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Mehran Baluch addresses UN Human Rights Council

"The attack on Baluchistan's cultural landscape is serious. On June the 1st, Professor Saba Dashtiyari was killed by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency in Quetta. The victim was a cultural icon of Baluchistan and an institution by himself...He was also called the Noam Chomsky of Baluchistan because of his liberal outlook on life and society...."

Part I full text:

Agdnce des Cites pour la Co operation Nord-Sud

Intervention by Mehran Baluch

Item 3 (General Debate) : Promotion and Protection of all Human Rights, Civil, Political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right of development.

Mr. Chairman,

Thank you for giving me a chance to speak on item 3. My talks will focus on Balochistan in southwest Asia.

Thanks to Item 3 of the U.N. Human Rights Council, it is now recognized worldwide that denial of political and civil rights of a people do not take place in isolation but these denials go hand in hand with the denial of cultural and economic rights.

Mr. Chairman,

The secular cultural values of Balochistan are under threat as religious fundamentalists have been given a license to throw acid on the faces of Baloch women teachers in Quetta for not covering their faces. One such attack took place on September 10.

The victims were identified as Robina Mushwani, 21, Fazila Bangulzai, 23, Sajida Bibi, 24 and Surriya Langhov, 21.

To understand who is doing this, I like to ask the collective wisdom in this house to think of Osama bin Laden, who was living comfortably next door to the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul.

The attack on Balochistan's cultural landscape is serious. On June 1, Professor Saba Dashtyari was killed by the Pakistani intelligence services in Quetta, his family and friends said.

The victim was a cultural icon of Balochistan and an institution by himself. Professor Dashtiyari had written more than 24 books on Balochi literature, history, poetry.

He was also called the Noam Chomsky of Balochistan because of his liberal outlook on life and society. Professor Dashtiyari was one among a handful of Baloch teachers employed at the Balochistan University.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan has firmly shut the doors of employment on the face of Baloch teachers. Even some highly qualified Baloch professors who have acquired Phds from reputable foreign universities are denied jobs at Balochistan University, while alien teachers are imported from Punjab and elsewhere.

Professor Dashtyari was killed just three days after he delivered an animated speech on the 13th anniversary of Pakistan's nuclear tests in Balochistan. Travesty of justice on the cultural front is extreme.

For example one of the main brains behind the nuclear test, Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, has been made the head of the world's top multi-billion Reko Diq gold-and-copper project in Balochistan. The Baloch nomad's child, now exposed to nuclear radiation because of Mubarakmand's nuclear tests, remains malnourished and bare foot in the same area.

Violation of economic rights of Baloch people is also extreme. More than 95 percent of people in Balochistan still use cow dung and wood to cook their food while Balochistan natural gas is supplied hundreds of miles away to the Punjab.

Mr. Chairman,

Gwadar Port on the Straits of Hormuz is a jewel of Balochistan. But Islamabad has decided to hand over the operation of Gwadar Port to China and has also asked China to build a naval base there.

Death is a sentence for those observing the International Culture Day in Balochistan. Last year on March 2, Pakistan's I.S.I. allegedly launched a bomb attack on the Balochistan University of Engineering and Technology in Khuzdar as the Baloch Students Organization Azad was holding the International Day of Culture.

The attack killed two engineering students, Junaid Baloch and Sikander Baloch

Thank you Mr. Chairman

Part II full text:

Agdnce des Cites pour la Co operation Nord-Sud

Item 4 (General Debate)

Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention.

Intervention by Mehran Baluch

Thank you Madam Chairperson,

This year the world saw what is now called the Arab Spring, but my land Balochistan in southwest Asia is chained to a wintry night and bodies of human rights defenders, students, lawyers, editors, writers,journalists keep on being piled up and dumped in the rivers, valleys, playgrounds in violation of the Geneva Conventions as I speak.

Madam Chairperson,

This is the age of twitter, this is the age of Facebook and this is the age of WikiLieaks, and in this day and age Balochistan has earned itself the dubious distinction of being the wolrd capital for enforced disappearances.

