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London: Baloch organisations hold joint campaign against enforced disappearances

The World Baloch Organization (WBO) and the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) have jointly launched a human rights awareness campaign in London.

The groups aim to highlight the “dire human rights situation in Pakistan,” particularly the human rights abuses faced by the ethnic Baloch, Sindhi, Pashtun, Mohajir and religious minorities in the country through the campaign.

The campaign will focus on the issue of enforced disappearances in Pakistan, where thousands have been forcibly abducted by Pakistan’s military and its intelligence agencies. While most are extra-judicially killed and their bodies dumped on roadsides bearing signs of extreme torture, the groups claimed.

Amnesty International has termed it the “Kill and dump” policy. Victims include activists, teachers, students, doctors, intellectuals and journalists who have voiced their opinions against the military’s iron grip over the country. The military’s control over the local media is such that anyone reporting such incidents risks is targeted as well, the activists said, adding that international NGO’s and journalists are not given access to Balochistan where most of the cases of disappearances have been registered.

In the first phase of the campaign, bikes with advertisement reading- “Help end enforced disappearances in Pakistan” rode around the London city.

Bhawal Mengal, a representative of the WBO said, “The advertisements seeks to enthral the attention of people living in London and foreign tourists alike towards the dire situation. We hope the international community stands up for our rights and pressures the Pakistani establishment into putting an end to the inhumane practice.”

The president of the BRP, who is a leading figure in the movement and a co-organiser of the event said, “We have no choice but to raise our voices at international forums regarding the situation, activists that have tried to speak up for their rights in Balochistan have either been killed or have disappeared. It is up to the international community to decide if they want to stay silent over the killings of innocents on a daily basis or speak up and end this carnage.”

Pakistan’s establishment has been long criticized over its practice of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings by international bodies and local human rights organisations that dare to speak out on the issue. Before being elected as Prime Minister, Imran Khan had admitted in multiple TV interviews the involvement of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies in enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. He vowed to resign if he was unable to put an end to the practice, holding those involved responsible.

The organisers of the campaign have long been engaged in efforts to highlight the worsening human rights situation in Balochistan at international platforms, organising events around Europe and in the United States, along with focusing on advocacy activities in the European Parliament, the US parliamentary houses, and the United Nations.

Source: Business Standard

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