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Balochistan in its struggle for freedom

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Re: Balochistan in its struggle for freedom

Post  Admin on Sat 01 Oct 2016, 11:54 pm

Balochistan becomes cemetery for journalists as Pakistan targets intellectuals
Dozens of Baloch journalists, intellectuals, educationists and poets have been disappeared, abducted, or simply killed
Friday, September 30, 2016 - 13:54
 
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By Ahmar Mustikhan

Dozens of Baloch journalists, intellectuals, educationists and poets have become victims of enforced disappearances and fallen prey to the Pakistan state’s kill and dump policy in the last six years, or simply shot dead.  
The recent case in point is that of a prominent intellectual Wahid Baloch, editor of the Balochi language magazine Balochi Labzank and in-charge of the world’s best Balochi language library Sayad Hashmi Reference Library in Malir, Karachi. Wahid Baloch was forcibly abducted by the Pakistani intelligence personnel on July 26 2016 without any charge. Nothing is known about his whereabouts as yet. 
The Amnesty International issued an alert on his abduction rather swiftly saying Wahid Baloch “is at grave risk of ill-treatment, torture, or even death. Scores of other activists who have been forcibly disappeared in Karachi and the neighbouring province of Balochistan have suffered similar fates in recent years.” Human Rights Watch executive director Ken Roth tweeted the man fought against disappearances but became a victim himself.
“His love for Balochi language and literature was legendary. His close circle of friends say he was not only a voracious reader but also a keen collector of books and knew of every single second-hand book shop where, for example, a Kafka could be secured for a bargain,” says Nasir Abbas, former editor Dawn. While in London as a BBC producer, Abbas wrote an article wrote an article appealing to the powers-that-be to spare the Baloch scholar.
Mindful of the extreme torture he is facing in a Gestapo-style dungeon, Wahid Baloch’s daughter Hani Baloch wrote, “I imagine you are in pain. I'd give anything for your safe recovery. If I can find you, I will never let you go again.” Her impassioned appeal fell on the deaf ears of the Pakistan secret services. Imtiaz Baloch, a friend of Wahid Baloch, who is now a Canadian citizen notes “For years, Wahid Baloch has been pushing the limits of the ringmaster’s patience. No other factor seems to be attached to his kidnapping except for his decades of work on Balochi literature and his tireless campaigning against enforced disappearances by the Pakistan army.” 
Five years ago Professor Saba Dashtiyari, founder of the Sayad Hashmi Reference library, was gunned down as he was a vocal advocate for Balochistan’s right to freedom. Last year, the Deep State –Pakistani intelligence services plus military establishment-- gunned down Karachi liberal intellectual Sabeen Mahmud, after she defied the “angels” or ISI orders not to host a talk about the victims of enforced disappearances in Balochistan. Her killing took place even while guests were still at the venue of the talk, the Second Floor.
Quetta journalist Muhammad Akbar Notezai, writes in The Diplomat that according to the Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ), “Balochistan has become a cemetery for journalists.” Two years ago Irshad Mastoi, general secretary of the BUJ, was gunned down at his office in Quetta, along with a trainee reporter Abdul Rasool Khajak and accountant Mohammad Younus. On the day of his death, Mastoi who sympathized with the Balochistan liberation struggle, had posted comments against two politicians, the cleric Tahirul Qadri and cricketer-turned-politician, Imran Khan. Mastoi hinted at the bullying by intelligence services when he said “some institutions consider the media as a resistance group.”
More than three dozen journalists fell prey to Pakistan's cloak-and-dagger games. Prominent among those who were killed and their bodies dumped are Ilyas Nazar, editor of Balochi language Darwanth magazine; Haji Abdul Razzak Baloch and Javed Naseer Rind of Daily Tawar; Razzaq Gul of Daily Express. Even foreign journalists are not spared. "It's a complete nightmare," UK journalist Willem Marx, author of Balochistan at Crossroads, said about the state of press freedom there. "Foreign journalists will simply get deported for reporting on Baluchistan. It's much more of a mortal risk to local journalists." Marx, who was denied visa to go Pakistan because of his book, is right. 
International correspondent Declan Walsh, of Irish descent, wrote in The Guardian about Pakistan’s kill and dump policy in France-sized Balochistan: “The bodies surface quietly, like corks bobbing up in the dark. They come in twos and threes, a few times a week, dumped on desolate mountains or empty city roads, bearing the scars of great cruelty. Arms and legs are snapped; faces are bruised and swollen. Flesh is sliced with knives or punctured with drills; genitals are singed with electric prods. In some cases the bodies are unrecognisable, sprinkled with lime or chewed by wild animals. All have a gunshot wound in the head.” 
Since truth is death sentence for any rogue, terrorist state, Declan Walsh was subsequently expelled from Pakistan and is still an undesirable person there. British journalist Carlotta Gall, daughter of famous Scottish journalist the late Sandy Gall and reporter for The New York Times, was beaten up by the Pakistani “angels” while she was in Quetta, Balochistan. She wrote in her paper about the incident. “One agent punched me twice in the face and head and knocked me to the floor. I was left with bruises on my arms, temple and cheekbone, swelling on my eye and a sprained knee…. All the people I interviewed were subsequently visited by intelligence agents, and local journalists who helped me were later questioned by Pakistan's intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence.” Since then Gall has written an interesting book The Wrong Enemy, in which “Her evidence that Pakistan fuelled the Taliban and protected Osama bin Laden is revelatory.”
Baloch educationists have fallen prey to terrorist outfits that enjoy ISI blessings. One prominent case is that of US-educated Zahid Askani, who left the comforts of America, to launch  co-education school in Gwadar. C. Christine Fair, associate professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, who is doing research work on Balochistan as well, was threatened by the Pakistan intelligence services that she will be raped by an entire regiment for exposing the army grandiose, war mongering strategies. “Their tools are crude and include: outright threats; slanderous articles in Pakistani papers and other on-line forums; an army of trolls on twitter and other social media who hound us; and embassy officials who attend and report on our speaking events on Pakistan. But we are lucky to be in the United States: Pakistan’s khaki louts disappear, kidnap and/or kill their critics within Pakistan,” she wrote in the Huffing Post. Former Pakistan ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani author of Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military and his spouse Farahnaz Ispahani, author of Purifying the Land of the Pure: Pakistan’s Religious Minorities are unwelcome in Pakistan simply because of their intellectual efforts to curtail the powers of the Deep State.
(Ahmar Mustikhan is a senior Baloch journalist and founder of the American Friends of Balochistan in Washington DC.)
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Re: Balochistan in its struggle for freedom

