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UK "must intervene" to prevent Pakistan's persecution of Baloch people

Campaigners call for Pakistan to cease its economic pillaging and human rights abuses in Balochistan.

By MARCO GIANNANGELI, Defence and Diplomatic Editor

March 14, 2024

Credits @FFHR.CZ

RISHI Sunak must hold Pakistan to account for its prosecution of the Baloch people, MPs have said.

It follows a conference hosted by the Baloch National Movement (BNM), which revealed details of Pakistan’s extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, fake encounters and military operations against the Baloch people.

The conference marked the start of the BNM’s three-day campaign aimed at garnering global attention to the Balochistan issue during the 55th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Speaking at the Geneva Press Club John Macdonnell MP -a fervent campaigner for Baloch rights - shed light on the mounting evidence of systematic violence at the hands of the Pakistani army.

Pleading for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to intervene, the Hayes and Harlington MP detailed the students, lawyers, journalists, and human right activists are subject to sheer torture stressing Pakistan’s infamous ‘Kill and Dump’ policy.

Speaking recently on the subject, Mr McDonnell said: “Enforced disappearances of Baloch political activists, students and teachers has almost become the norm now. Dead bodies of the forcibly abducted are constantly being found as a result of these extrajudicial murders.”

Closing relations between Pakistan and China have also played a role.

“Balochistan’s vast natural resources—natural gas and minerals—have made it a region of strategic importance, yet its inhabitants face significant economic challenges, including extensive poverty," he said.

“The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or the CPEC, is a flagship project that has raised concerns about the potential displacement of local communities and about the lack of transparency on the distribution of the benefits of these projects.”

This was supported in Geneva by Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa, senior fellow at the department of war studies, King’s College, London.

Speaking last night she said Pakistan was treating Balochistan in the same way that it had treated Bangladesh - by looting its resources in return for violence and terror.

“Balochistan is resource-rich, and has Asia’s largest mine in Saindak, which produces mainly copper. It is a magnet for investment, mainly by China but also the US, which is also vying to create mega projects.

“But the Baloch people gain very little from this. Balochistan was promised 7% from the China-Pakistan Economic corridor, which is worth £20bn. They have received just £150m.

“More than 70% of Pakistan’s exports come from eastern Pakistan, but less than 30% of its imports go there.

"With only a sham democracy, the security apparatus knows who will rule and ensures it is the right person."

Those who oppose the system are “disappeared”, she added.

"There has been a change over the 15 years. Now, those who voice opposition include middle class professionals - educated men and women such as engineers and even doctors," she said.

“Pakistan has a huge problem the it comes to Kill & Dump - troublesome people just disappear - and Balochistan is no exception,

“These stark human rights violations must stop.”

Balochistan is divided among three countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. It is Pakistan's largest province, and accounts for 7 million people.


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