Coptic Christians, Baloch face same enemy: report in DC says
The Voice of Copts, the premier oragnization of Coptic Christians in the United States ,organized an event at the U.S. capitol on Thursday that brought together leading lights of United States from different background.
U.S. writers Sarah N. Stern and Kenneth Timmerman moderated the event. Those who spoke at the event included Pamela Geller, Tawfik Hamid, Faith McDonnell, Jordan Sekulow, Robert Spencer, Ali Ayami and Nazir Bhatti.
The American Friends of Balochistan presented a report on the Human Rights Situiaton in Balochistan, both Iran and Pakistan occupied parts of the Texas-sized territory, to Dottore Architetto Ashraf Ramelah - Voice of the Copts' Founder and president .
Following is the text of the full report:
Thanks from the bottom of my heart to Ashraf Ramelah and Voice of Copts for this excellent gathering to commemorate the signing of the Universal declaration of Human rights 62 years ago.
This day has a special reverence for the Baloch because they are stateless and are facing enforced disappearances, extra judicial killings and torture at the hands of not just one, but two Islamic republics --Pakistan and Iran.
The Copts in Egypt are facing the same challenges arising out an anti-human mindset that Baloch in Pakistan and Iran are facing. This mindset is based upon bigotry, religious chauvinism, racism, anti-semitism and is basically anti-human.
Whether it is the video of the young Coptic Christian being burnt to death and his father stabbed to death, or the badly tortured and mutilated bodies of more than 50 Baloch patriots dumped in Pakistan, or the twin Towers coming donw in New York on 911 we are faced with a dangerous enemy of humankind be they Taliban, Al Qaida, Hezbollah, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi or Pakistan military – fourth largest in the world and one armed with nuclear weapons.
My talk is based primarily on a report prepared by the International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, United Kingdom. Here in Washington DC sometimes people use the intellectual properties of others without their knowledge or permission. This has happened to me in the past.
The Baloch are a secular people in southwest Asia. Their number is guesstimated at 20 million, though many Western publications have minimized that number to 12 million. Their homeland is named after them and is called Balochistan, or the land of the Baloch.
Majority of Americans have not heard the name Balochistan. Some who have heard the name mispronounce it as if the “ch” in its spelling sounds like K. It actually sounds like Ch in China.
Baloch people has been in a struggle to become masters of their own destiny for the last hundred and seventy years and facing brutal repression. Texas-sized Balochistan is mainly divided between Pakistan and Iran. The area under Pakistani army occupation is slightly bigger than New Mexico. The area under Iranian mullahs is the size of Nevada. The situation in the two places is grave from both a human rights and humanitarian perspective.
Hundreds of the Baloch have been publicly hanged after summary trials in Western Balochistan both under the Reza Shah Pehlavi and the dark forces of the past, the dreaded Ayatollahs. In Pakistani or Eastern Balochistan, thousands have died in five military operations, tens of thousands have became homeless in their occupied homeland, and thousands Baloch have been forcibly disappeared by the security agencies. The fate of at least 1,100 documented these missing persons is still unknown. In the last several weeks we have seen a rise in the kill and dump policy in Eastern or Pakistani occupied Balochistan. Their mutilated bodies have been found in desolate areas with bullet wounds to the head, in some cases with ears cut and in an other case “Long Live Pakistan” engraved in the flesh of the victim by the Pakistan military tormentors. In a recent case on Muslim Christmas, the badly tortured body of Hameed Hayatan, a 25 year old journalist from gwadar was found and in his pocket was a chit from Pakistan's Military Intelligence that read “present to the people of Balochistan.”
But how did we come to this situation?
The Baloch nightmare began when the Baloch state of Khanate of Kalat was militarily occupied by the British on 13 November 1839. Following their colonial policy of divide and rule, the British divided Balochistan into three parts under the ‘Goldsmith Line’ agreement in 1871 and Durand Line agreement of 1893.
Western Balochistan was handed over to the Qajar Dynasty of Persia, twhich is today called Iran. Eastern Balochistan was controlled directly by White Hall, the symbol of one of the world's oldest democracy called Great Britain, and a chunk of the Northern region of Balochistan was given to Afghanistan.
The history of abduction, imprisonment, massive internal displacement and enforced disappearances in western Balochistan can be traced back to the Qajar and Pehlavi periods. In brutal military campaigns beginning from 1920s thousands of the Baloch people bore the brunt of the inhuman brutalities. Thousands were killed, many were forced to leave their homeland and many went missing, traceless. Since the Mullah takeover of Iran in 1979, within two years the Islamic regime of Ayatollahs managed to wipe out almost all politically and intellectually conscious sections of Baloch society. Arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, torture, executions and enforced dispperances became the order of the day. or are still missing. Hundreds of families were forced to flee and seek sanctuary overseas.
Political persecution of Baloch people in Iran remains unmitigated.