Post  Admin on Mon 05 Sep 2016, 8:47 pm

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/balochistan-to-inform-international-community-about-alleged-indian-interference/article9075124.ece
Balochistan to inform international community of Indian interference
  B. MURALIDHAR REDDY
diplomacy
India-Pakistan
international relations
Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri on Sunday made it known in the State capital Quetta that parliamentarians from the province would visit ‘friendly countries' to inform them and international community about the interference of neighbouring countries in Balochistan.

A Quetta datelined report carried by the Pakistan state run news agency-Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) on Monday quoted the Balochistan Chief Minister as saying that an open letter would also be sent to the United Nations Secretary-General on the subject.

Islamabad has been vigorously protesting against New Delhi on the issue of Balochistan ever since the Prime Minister Narendra Modi weaved into his Independence Day speech the issues of Pak-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit and alleged human rights violations by the Pakistani forces in the Balochistan Province.

Prior to this, no Indian Prime Minister had spoken on the issues related to PoK Kashmir/Gilgit and Balochistan during the Independence Day Speech.

"When you look at things from the scale of human values and humanity, when innocent school children were massacred in Peshawar, Indian Parliament wept, every school in India shed tears at this tragedy. On the other hand we have a situation where some people glorify terrorists in our country," the Prime Minister had commented.

The APP quoted Mr. Zehri as saying that some insurgents had been using the Baloch youth as the “fuel for their so-called freedom fight”. “He said several mis-guided youth had joined the national mainstream after leaving mountains. However, some elements were sill talking about the so-called freedom in order to mint money.

