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21.11.2008

SUBJECT: EXPOSING DISCRIMINATING POLICIES OF SAP-PK

Dated: November 14, 2008

We wish to draw your attention towards a gruesome cycle of constant victimization and harassment of Baloch development activists working in the Balochistan office of an organization called South Asia Partners Pakistan (SAP-PK).

We have been working in SAP-PK since the project office was formed in Quetta in November 2005. We have been affiliated with the development sector of Balochistan for the past several years as committed professionals in different non governmental organizations such as Oxfam-GB, SAHER and SPO. However, we never experienced such kind of severe harassment, discrimination and insecurity throughout our career simply on the basis of our ethnic background.

The management of the SAP-PK has made all out efforts to undermine us to work for the welfare of the people of Balochistan by applying various tactics of degradation at personal and professional level.

On the official front, the Management never fulfilled its promises made to the communities and stake holders in the province such as forming Kisan Bethaks in districts and providing funds to Peasants and Worker Groups to run the small projects. Most of the Provincial reports and data were used to be displaced in the Head Office. Head office doesn't have any Human Resource Section and there is no Performance Evaluation system yet, there is no check and balance system inside the organization.

To complete our tenure and run the project smoothly, we ignored their all ridiculous gestures, boastful attitudes and biased comments regarding our culture, traditional dresses and our people. We remained undeterred despite all pressure tactics. We were further subjected to unethical attitude and asked to leave the organization.

The episodes of discrimination and harassment have ended after the following three incidents, when all Baloch employees of the organization were forced to quit the organization by one way or other:

  1. On 30 th June, 2008 a fake letter was sent to DG Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) filled with allegations against Nausheen Qambarani (x- Provincial Coordinator), accusing her to be working for Baloch militant organizations. She was interrogated and harassed by the ISI officials for more than a month. During this while she was threatened to face unimaginable consequences and her mobile phone and landline calls were taped. She was threatened not to mention this harassment to anyone. After the interrogation and harassment was completed by the ISI, the same was started by Mr. Muhammad Tahseen, Executive Director of SAP-PK. Instead of supporting a woman employee, the Executive Director threatened Nausheen to quit her job and leave the city saying her that If you resign from SAP-PK, you will remain safe.
  2. Mr. Sherbaz Baloch was terminated from his job in written, telling him that he was not capable of doing such a job as he is not competent. Although, Mr. Sherbaz Baloch has been rewarded many times verbally as well as in written by his nearest superiors for his brilliant job at the office. Mr. Sherbaz Baloch had raised the issue of unavailability of the budget for development activities in Balochistan on behalf of the organization. He was told that the budget was consumed in the Head Office.
  3. Against the discriminating policies of the SAP-PK administration, the third and the last Baloch in the SAP-PK Quetta office, Mr. Asif Baloch resigned from his job in this organization.

Here it is obvious that the people working in SAP-PK head office are lacking basic human values and official decorum and ethics. They threatened us not to raise this issue otherwise the management of SAP-PK will use its influence and will make sure that our development sector career will come to an end.

We do not see any other reason for this discrimination and harassment other than the fact that this organization aims at looting the resources of our people by misusing the name of Balochistan's backwardness.

We regret to say that the donor agencies don't have any strong mechanism to monitor their projects, as those who claim to be the pioneer of human rights issues, and call themselves unbiased and progressive and secular segments of society, still continue to practice policies of exploitation and discrimination against our people.

We urge all the national and international non-profit organizations, United Nation's agencies, and Human Rights organizations to take notice of this harassment being meted out to us on the basis of our ethnic background.

  1. Nausheen Qambarani
  1. Sherbaz Baloch
  1. Asif Baloch