A simple comparative statistical data of state violence in Western Balochistan can clearly illustrate the scale of Islamic regime’s brutality against the Baloch people. During the period of 2004 to 2009 the Islamic regime of Iran executed about 1,481 persons, out of the total population of 75 million, according to an Amnesty International annual report on Death Sentences and Executions.
In the same period the number of Baloch people killed by the Islamic regime forces is about 800 persons out of a population of about three million Baloch people (Balochistan Human Rights Activists Association). That figure indicates that majority or 55 percent of people being killed by Islamic regime of Iran during the 2004 to 2009 period were Baloch. As such, Western occupied Balochistan had the highest concentration of death penalties in the world during the five-year period that ended in 2009.
Let alone any revolt, the Islamic regime of Iran even does not tolerate Baloch social activists who try to work under the country's existing laws.
You guys will be surprised but the first blogger ever to be executed in the world was a Baloch.
Mr. Yaghub Mehrnehad, a young Baloch journalist whose activities were within the legal framework f the Islamic Republic of Iran, was the first Web blogger journalist in the world to be executed in August 2008 by Islamic regime of Iran.
Eastern Balochistan, or the part that forms more than 43 percent of the land mass of Pakistan today was declared its independence on August 12, two days before the formal withdrawal of the British from India and the partition of Indian subcontinent. However, eight months later on 27 March 1948 the Pakistan invaded and forcibly occupied the Baloch state. The 60 plus years of occupation of Balochistan by Pakistan has been the most devastating period in the entire history of Balochistan.
Pakistani state has carried out five major military operations in Balochistan in 1948, 1958, 1962, 1973-77 and the latest on has been ongoing for at least five years now.
Tens of thousands of the Baloch from Marri and Bugti tribes were forced to leave their homes. Majority of these tribesmen are still internally displaced and some of them took refuge in neighboring countries. During this military operation launched under the orders of coup leader general Pervez Musharraf,
Pakistani interior minister Aftab Sherpao, in December 2005 had acknowledged tat least 4,000 Baloch political and social activists were whisked away, traceless.
The Asian Human Rights Commission, in its report on 5 March 2010, said the victims of enforced disappearances include 168 children and 148 women. Baloch sources’ estimate of the number of extra judicial abductions and missing Baloch people by Pakistani secret agencies has numbered about 8,000 persons in the last five years.
From the year 2006 onwards, Pakistani state security agencies have also launched a systematic campaign of target killing of the Baloch political leaders, Baloch intellectuals and students. In August 2006 the Pakistani army targeted and killed the 79-year-old Baloch statesman Nawab Akbar Bugti. Bugti had never lost any elections in his life.
Bugti was once the governor and later the chief minister of Balochistan. He was killed along with unspecified number of his companions by aerial bombardment conducted through U.S. supplied weapons.
My question is have you ever heard Pakistan forces conducting any such aerial bombardments on bin Laden hideouts. In fact, not a single such operation has ever been conducted by the Pakistan military to apprehend the dreaded terrorist while the secular forces of Balochistan are being targeted to pave the way for Talibanization of Balochistan.
Three prominent political leaders Baloch National Movement president Ghulam Mohammed Baloch, his deputy Lala Munir Baloch, and Baloch Republican Party joint secretary Sher Mohammed Baloch were abducted by Pakistani agencies from their lawyer’s office on 3 April 2009.
Their mutilated bodies were found on the outskirts of Turbat on 8 April 2009.
Pakistani secret agencies abducted, the joint secretary of Baloch National Movement Rasool Bux Mengal, on 23 August 2009. His body was found hanging from a tree on 30 August 2009 in Bela of Lasbela district. On his body his torturers had carved with knives; ‘Long Live Pakistan’.
Jan Muhammad Dashti, a well known Baloch intellectual and editor of Asaap newspaper, survived an assassination attempt on 23 February 2009.
In July 2010, Habib Jalib, the General Secretary of Balochistan National Party and Haji Liaguat Ali Mengal who belonged to the same party were assassinated by death squads of the Pakistani army. Yet another leader Noordin Mengal was killed in the same away.
Since August 2010, the Pakistani intelligence agencies have killed more than 50 Baloch political and social activists and then dumped their bodies.
Among the victims are three lawyers of the Balochistan High Court. Zaman Khan Marri and renowned columnist and poet, Ali Sher Kurd, who was also a lawyers. were abducted during August and September. The mutilated bodies, with bullet wounds to their heads, were later dumped by the Military Intelligence, while Munir Mirwani is still missing.
The role of Pakistani army in the killings and abduction of Baloch activists has been highlighted by the Amnesty International in its report on 25 October 2010 on Balochistan. Since the of publication of this report the Pakistani state and its security agencies have increased enforced disappearances, abduction, arbitrary arrests, torture, kill-and-dump operations at an alarming proportion in Balochistan.
There are cases where one brother has been forcibly disappeared and the second brother who tries to secure his release by creating public awarness is killed by the security forces.
Mujeeb Baloch, unit secretary of Baloch Students Organization Azad was abducted from Balochistan University on September 1, 2009 while his brother Yaseen Mohammed Shahi, who was running from pillar to post for the release of his brother was shot dead in Kalat town on October 10.