No one, he said, would be allowed to enforce his stance and philosophy on gunpoint. The security situation had already been improved to satisfactory level in Balochistan”, the APP reported.

'We are not afraid of India'

It quoted the Balochistan Chief Minister as stating the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cleared the situation that as to who was behind the unrest in Balochistan.

“We are not afraid of India. All the nefarious designs of enemies will be foiled at any cost,” the APP reported.

It quoted the CM as saying that a significant improvment had been witnessed in law and order situation, he said, adding that according to police record some 40 to 50 persons were reported to be missing, most of them were living in Afghanistan and Dubai.

“He said with the completion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and making Gwadar Port completely functional would boost local and national economy, besides bringing an economic revolution in the region”, the agency reported.

Days before (August 27) Nawaz Sharif while announcing his decision to dispatch 22 parliamentarians to highlight the issue of Kashmir had said, “We will also remind the United Nations its long-held promise of self-determination to the Kashmiri people”.

“We will also make it clear to India that it was India that approached the UN several decades back on Kashmir dispute but now it is not fulfilling its promise,” the Pakistan premier had said.

On the move of Mr. Sharif to send his parliamentarians, the External Affairs Spokesperson had said, "Sending out 22 envoys is not going to make untenable claims legal. They should have sent just one envoy with the right message to right country of putting an end to cross-border terrorism".

The spokesperson said that a part of J&K was illegally occupied by Pakistan and was a concern for India. "The ground reality is that part of J&K is under illegal occupation of Pakistan. Any third party collaboration will be our concern," Vikas Swarup said.

In its petition to the U.N. Secretary-General, Islamabad had termed called Mr. Modi's remarks on Balochistan and PoK as unwarranted and in complete contravention of the U.N. charter and reasoned that the remarks were aimed at diverting the world attention from the ongoing atrocities in the Kashmir Valley.
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Re: Balochistan in its struggle for freedom

Post  Admin on Mon 05 Sep 2016, 12:37 pm

10 things you must know about the Balochistan conflict
By Gayathri G Published: 28th August 2016 10:42 AM Last Updated: 28th August 2016 10:53 AM
 
http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/10-things-you-must-know-about-the-Balochistan-conflict/2016/08/28/article3601116.ece1
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned the human rights violation in Balochistan in his Independence Day speech, he was perceived to have done the unthinkable. Breaking the taboo of non-interference in internal affairs of other countries, India set the ball rolling, leaving Pakistan scurrying to save its face on the global stage. Here’s a breakdown of things you ought to know about the issue:

1. Roots

The Balochistan province -- home to the Baloch ethno-linguistic group found mostly in Pak, Iran and Afghanistan -- was divided into four princely states, which were forcefully acceded to Pakistan. Expectedly, the Balochs feel suppressed and exploited under the dominant Punjabis and therefore demand greater autonomy and an independent nation-state.

2. Ethnicity before religion

Baloch people are ethnically, culturally and socially different from the rest of Pakistan. The Balochistan nationalism movement propagates the view that Muslims are not a nation (the opposite of the concept behind the creation of Pakistan) and that ethnic loyalty must surpass religious loyalty, therefore demanding a distinct nation.

3. Repeated insurgencies

Insurgencies by Baloch nationalists have been fought by Pak in 1948, 1958–59, 1962–63 and 1973–77 – with an ongoing and reportedly stronger and broader insurgency beginning in 2003, owing to the growing instability at the federal level and neighbouring Afghanistan.

The Balochistan Liberation Army, designated as a terrorist organisation by Pakistan, is the most widely-known Baloch separatist group which has waged guerrilla war against Pakistan and Iran

4. Balochistan is half of Pakistan!

Balochistan covers about 44% of Pakistan -- leaving the country in half, should it split. 
Being the largest of the 4 provinces in Pakistan, Balochistan houses 1.3 crore people – which is a mere 7% of the total population. Most of the inhabitants are Baloch; other communities include Pashtuns and Brahuis.

5. Rich, yet poor

The province is extremely strategic, sharing borders with Punjab, Sindh, Afghanistan and Iran. It is rich in oil, gas, copper and gold, making it economically significant to Pakistan. Despite being rich in natural resources, it is the most backward region in Pakistan.

