Press Release | May 6, 2014
Protest at State Department expressing support for abducted Zahid Baloch, hunger strike protester Latif Johar and other Baloch missing
On Monday, May 5 several members of the Baloch community and friends gathered in front of the US State Department, joining the international Baloch community in protest against the March 18 abduction of BSO Chairman Zahid Baloch by Pakistani security forces, and to express solidarity with BSO members (particularly Latif Johar), currently on hunger strike at the Press Club in Karachi.
Camp organizer Nabi Baloch urged the US Congress to stop providing aid to Pakistan, as its military continues to use funds to purchase weapons being used to systematically annihilate the Baloch. He cited recent news of action being taken by Pakistani military and security forces against the Baloch. Earlier today police used tear gas against Press Club demonstrators, and the paramilitary launched an offensive against civilians in the Mashkay region of Balochistan. Mr. Baloch also released a statement to Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki, demanding that the State Department and the United Nations hold Pakistan accountable for its violation of international human rights law.
Participant Asma Durani, daughter of the late Anwar Durani, declared her intent to “always support my Baloch brothers and sisters,” acknowledging the genocidal “kill and dump” operations which continue to afflict the Baloch. Protester Zahid Baloch called on the international community to “interfere,” by demanding the safe return of Chairman Baloch and the roughly 18,000 other Baloch victims of enforced disappearance, as well as a thorough investigation into the mass graves of disappeared Baloch, discovered in Khuzdar district earlier this year.
Letter submitted to State Department
May 5, 2014
United States Ambassador to Pakistan
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Ambassador Olson,
We, the Baloch American community, are peacefully assembling on the grounds of the State Department today in order to bring your urgent attention to human rights violations suffered by prominent Baloch leader Zahid Baloch. Mr. Baloch (aka Baloch Khan), is Chairman of the Baloch Student Organization (BSO-Azad). He was abducted by Pakistani security forces on March 18, 2014, in broad daylight and in the presence of witnesses. Mr. Baloch’s life is in imminent danger, and we fear that he may soon be a victim of Pakistan’s abhorrent “kill and dump” policy. Due to the total impunity with which authorities in Balochistan operate, the Baloch have received more than 1,000 barbarically mutilated bodies (within the last year), of their fellow civilians, “dumped” in desolate places as a final act of indignity and inhumanity. The dead (often shot in the head before being discarded), bear heinous signs of torture, including gouged eyeballs, missing fingernails, drill holes and shocks to the testicles.
Earlier this year, a mass grave containing 169 Baloch victims was discovered near Tutak, a rural area within the Khuzdar district of Balochistan. In addition, Pakistani security forces recently assassinated veteran TV anchor Hamid Mir, presumably for reporting on the historically significant Baloch march (from Karachi to Islamabad), an extended protest and grueling awareness raising effort led by Mama Qadir of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons.
The three most crucial international instruments (constituting the “magna carta” of humanity), namely the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, have all been ratified by Pakistan. Furthermore, the constitution of Pakistan pledges to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of its Baloch citizens. Nevertheless, the fact of Pakistan’s perpetual, gross violation of this “magna carta,” as well as the tenets of its own constitution,has been reliably attested to by Baloch citizens and by the media.
Today the Baloch American community also declares its solidarity with BSO-Azad member Latif Johar, who has been on a hunger strike since April 22, in protest of Zahid Baloch’s enforced disappearance. Mr. Johar’s health is deteriorating rapidly, however he bravely risks death in order to gain the attention of the United Nations, NATO, the United States and any other nation appropriately outraged by these unconscionable atrocities. We make our appeal to you in accordance with the international prohibition against systematic genocide, and respectfully urge you to take immediate action on behalf of the Baloch nation.
CC: Ms. Jen Pasaki Department Spokesperson
Mr. James Dobbins, Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan