Dec 10, 2009
Does the UDHR apply to the people of Balochistan?
By Faiz Baluch
As the world marks International Human Rights Day this 10 December, Pakistan
and Iran should be urged to respect the Human Rights of the Baloch.
International Human Rights Day is observed by the international
community every year on Dec. 10 to commemorate the day in
1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration
has become a universal standard for defending and promoting
human rights. The first sentence of the declaration reads: "The
recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and
inalienable rights of all members of the human family is
the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." The
declaration remains one of the most important documents ever
created. It represented the first clear formal statement
of the fundamental rights to which all humans are entitled. Guinness
World Records describes it as the world's ''Most
Does this declaration protect the rights of occupied
Nations or stateless Nations?
The oppressed and occupied Nations continue to suffer at
the hands of member states of the United Nations. Balochistan
is one such stateless Nation that has long been under siege
and attack by occupying countries that are signatories of
the United Nations.
Due to the lack of international media coverage and international
recognition, the Balochistan conflict is known as the “Forgotten
Conflict”. The Baloch people’s struggle
for independence, and against the illegal occupation of their
sovereign state, continues till this day. Balochistan
was first occupied and divided by the British in 1839. Later,
two artificial British-drawn borders, the Goldsmith Line
and the Durand Line, sliced Balochistan into three
pieces. Northern Balochistan and Western Balochistan were
given to Persia and Afghanistan respectively, and Eastern
Balochistan (Pakistan-occupied Balochistan) remained independent
and maintained treaty relations with the British. Balochistan
was never a part of British India, Persia or any other empire
In 1947 when the British concluded that they could not rule
over a united India, they came up with the idea of building
a separate state for Muslims. The “Two Nation Theory” was
proposed to serve this purpose, and India was subsequently
divided in the name of religion. A new state was carved out
of India and named Pakistan, meaning the land of pure, though
many may argue that its purity is doubtful.
Before the partition of India and the withdrawal of the British,
the Baloch were given three options: (1) join India, (2)
join the upcoming Pakistan or (3) remain independent. The
Baloch, of course, chose to maintain their sovereign state.
On 11 August 1947 the British, India
and the upcoming Pakistan administration declared Balochistan’s
independence. On 13 August 1947 India was granted independence
and on 14 August 1947 Pakistan was carved out of India and
declared a country. On 15 August 1947 the ruler of Balochistan, “The
the two houses of Baloch parliament, “The House of
Commons and The House of Lords”. Balochistan’s
independence, however, was short-lived as newborn Pakistan,
within 9 months of coming into existence, occupied Balochistan;
the rationale used to justify this occupation was the idea
of shared religion. The so-called founder of Pakistan,
Mr. Jinnah, also known as Mohammad Ali Jinnah by Pakistanis,
had invited the ruler of Balochistan to join Pakistan. On
16 December 1947 the Khan called a joint meeting of the Houses
and put the matter before them. The Balochistan parliament
overwhelmingly rejected the idea of joining Pakistan and
opted to remain independent.
On 27 March 1948 the Pakistani army
invaded Balochistan and held the Khan and his family members
hostage in their own palace. That same year, while
Declaration of Human Rightsproclaimed a people’s
right to “The recognition
of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable
rights of all members of the human family is the foundation
of freedom, justice and peace in the world,” the
independent state of Balochistan was occupied at gunpoint--a
sheer violation of the Baloch people’s Human Rights
and their right to freedom and justice.
In late 1948, the Baloch people initiated the first revolt against the
illegal occupation of their motherland. In fact, it was the younger brother
of the ruler of Balochistan, Prince Abdul Karim Khan Baloch, who led the revolt
and fought occupying forces. The struggle to regain Baloch sovereignty
has erupted intermittently thoughout the years and continues till this day.
The Baloch people’s only desire and demand is their right to independence
and the Baloch are determined to continue their struggle until such time that
Balochistan is free once again. After the initial revolt in 1948, Pakistan
has come into open conflict with the Baloch on four occasions: 1958, 1962-63,
1973-77 and the current ongoing conflict which started in early 2000.
Hundreds of thousands of Baloch have been killed since the occupation in
1948 and many hundreds have been made homeless, now living in neighbouring
Pakistan and Afghanistan under appalling conditions. International aid agencies
have been denied access by Pakistani authorities to help the displaced people
of Balochistan. Unfortunately, the UN seems unconcerned by Pakistan’s
actions towards the Baloch, and uninterested in helping Baloch refugees.
It was during this most recent conflict that many top Baloch leaders were
murdered, along with thousands of innocent Baloch women, children and elderly.
Among the top Baloch leaders assassinated during Musharraf’s dictatorial
regime and the current so-called elected PPP government, were Nawab Akbar Khan
Bugti, Nawabzada Balaach Marri, Dr. Khalid Baloch, Ghulam Mohammad Baloch,
Lala Munir Baloch, Sher Mohammad Baloch, Rasool Bux Baloch and, most recently,
Nisar Baloch in Karachi. At present, 8,000 Baloch political activists, students
and ordinary Baloch are reported missing. The families of abducted Baloch claim
that they have not been told about the situations of their loved ones. None
of the forced-disappeared Balochs have been presented in any court, or allowed
any legal representation.
Even today as I write this article, a military offensive is taking place
in Balochistan and people are disappearing. According to latest reports, the
Pakistani military is preparing for a military operation in the Makoran region
I am upset by the silence of the International Community regarding the
atrocities committed in Balochistan by Iranian and Pakistani security forces.
Baloch are killed and executed under sham pretexts and labeled drug dealers
or enemies of GOD in Iran and outlaws or miscreants in Pakistan. Yet, the USA,
the EU and other democratic powers take no action against Pakistan and Iran.
The Baloch need their moral support and it is the ethical responsibility of
these champions of Human Rights and democracy to raise their voices against
the human rights violations in Balochistan.
Pakistan is deceiving the International Community, especially the West,
claiming to help fight the “War on Terror”, while committing heinous
crimes against the people of Balochistan. Baloch nationalist parties allege
that the weapons and other resources Pakistan receives to fight the Taliban
are instead being used against the secular Baloch people. The international
War on Terror is more like a give and take business, it’s being used
as “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”.
The Baloch and other oppressed Nations are the invisible
victims of the War on Terror. The member states of United
Nations are suppressing the genuine struggle of occupied
Nations whereas the UN is reluctant to take action against
these states. It is high time that stateless Nations like the Baloch,
the Tamils, the Kurds and others are given fair representation in the UN to
make their voices heard across the globe. The UN,
instead of covering up the crimes of member states, must
take actions against them. If solutions lead to the dismemberment
of such states, the UN should not hesitate to support this.
On this International day of Human Rights the Baloch urge the UN and other
International Human Rights Organisations to pressure Pakistan and Iran to put
an end to human rights violations in Balochistan. Pakistan and Iran must be
urged to respect the human rights of the Baloch people. The articles of UDHR
apply to the Baloch, as much as any other oppressed Nation. If the world wants
to honor the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it must respect the rights
of the Baloch people, as well.
The Baloch urge the honourable UN secretary General Mr. Ban
Ki Moon to recognise Balochistan as an occupied territory
under the Geneva Convention and use his good office to
emphasise to world leaders that they should take notice
of the gross human rights violations committed by the fascist
regimes of Iran and Pakistan against the Baloch people.