Thursday, May 1, 2014

Day 10 of BSO-Azad Hunger Strike Till Death Protest

Ten days ago, 22 year old student and BSO-Azad CentralCommitte member Lateef Johar began his #HungerStrikeTillDeath to#SaveBSOAzadLeader protest.  Since then the entire Baloch nation has joined the young hero; staging protest rallies & shutter-down strikes throughout Balochistan and around the world to protest the enforced disappearance of BSO-Azad Chairman Zahid Baloch. 

Lateef Johar has now suffered without food or drink for morethan 230 hours in his devoted protest of the extra judicial abduction ofBSO-Azad leader Zahid Baloch.  Doctors, closely monitoring his vital signs, determined him to be in a very fragile condition.  With each passing moment, Lateef Johar’s health significantly deteriorates.

Despite this young man’s excruciating ordeal, the inhuman Pakistani administration refuses to even acknowledge his protest.  International Human Rights Organizations helplessly witness this tragedy from afar and they too remain silent.  The United Nations and Governments of the World watch idly as Pakistan remains exempt from international law.

Repected scholar, intellect, activist and BSO-Azad Central Chairman Zahid Baloch was well known for his dedicated activism promoting the Baloch national identity & right to self determination.  For over 10 years Zahid was a devoted and active member of the Baloch Students Organization. 
"Baloch Students Organisation (BSO) is a student organisation that is championing the rights of Baloch people through peaceful means.  Only students who are studying in a educational institution can be members of BSO.” – BSO-Azad Azad Leadership

Zahid Baloch joined the BSO-Azad in 2003 when he moved to Karachi after completing his matriculation in his hometown of Naal, Khuzdar.  While studying at Urdu College in Karachi, he served as president of BSO-Azad Karachi Zone from 2004 until 2005.  In 2006 he joined the BSO-Azad Central Committee and 2 years later was elected to the position of General Secretary.  After 6 years with the BSO-Azad CC, Zahid Baloch was elected as BSO-Azad Central Chairman in a 2012 BSO-Azad council session.

On March 18th 2014 Zahid Baloch and 3 other senior BSO-Azad leaders attended a BSO-Azad meeting in Satellite Town, Quetta.  At around 5pm, as BSO-Azad members were leaving the meeting, Pakistan Frontier Corps Soldiers descended upon them.  Several eyewitnesses including BSO-Azad senior Vice Chairperson Kareema Baloch and three other BSO-Azad leaders saw the PFC Paramilitary Soldiers detain interrogate and abduct BSO-Azad Central Chairman Zahid Baloch.

“The BSO-A, comprised of Baloch youngsters campaigning against human rights abuses in Balochistan, has been a victim of political persecution at the hands of Pakistan’s military establishment.  Scores of its leaders and activists have been abducted and killed by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and military in a brutal campaign of ‘abduct, kill and dump’.  Zahid Baloch is the second chairman of the group to become a victim of enforced disappearance. On June 8, 2009, the group’s then chairman Zakir Majeed was picked up by intelligence agencies from Balochistan’s Mastung area. He is still missing." – BSO-Azad Azad Leadership

The Pakistani administration has refused to issue any statements regarding the extrajudicial abduction and subsequent detention of BSO-Azad leader Zahid Baloch.  Zahid Baloch has been illegally detained without crime, charge, or legal representation for over 40 days now.   BSO-Azad representatives have expressed serious concerns for Zahid’s safety and believe his life is in jeopardy.   BSO-Azad senior Vice-Chairperson Kareema Baloch said the decision to conduct a hunger strike protest was agreed upon by the central committee, many members volunteered to do it. “If Johar is taken away or, God forbid, something happens to him, other members will step forward and take his place,” she said. “This cycle of hunger strikes will go on till Zahid Baloch is released.”

On April 29th renowned journalist Usad Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur visited Lateef and the BSO-Azad #HungerStrikeTillDeath protest camp in Karachi.  In a statement made during his visit Mir Mohammad said  "we cannot expect people to just lay down their rights and not to resist in any way the Pakistani state and injustices they commit against the Baloch."  Mir Mohammad also urged Lateef and the BSO to end their hunger strike suggesting other avenues of peaceful protest.  "I have came here specifically to request my friend Latif Johar and the BSO that each life is very very precious and we should give up the strike"
Lateef, devoted to his cause, remains committed to his hunger strike till death unless BSO-Azad Chairman Zahid Baloch is released. 

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur requests Latif Johar to end his hunger strike from GulZameen on Vimeo.