6. Pakistani Atrocities

Pakistani security forces are accused of illegally detaining 19,000 men, women and children in Balochistan, many of whom have been raped and killed.

In 2008 alone, an estimated 1102 Baloch people disappeared. An increasing number of bodies with burn marks, broken limbs, nails pulled out, and sometimes with holes drilled in their heads are being found on roads as the result of a "kill and dump" campaign conducted by Pakistani security forces, particularly Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Frontier Corps (FC) – which, until the 9/11 Trade Centre attacks, had sided with the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda

7. Role of RAW

Pakistan has been accusing India of running terrorist activities as well as helping Baloch nationalists. Weeks back, when a terrorist attack killed over 50 people in Quetta, Balochistan, the Pakistani Chief Minister blamed RAW (Research and Analysis Wing), the foreign intelligence agency of India. Pakistan could never produce any substantial proof against India.

8. Balochistan welcomes India’s tough stand

Various Baloch nationalist organisations in Balochistan as well as those based in USA and Europe have welcomed Modi’s unexpected support. With not a single country coming forward to support, despite the community’s incessant plea for humanitarian help, he is the first Prime Minister in the world to have spoken of the Baloch and their sufferings. Thus, it is a great breakthrough.

9. Effect on Indo-Pak Ties

Modi’s talk on Balochistan was a new low to the bilateral ties. Pakistan is expectedly furious after India hit it where it hurts the most; with its media warning Baloch people not to take India’s support. It is of the view that India was trying to divert global attention from the alleged tragedies in Kashmir.

India stayed away from making comments on internal matters of Pakistan as it gave it a moral high ground at the international level, despite Pakistan repeatedly stoking the Kashmir issue. However, the high ground hasn’t been particularly beneficial.

10. Role of international actors

IRAQ: In February 1973, Pakistani raided the Iraqi embassy in Islamabad, seizing a large cache of small arms, ammunition and grenades believed to be destined for Baloch rebels. Pakistan blamed it on India, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Soviet Union in a letter to the then US President Nixon.

US: Both Pak and Iran have repeatedly claimed that US sided with and encouraged the Baloch nationalists. In 2011, the Balochistan conflict became the focus of dialogue on a new US South Asia strategy brought up by some US congressmen
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Balochistan in its struggle for freedom

Post  Admin on Thu 25 Aug 2016, 6:21 pm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3536469/CLOSED-CIRCLE-India-stand-Balochistan-cause-deserving-support.html
CLOSED CIRCLE: India must stand by Balochistan in its struggle for freedom

