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7 days of “Hunger Strike Till Death” for Release of BSO Leader Zahid Baloch

By Shawn Forbes

Visit BalochWarna for full story, links and photos: 7 days of “Hunger Strike Till Death” for Release of BSO Leader Zahid Baloch

In 2003, a native of Naal, Khudzar, Zahid Kurd Baloch joined the Karachi Baloch Student Organization (BSO). Eventually he became president of BSO-Karachi Zone. In 2008 Zahid became a member of the BSO-Azad Central Committee. After four years of dedicated service with the central committee, Zahid became the chairman of BSO-Azad in 2012. Throughout his career with BSO-Azad, Zahid Baloch has been an active member of the organization conducting peaceful protests and delivering inspirational speeches. Under the leadership of Zahid Baloch, BSO-Azad has demonstrated their commitment to democratic values and peaceful activism.

On March 18th 2014 multiple eyewitnesses including Senior Chairperson of Baloch Student Organisation (Azad), Banuk Karima Baloch saw Baloch Student Organization Azad Chairman Zahid Baloch blatantly abducted by Pakistani Agents during a raid on a BSO-Azad meeting in Quetta. Zahid Baloch is the latest in a long line of BSO-Azad leaders, workers and activists abducted by State Forces. In June of 2009 BSO-Azad Senior Vice Chairman Zakir Majeed Baloch was abducted from Quetta, Balochistan. Since Pakistan unjustly imposed a ban on the Baloch Nationalist group in 2013, State Agents, Army, and proxy death squads have continually abducted and assassinated their members.

On April 22nd 2014 BSO-Azad representatives held a press conference to announce BSO-Azad Central Committee member Latif Johar’s intent to “Hunger Strike Till Death” at the Karachi Press Club to protest the enforced abduction of Chairman Zahid Baloch. Since that day, BSO-Azad Central Committee member Latif Johar has been encamped alongside other BSO-Azad activists and supporters. BSO-Azad and their supporters have expressed serious concern about the well being of Chairman Zahid Baloch and believe he could be extra judicially executed at any moment.

During the press conference Senior Chairperson of the Baloch Student Organisation (Azad), Banuk Karima Baloch said “Although BSO-Azad has been strictly committed to its democratic struggle; powerful Pakistani state elements could never tolerate our mere existence. From past 5 years, there has been an unannounced deadly crackdown against BSO-Azad that has left hundreds of our peaceful activists being abducted and dozens extra judicially murdered. In addition, BSO-Azad has also been unlawfully banned to carry out any political activity. Despite all of these brutalities, BSO-Azad has not compromised its principal of peaceful democratic struggle.” Banuk Karima Baloch urged the UN to ensure the protection of the BSO-Azad hunger strike protesters currently engaged in a peaceful demonstration.

BSO-Azad also announced a nation-wide strike on April 25th 26th & 27th 2014. The strike call was supported by all the Baloch Nationalist parties, and resounded throughout Balochistan. Vacant streets and closed shops were the scene as towns, villages, cities, urban and rural alike observed the BSO strike call. Noshki, Kharan, Bisema, Soorab, Mastung, Mangocher, Khuzdar, Naal, Mashkai, Awaran, Turbat, Geshkor, Panjgor, Passani, Tump, Gawader, Jewani, Passani, Geshkor, Mand, Hoshab, Jaho and many other Balochistan towns have completely shut down. In addition to shutter down strikes, BSO-Azad Hoshab, Mashkai & Karachi zone members held rallies and protests against the illegal abduction of their chairman Zahid Baloch. BRP & BRSO have also held protest rallies in Shapuk Kech and at Karachi Press Club against the abduction of BSO leader Zahid Baloch. On Sunday April 27th Baloch activists in the UK also held a demonstration to protest the extrajudicial abduction of BSO Azad Chairman Zahid Baloch outside the Prime Minister’s Office at 10 Downing st. An online petition has been created at Change.org by Human rights activist Tarek Fatah urging United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to “Intervene with the Pakistan Government and the Pakistan Army to secure the release of Zahid Kurd.”

BRP, BYW, BNM, BNV, BSF, BIM, BGM all Baloch pro-independent parties have voiced their condemnation of the illegal abduction of BSO-AZAD chairmen Zahid Baloch aka Baloch Khan and continue to urge to International Human rights Organization, United Nations and Amnesty International to play their role to facilitate the release Zahid Baloch.

The Baloch Human Rights Council of Canada attended a briefing in Toronto on gross human rights violations by the theocratic regime against people of Al-Ahwaz, Turkmenistan, South Azerbaijan and Balochistan. During the April 24th conference BHRC-Canada informed Honourable Bob Dechert about the recent illegal abduction of Zahid Baloch, Chairman BSO (Azad) by the Pakistani security forces (ISI, Frontier Corps) and that his life is in extreme danger. BHRC representative urged Mr. Dechert that Canadian government must act urgently to save life of Zahid Baloch by asserting diplomatic pressure on Pakistani authorities.

On April 26th a local journalist interviewed BSO-Azad wise Chairperson Banuk Karima Baloch & BSO-Azad CC member Latif Johar. During the interview Latif Johar stated “We are students. Our weapons are pens and books.”, “We do not believe in violence. We believe in fighting for our rights through democratic political means.” Latif went on to say “We have lost leader after leader, worker after worker. First they picked up Zakir Majeed about whom we have no news. They picked up Kumbar Chakar, Comrade Qayuum, Shafiq Baloch, and Raza Jahangir most of them members of the central committee. Over a hundred of our workers have been killed,” When asked what would happen if BSO-Azad Chairman Zahid Baloch is not released, Latif Johar responded “it’s possible my hunger strike till death not help to release Chairmen Zahid Baloch, but after my death make a question on the world students, education friends, human friends why Lateef Johar sacrificed his life.”

Over the course of the past 7 days, Latif Johar’s health has significantly deteriorated as a result of his hunger strike till death. Suffering from extreme dehydration and severe abdominal pains, Latif Johar continues to maintain his “hunger strike till death” refusing food & drink until BSO-Azad Chairman Zahid Baloch is recovered. Earlier today, Latif was joined by his 2 children Doda & Qambar. BSO-Azad representatives declared that if Latif Johar should embrace martyrdom as a result of his hunger strike another BSO-Azad leader will take his place and continue the “hunger strike till death” demonstration until BSO-Azad Chairman Zahid Baloch is released.

Voice for Baloch Missing Person Chairman Nasarullah Baloch, Vice Chairman Mama Qadeer Baloch, General Secartry Banuk Farzana Baloch, Nationalist Leader Banuk Horaan Baloch and Sister of Wadood Raisani held a press conference yesterday at the Quetta Press Club to show their support for the BSO-Azad demonstrators in Karachi. In a brief statement, Mama Qadeer said “International country and united nation must raise their voice against abduction of Zahid Baloch chairmen of BSO-AZAD.”

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