Over the past few days scores of journalists, human rights activists, and representatives from various political parties visited Lateef Johar to show their support and solidarity.  Among his many visitors were; VBMP Vice-Chairman Mama Qadeer, BRP representative Dr. Hakeem Lehri, HRCP assistant coordinator Abdullah, HRCP representatives Kamal Baloch, Nawaz Arain, & Muhammad Ali, HRCP-Sindh vice chairperson Asad Iqbal Butt, DSF-Karachi president Naghma and DSF info secretary Rehan Mazhar, Artist Tariq Murad, Balochi poet Bakhtiar Deenar Kolanchi, Baloch Muttehda Mahaz representative Sardar Mubasher Qaesrani, PPP members Zarkhan Baloch, Hammad Baloch & Razzak Raja, as well as many other journalists, activists, students, and supporters.

Peaceful Protests continue to be held throughout Balochistan this week in support of the #HungerStrikeTillDeath to #SaveBSOAzadLeader .  In Gishkor, Balochistan, BRP and BRSO held a joint protest rally for the safe release of BSO-Azad Chairman Zahid Baloch.  The demonstrators appealed to the UNO to play their role in the safe recovery of Zahid Baloch.  Relatives of extra-judicially abducted people held a protest in Panjgur.  Participants blocked the roads and chanted slogans demanding the safe release of their abducted relatives illegally held in the custody of Pakistan security forces.  Activists also held large scale protests in Jahoo and Balgathar to show solidarity with Sangat Lateef Johar and demand release of BSO-Azad chairman Zahid Baloch.  BNM Activists in Switzerland distributed brochures creating awareness for Lateef Johar’s #HungerStrikeTillDeath to #SaveBSOAzadLeader protest.  Activists in BRP-Germany chapter also held public demonstrations to show their support for Lateef Johar’s Hunger Strike.

Baloch National Movement announced a wheel jam shutter down strike in Balochistan on Saturday May 3rd 2014 to protest the enforced abduction of BSO-Azad chairman Zahid Baloch by Pakistan Security Agents.  Baloch Republican Party fully endorses and promotes this strike call.  BNM calls upon all Baloch pro-independence parties to support and announce the strike call.
On May 4th 2014 BSO-Azad will be holding a protest rally from Lyari to Karachi Press Club.  Activists, Residents, Students, Journalists are called upon to join the protest and help #SaveBSOAzadLeader.

BSO-Azad, BNM, BSYA & World Sindhi Congress announced UK activists will begin a hunger strike demonstration at the Prime Minister’s office to protest the illegal abduction of Zahid  Baloch and to show support for Lateef Johar’s brave struggle.  Demonstrators will begin their hunger strike on Friday May 2nd, 2014 at 10 Downing st. Westminster, London, UK.

BSO-Azad Australia chapter will be holding a protest in front of the Australian Parliament House on Spring st. East Melbourne City at 12:30pm to support Lateef Johar’s hunger strike and create awareness of the enforced abduction of Zahid Baloch.

On Monday May 5th 2014 the Baloch Community of USA will be holding a demonstration in front of the State Department with “International Solidarity Camp to Saev Zahid Baloch, Chairman BSO (Azad)” from 11:00am until 3:00pm @ 2201 C Street, NW Washington, D.C., U.S

Meanwhile in Occupied Balochistan Pakistani Forces and their Death Squads continue to enforce a sinister policy of oppression.
On April 29th Pakistani Forces raided the English Language center in Khudabad.  Soldiers invaded the language center and delivered a cruel beating to the teacher then set the building on fire.  Earlier this week two other language centers in Washbood, Panjgur, were forced to close after raids by Pakistani Security Forces.  
In Tump, Shaik Balach s/o Elahi Baksh was assassinated by unidentified Target Killers on Tuesday.  On Wednesday a bullet riddled body was found in Muslim Bagh, Quetta, while in Washuk, Besima, two people were killed by unidentified gunmen.
On the early morning of April 29th Pakistan Armed Forces seized the coastal city of Pasni, Balochistan.  State Forces occupied the city and proceeded to conduct homes invasion operations throughout the day.  Occupational State Soldiers raided countless homes, looting valuables and subjecting the residents to severe acts of torture, including the Women & Children.
At least 15 people were abducted from ward 6 during the attack.  The abductees have been identified as Abdul Rasool s/o Ghulam Rasool, Ghulam Rasool, Mastir Riaz Testi, Arshid, Zarif, Baba Mir Rahmat, Yaseen Mir Rahmat, Haji Hahmat, Faisal Haji Rahmat, Zobair Haji Rahmat, Janzahib Ameen, Junaid Ameen, Ali Ameen, Zafaar Malang, and Zafar.  All have been detained by State Forces and taken to an undisclosed location without charge or crime.

Struggle for freedom will intensify: Brahamdagh... by EuropeNews1
"Whatever atrocities they commit against us - be it the killing of Baloch people, women and children - our freedom struggle will continue.  The movement will only intensify further.  The more the bloodshed, the more we'll fight back." - Brahamdagh Bugti

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