Commission to Study the Organization of Peace

Organizes conference on

Europe and South Asia:

A Partnership of Democracy, Development and Prosperity

Statement by Mehran Baluch in United nations Geneva

21 st September 2007

Since 1948 and after the illegal occupation of Balochistan by the Pakistani army, the Baloch people have been gifted with five military operations resulting in tens of thousands of casualties and thousands still missing.

The last military operation, which started in the year 2000 and intensified in March 2005, is one of the most offensive and brutal. Hundreds of innocent Baloch women and children have been killed in these operations.

Nawab Bugti a Patriot and veteran Baloch leader and 40 of his companions went missing on the 26 th of August 2006. Although, the Pakistani army has claimed to have killed him but his body has not been shown to anyone, not even his immediate family.

Over 80,000 Baloch have been forced to flee their hometowns and are living in different cities homeless. Pakistan has not only refused to help them but also prevented the UNHCR from visiting and helping them.

One of the most gruesome violations of human rights in Balochistan is  forced-disappearances. Currently more then 6000 Baloch youth and elderly are missing, their family members and relatives are not aware of their whereabouts and condition. No lawyers have access to them and they have not been produced in any court of law.

"The Herald (a renowned magazine) reported that there had been more than 6000 disappearances in Balochistan from the beginning of the hostilities until August 2006.   In the town of Dera Bugti alone, there were an estimated 24 disappearances in 2005, although the figure may be higher, as "families are often hesitant to come forward because of threats by intelligence agencies warning them to remain silent." 

Disappearances are contrary to the Pakistani constitution, which ensures the right to life and liberty in accordance with the law; they are also in violation of Pakistan's international obligations. When committed as part of a systematic attack against any civilian population, disappearances constitute a crime against humanity.

Under customary international law States are obliged to ensure that they don't aid disappearances by inadequate investigation. 

There have been several credible reports of widespread torture in Balochistan , including allegations of torture by Pakistan's (ISI) Inter Service Intelligence Agency. These reports describe detainees being 'taken to ISI secret torture cells and severely tortured continuously for five months. There is "a network of private torture cells run by intelligence agencies throughout the country." 

Recently Pakistan has started to pressurize the international community to extradite Baloch leaders and representatives living abroad. One of them is myself (Mehran Baluch) who Pakistan wants in a swap deal with Britain for the alleged Trans-Atlantic airline bomber Rashid Rauf who is wanted by the British government (28 th of March 2007 "The Guardian" UK).

Pakistan is abusing the Interpol as a tool of blackmail and political victimization of Baloch patriots in Balochistan and abroad. We believe that every nation including the Baloch Nation has the right to self-determination in accordance with the UN charter.

The Pakistani military supports religious fundamentalism in Balochistan so that they can use this force for their J ihadi purposes and to quell the secular national liberation struggle of Baloch people. Pakistani army and ISI are finding it difficult to keep their atrocities a secret after 60 years. In this attempt they have even threatened the secretary general of the NGO that accredits me.

The only amicable solution to Baloch problem is the right of the Baloch people to self-determination. We urge western countries in general, and the US and UK in particular to stop providing weapons and fighter planes to the Pakistani army. The support, which Pakistan gets from the international community in the name of the war on terror, is being used to kill Baloch civilians and to destroy Baloch villages.

The fundamental basis of the problem is that Balochistan was never a part of Pakistan but was assimilated into Pakistan at gunpoint. Balochistan is an occupied country by Punjabi Pakistan and we request the international community to acknowledge Balochistan as an occupied country. The Baloch people have suffered the worst subjugation, oppression, and occupation in the past and are still suffering at the hand of Pakistan's Punjabi army.

Pakistan's war against Balochistan is strengthening the position of the Taliban , who have exploited the unstable and strife-ridden situation with the help of ISI to establish bases and influence in the region. These bases are used to plan and launch attacks against the British and NATO forces in Afghanistan and are destabilizing the government of president K arzai in Kabul.

Taliban terrorise the liberal and secular Baloch people and seek to enforce the Talibanization of Balochistan . The Pakistani government harbors and supports the Taliban , on the grounds that its presence acts as a second force to crush the Baloch people and weaken their struggle for independence. Secondly, to cash in on them from the west by pretending to be a partner in war on terror.

Our appeal is:

· To Stop military operation in Balochistan

· Inquire into forced disappearance and abduction of Baloch political activists

· To Stop false allegation against Baloch patriots and release all detained Baloch leader and  activists

· Internationally recognise the occupation of a "sovereign state of Balochistan" by neighboring Pakistan

· Pakistan must allow the international aid agencies to help displaced people

· Pakistan should treat all captured Baloch patriots as POW in accordance with Geneva Convention

· EU and UN should send a fact finding team to Balochistan