Asim Karim Baloch was a student of Multan Polytechnic College and a member of B.S.O .Azad. The teenager Asim Karim before being abducted by Pakistani security forces addressed a press conference against the abduction of his brother Tariq Karim Baloch who had been abducted on 26 October 2010.
Asim Karim Baloch's body was found in Khanozai area on 1 November 2010.
Pakistan's policy of kill-and-dump is premeditated, organized and systematic and is tantamount to violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Pakistan is a signatory.
On December 1st 2010, the Pakistani forces assaulted the house of a Baloch notable, Mir Ayub Gichki. They demolished the house by excessive bombardment and killed two of his sons and three other Baloch youth in the broad day light and in front of area notables. The crime of these young people was only one and that was they were very active in the Baloch resistance struggle. The were the cream of the secular movement as they represent the politically most active and socially conscious section of the Baloch socio-political setup.
The treatment of the Baloch under the Islamic republics of Pakistan and Iran is not much different from other nations who had experienced similar forceful occupation. First time in hisotry, it was the evil genius of of the villain of history Adolph Hitler had announced Night and Fog Decree that saw the enforced disappearance of thousands of partisans in Europeans nations who wanted an end to Gemran occupation of their homeland.
However, the irony is that the State Department in the U.S. and Whitehall in U.K. are keeping a blind eye on the systemic annihilation of a whole nation. It is high time for these organizations to raise an effective voice against these inhuman atrocities being perpetuated.
It is high time for the international community to assist the Baloch in their just struggle for basic human rights which include the right to live with honor, dignity and independence.
Thousands of the Baloch intellectuals, political workers, students and Baloch leaders were imprisoned, tortured and killed extrajudicially.
Here in in this building part of the U.S. Capitol, Pakistan military chiefs are like Hollywood celebrities. I must stress Pakistan military is the closest ally of China. They simply use military supplies from the West, including the U.S., for their personal gain. In the interests of U.S. arms manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, Pakistan military leadership is projected as a U.S. ally.
Bashir Ahmad Baloch, a member of BSO-Azad, was abducted during the last week of August 2010 from Mastung district and his bullet riddled body bearing torture marks was found on 17 November 2010 in Mastung town.
Asmatullah Baloch, a member of BSO-Azad from Mastung was abducted by personnel of Pakistani paramilitary forces on 22 September and his body was discovered 17 November 2010. Nasrullah Baloch was abducted from Kalat in September 2010 and his body was recovered from Kapotho area of Kalat on the second day of Eid or Muslim Christmas.
Lala Hameed Hayatan was a member of Gwadar Press club and an active member of Balochistan National Movement. He was abducted on 23 October 2010 and his body was discovered on 18 November 2010 in Kech Kaur near Hiruk area of Turbat. Pakistani agencies left a message in his pocket that reads: ‘Eid present for the Baloch Nation’. The date Lala Hammed body was found was on the second day after one of Islamic Eids (a celebration day). On the same day the body of Hamid Ismail Baloch was found in the same area.
Asmatullah Sarparah Baloch, a member of BSO-Azad and a student of Balochistan University was abducted by Pakistani security services on 22 September 2010 and his mutilated body was recovered on 17 November 2010. Basheer Ahmad Lehri Baloch, a tailor and member of BSO-Azad, was abducted from Mastung Bazaar on 23 August 2010. His body was recovered on 17 November 2010. Zahoor Baloch was also abducted by Pakistani intelligence agencies from Maustung Bazaar on 23 August 2010 and his body was found in Mastung on 21 October 2010.
Dr. Rahmat Hosseinbor (survived assassination attempt 1980),
Amin Naroee, a 16 year old student, was killed during the attack of the Islamic revolutionary guards on a peaceful students’ demonstration in Sarawan (1980)
Rahim Zard-kohi killed in a clash with Islamic guards (1980)
Ali Reza Rahmani (Arshad), one of very few Baloch educated engineers, was executed (1981), Mohammed Ebrahim Ashkan another engineer who was the head of Pishin water reservoir construction was executed in Chabahar (1981)
Cheragh Mohammadi, a high school teacher was executed (1981)
Abdul Rahim Raisi, a student of Balochistan University executed (1981) Mohamed Gul Regi, another student of Balochistan University was killed in Zahedan prison (1981)
A teenage political activist, Khosro Mobarki, was executed (1981)
Abdul Samad Hosainzahi, a teacher was executed in Zahedan (1981)
Shafi Mohammad Zeluldini executed (1981)
Akhardad Sopahi and Dr. Sadigh Didawar were killed in their homes by the Islamic revolutionary guards (1981).
2. http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2010statements/2395/ (Asian Human Rights Commission)
4. www.bygwaah.com (Official website of the International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons)
5. www.bhrw.blogspot.com (Balochistan Human Rights Activists Association)
Report Compiled by: International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (UK) – November 2010