The honorable Secretary Ban Ki Moon told the Press on Thursday, “In this age of anxiety, the world’s people look to us for answers and action.” This is exactly why I am here.

Madam Chairperson,

I like to draw your attention in July, a report by the Human Rights Watch called, “‘We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years,” documented scores of cases of enforced disappearances, in which the authorities took people into custody and then flatly denied any responsibility or any knowledge of their fate.

Balochistan chief minister, Nawab Aslam Raisani, had publicly admitted that intelligence personnel were responsible for the disappearance but that he can do nothing.

This is called the law of the jungle, where the state becomes the judge, jury and juror and the victims have no recourse to justice.

The Human Rights Watch reported the killing of at least 150 people across Balochistan since January in “kill and dump” operations.

Madam Chairperson,

According to the Amnesty International's Asia Pacific director Mr. Sam Zarif the atrocities in Balochistan are being carried out with flagrant impunity.” There are many cases where one brother was still missing in Balochistan and the second brother who was trying to win his freedom was also killed by the secret services.

One of the most dangerous trends is enforced disappearances and extra judicial killing of journalists. On September 10 Javed Naseer Rind, former deputy editor of Daily Tawar, was forcibly disappeared by Pakistan's intelligence services.

Lala Hameed Hayatan, Siddiq Eido and Ilyas Nazar were among well-known journalist foricbly disappeared and then killed in the last one year.

Madam Chairperson,

I regret to note Pakistan government has not taken any corrective steps to end the secret, dirty war in Balochistan in spite of urgent requests of the UN special rapporteurs.

I thank you Madam Chairperson.

Part III full text:

Agdnce des Cites pour la Co operation Nord-Sud

Item 9: Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

Intervention by Mehran Baluch

Thank you, Honorable Chairman,

Baluchistan’s civil society has been always been secular and I am proud of its diversity. Slavery did exist in parts of Baluchistan under British hegemony until 1935, when slavery was abolished, but racial integration has been part of Balochistan's story for national survival.

We are faced with what my people call quote unquote Red Indianization, which means the ruling class from Islamabad is treating the Baloch in the very same manner the Native Americans were once treated in America.

Our struggle for national survival Islamabad has always ridiculed the tribal and nomadic people of Balochistan. They blamed us for what they called our cultural backwardness.

Mr. Chairman,

Former Pakistan coup leader General Pervez Musharraf, when he was in power, on public record called Baloch leaders as pygmies. Pakistan problems today can be attributed to the fact that the powerful military generals, in their twisted world outlook, married the state with religion.

Pakistan is an Islamic republic where only a Muslim can become the head of state and head of government. Pakistan's attempt to use religion as state ideology miserably failed in Baluchistan.

Islamabad tried to create rifts within Balochistan society by attempting to declare the Zikris as non-Muslims for political reasons. However, by their national unity the secular people of Balochistan foiled these attempts to turn back the clock of history in Balochistan.

Mr. Chairman,

I regret to say Islamabad has undermined the peace and security of the peaceful Hindu population in Baluchistan . In 2005 when Dera Bugti, the traditional stronghold of the Bugti tribe, came under Pakistani military attack more than 70 Hindu Bugtis were massacred by aerial bombardment and mortar attacks.

Entire people of Balochistan declared the Hindu victims as shaheeds or martyrs. All this is quite uncommon in traditional Muslim societies.

I am saddened to note the climate of fear created by Pakistan forced 27 hindu families to flee to India.

Mr. Chairman,

Earlier this year, the abduction of Hindu high priest Maharaja Luckmi Chand Garji, who is 82 years old, from Kalat increased the sense of insecurity among the Hindu minority in Baluchistan.

I also like to report centuries old sacred places of the Hindus in Baluchistan are being bought out for pennies by the Pakistan Air Force to develop military installations. The huge tract of land totaling 170,000 acres is located in Lasbela in Baluchistan.

I thank you Mr. Chairman

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