to his life as result of his recent appearance at a Supreme Court Hearing regarding cases of missing persons in Balochistan.  Representatives from the Norwegian Mission also met with Nasrullah Baloch to discuss the cases.  After participating in 2 days of hearings on March 25th & 26th, Chairman Nasrullah Baloch was followed and harassed by intelligence agents who seized and destroyed his flight tickets then told him he was a traitor for speaking with foreigners about the missing persons.  Nasrullah Baloch was further detained, searched, and threatened by security agents later that day at the airport.  Nasrullah and his family have been threatened on numerous occasions throughout the past several years.  In November of 2013, his younger brother was approached by a gang of armed intelligence agents and warned that if Nasrullah continued his campaign against human rights abuses he would be “dealt with in a wrong way”.  Undeterred by threats and intimidation, the VBMP Chairman continues his crusade for the recovery of the 20,000 abducted Baloch citizens.  International Human Rights Organizations are urging Pakistani authorities to guarantee the safety of Nasrullah Baloch and other human rights activists in Pakistan.

Pakistani State news heavily censored a recent televised interview with the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons vice chairman Abdul ‘Mama’ Qadeer Baloch.  During the interview Mr. Qadeer Baloch spoke of mass graves discovered in Khuzdar, Gawadar, Mand, Basima, & Hoshab, implicating Death Squad chief Rashid Pathan along with Pakistani Security Agencies & Armed Forces in the killing of Baloch citizens & burying them in mass graves.  Mama Qadeer also stated “we no longer appeal to Pakistani institute and have already given awareness to United Nations.  Once again we will go to Islamabad to meet Members of United Nation and will request they provide security to seek out additional Mass Graves in Balochistan.”

Baloch Nationalist Leader Hyarbyair Marri recently held an interview with Express TV Journalist Javed Chahudry.  During the Interview Hyarbyair Marri stated “Journalists try to spread lies about the Long March of Mama Qadeer Baloch, and didn’t air his complete interview because in Pakistan (media) is not allowed to publish Baloch activists interviews.”  Hyarbyair Marri also described how the Durand line has arbitrarily divided the Baloch nation, stating “We have a long history with Afghanistan, we was a good neighbor with Afghanistan and had a relationship since long before the Pakistani occupation (of Balochistan).  7 million (citizens) of Baloch nationality (live) in Afghanistan.”
Despite prior agreements to air the entire uncensored interview, Express TV extensively edited the footage and released a condensed version of the video bereft of potentially controversial statements.  The uncensored interview can be viewed below in its entirety courtesy of Balochwarna News - Kohdil.

Full version of Hyrbyair Marri's interview with Javed Chahudry - UNCENSORED from Shawn Forbes on Vimeo.

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