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3536469/CLOSED-CIRCLE-India-stand-Balochistan-cause-deserving-support.html#ixzz4ILsNsTtN 
Activists fighting for a cause, especially one that has a lot of popular emotion attached to it, are usually loud and shrill when holding forth in public.
They tend to be belligerent and turn excessively aggressive if their views are contradicted. 
In a sense, loud speech, belligerence, and aggression are necessary for effective activism. After all, if an activist is an easy pushover, then his or her cause cannot be worth fighting for. 
Pakistani soldiers in Balochistan: The Baloch were, and remain, a fiercely independent people
+2
Pakistani soldiers in Balochistan: The Baloch were, and remain, a fiercely independent people
At the same time, needlessly pushy activism can put people off and make them indifferent to causes that could be perfectly legitimate and deserving of support.
Hence listening to Prof Naela Quadri Baloch at a recent discussion on Balochistan organised by the Observer Research Foundation came as a pleasant surprise. 
She was soft-spoken yet firm, persuasive yet polite. She presented her case, or rather the case for a free Balochistan, without recourse to either maudlin sentiments or theatrical hyperbole.
Much of the story of Balochistan is uncluttered and uncontested, provided we do not pay undue attention and attach unwarranted credibility to Pakistan’s claims. 
In 1947, when British colonial rule came to an end in the Indian subcontinent, 535 princely states were given the option of either acceding to India or Pakistan through merger of territory, or remaining free and independent. 
The Khan of Kalat, which comprised nearly all of Balochistan barring three minor principalities, was not too eager to accede to Pakistan. 
A member of the Pakistan Navy at the Gwadar port in  Balochistan Province
+2
A member of the Pakistan Navy at the Gwadar port in Balochistan Province
The Baloch were, and remain, a fiercely independent people, with their own cultural and social identity, along with a land endowed with natural resources. 
That early impulse for freedom became the root cause of Balochistan’s subsequent misery. 
Since its violent Caesarian birth, assisted by a scalpel-wielding Britain, on August 14, 1947, Pakistan has been as deceitful as its Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah was during his brief and bitter life as the ruler of a moth-eaten country, one half of which fell off the map in 1971. 
Jinnah the barrister helped the Khan of Kalat to prepare his brief for independence and a Standstill Agreement in the interim. 
Jinnah the smash-and-grab politician paved the path for Kalat’s annexation by Pakistan on March 27, 1948. 
Thus was Balochistan forcibly converted into a province of Pakistan, against the wishes of the Baloch and their Khan. 
Balochistan’s struggle against Pakistani rule and Islamabad’s ‘One Unit’ policy has been relentless since the annexation of Kalat. 
Brutal repression by the Pakistani Army has failed to break the spirit of resistance. Beginning with 1948-49, it has been a horrific campaign to put down dissent and silence the voice of freedom. 
There are several similarities between the Pakistani Army committing hideous crimes in Bangladesh (what was then East Pakistan) and Balochistan. 
Mass killings, the rape of women, laying human habitations to waste, targeted assassinations - Bangladesh saw it all during its Liberation War of 1971. And Balochistan continues to witness these horrors. 
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General Tikka Khan, nicknamed the ‘Butcher of Bangladesh’, had the dubious distinction of also being called the ‘Butcher of Balochistan’ for the bloody campaign he led from 1973 to 1977. 
But for all the sorrow, grief and misery heaped on the people of Balochistan, they have risen again. The freedom movement, relaunched in 2004, continues unabated. 
Divided by the Goldsmith Line of 1871, Balochistan is split between Pakistani and Iranian occupation, with some bits spilling into Afghanistan on account of the flawed Durand Line. 
Britain understood the strategic importance of Balochistan and played its game accordingly to keep the Russians out. 
Today, both Pakistan and Iran are leveraging that strategic importance to further their own economic and security interests. 
India’s position on Balochistan has been, at best, ambivalent. Notwithstanding the arrest of an Indian national (Pakistan claims he is a “R&AW agent” and was arrested on its side of the Goldsmith Line; there are credible claims he was arrested by the Iranians and handed over to the ISI) it would be silly to imagine a grand Indian conspiracy in action. New Delhi has long been incapable of doing what Mrs Indira Gandhi did in 1970-71. 
Yet there is a case for an Indian policy on Balochistan. India did play a major role in propping up the Northern Alliance so as not to concede all ground to the Taliban and its mentor, Pakistan, in Afghanistan. 
A hands-off approach, therefore, is lacking in precedence, even if we were to discount India’s proactive role in the liberation of Bangladesh from the tyranny of Pakistan. The issue is what should be that policy. 
Investing in Chabahar port that lies on the Iranian side of Balochistan cannot be a policy in entirety. At best it will partially countervail China’s captive port at Gwadar on the Pakistani side of Balochistan. That’s one pawn moved. 
What next? One possible option is for India to declare moral and diplomatic support for the freedom movement in Balochistan, while calling for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. 
That would require gumption. Indeed, it would need the political courage of Mrs Gandhi coupled with popular support for a righteous cause that India believes in. 
Great nations and rising powers have to be risk-takers. The inevitable backlash of supporting Balochistan’s liberation war will no doubt be huge. But if Mrs Gandhi, prime minister of an impoverished nation, could turn up her nose at what the world thought, surely Narendra Modi, prime minister of the fastest growing economy, can do likewise.
A successful Balochistan policy premised on India’s historical association with just causes would also lead to the forging of a successful Pakistan policy. Is the government game? 
The writer is a political commentator
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3536469/CLOSED-CIRCLE-India-stand-Balochistan-cause-deserving-support.html#ixzz4ILsYKnWF
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