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UN Says Thousands Of Pakistani Militants In Afghanistan

More than 6,000 Pakistani insurgents are hiding in Afghanistan, a fresh UN report says.

The report released earlier this week said most of the militants belonged to the outlawed Pakistani Talibani group that is responsible for attacks on Pakistani military and civilian targets.

According to the report, the group, known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), has linked up with the Afghan-based affiliate of the Islamic State extremist group. Some TTP members have even joined the IS affiliate, which has its headquarters in eastern Afghanistan.

The Afghan government did not respond on July 26 to requests by the AP news agency for comment.

The report was prepared by the UN analytical and sanctions monitoring team, which tracks terrorist groups around the world.

The report said IS in Afghanistan, known as IS in Khorasan Province, has suffered losses as a result of being targeted by Afghan security forces as well as U.S. and NATO forces, and even on occasion by the Afghan Taliban.

The report estimated that the membership of IS in Afghanistan is 2,200, and while its leadership has been depleted, IS still counts among its leaders a Syrian national, Abu Said Mohammad al-Khorasani.

The report also said the monitoring team had received information that two senior Islamic State commanders, Abu Qutaibah and Abu Hajar al-Iraqi, had recently arrived in Afghanistan from the Middle East.

“Although in territorial retreat, [the Islamic State[ remains capable of carrying out high-profile attacks in various parts of the country, including Kabul. It also aims to attract Taliban fighters who oppose the agreement with the United States,” the report said, referring to a U.S. peace deal signed with the Taliban in February.

That deal was struck to allow the U.S. to end its 19-year involvement in Afghanistan, and calls on the Taliban to guarantee its territory will not be used by terrorist groups. The deal is also expected to guarantee the Taliban’s all-out participation in the fight against IS.

The second and perhaps most critical part of the agreement calls for talks between the Taliban and Kabul’s political leadership.

Late on July 25, the U.S. State Department issued a statement saying its peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, was again shuttling through the region seeking to jump start those negotiations, which have been repeatedly postponed as both sides squabble over a prisoner release program.

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8 Civilians Killed in Pakistani Mortar Attack on Kunar: Officials

Afghan military personnel were also killed in the attacks, said the officials, adding that several Afghan forces checkpoints were also destroyed in the attack.

Local officials in Kunar have said that the firefight between Afghan and Pakistani forces broke out after Pakistani forces tried to establish new check posts inside the Afghan territory.

“Pakistani military forces came in a helicopter and they wanted to create checkpoints, so our security forces did not allow this and then clashes broke out,” said Din Mohammad Safai, a member of Kunar’s provincial council.

“We will not abandon this area up until the lost drop of our blood and we will defend our motherland,” said Ibrahim, an officer of the Afghan Border Forces.

“Bullets came and took the life of my son,” said Zahirullah, a resident in Kunar.

Five months back, similar clashes broke out in the same area between Afghan and Pakistani forces.

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Truckers Cite Corruption, Distress At Pakistan-Afghanistan Border

KHYBER PASS, Pakistan – Truckers hauling cargo from Pakistan into Afghanistan though the main border crossing between the two countries have complained of bribes, long delays, and harassment by police and transport union officials.

In interviews with Radio Mashaal, several Pakistani and Afghan truck drivers say that going through the Torkham border crossing connecting northeastern Pakistan with eastern Afghanistan in the historic Khyber Pass is now an obstacle course that frequently results in stress and a loss of both business and time.

Muhammad Iqbal Afridi is one among the hundreds of drivers who frequently cross at Torkham as part of the more than 1,800-kilometer journey from the southern Pakistani seaport city of Karachi to the Afghan capital, Kabul. He says they are tormented by a recent government decision that forces truckers to make a stop at a terminal in Bara, some 50 kilometers from Torkham. Bara and Torkham are towns in the western Khyber district, which is named after the historic Khyber Pass, a historic trade route and invasion path.

Afridi has been waiting at Bara’s Akkakhel terminal for more than two weeks for the authorities to allow him to take his haul of sugar, flour, and cement into Afghanistan.

“Everyone is forced to wait endlessly,” he told Radio Mashaal. “There is nowhere for us to sleep or rest in the scorching heat. We are just forced to try to survive in the shadow of our trucks.”

Muhammad Gul, an Afghan trucker, has been waiting for three weeks. With his container truck of rice, Gul reached Bara on June 18. He frequently wipes the sweat from his face, visibly agitated about the delays in crossing into Afghanistan.

“How can we protect ourselves from the coronavirus when we don’t have soap or water? It is very difficult to stay away from others in this crammed space where we stay for days or weeks,” he told Radio Mashaal. “Truckers who pay bribes are allowed to go through. Our rights are being violated. Someone needs to sort this mess out.”

Traders in the region say cumbersome border protocols have reduced the number of trucks crossing daily from 800 earlier this year to around 200. This has also resulted in decreasing custom revenues for Islamabad, according to reports in the Pakistani media.

But officials in Khyber district deny they are harassing truckers or forcing them to make bribes. Mazhar Afridi, a senior police official in Khyber, says that based on an understanding with Afghan officials they are allowing only 200 trucks to pass through Torkham daily.

“If presented with evidence, we will prosecute any police officers, transport union officials, or truckers who are involved in giving or taking bribes,” he told Radio Mashaal, alluding to a recent directive by the head of police in Khyber district.

Torkham is the largest of several border crossings along the more than 2,500-kilometer Durand Line, the 19th-century demarcation that forms the border between the two restive neighbors. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Islamabad closed its border with Afghanistan in March. But by late June, Pakistani officials said they had reopened three major border crossings with Afghanistan.

Meanwhile in Chaman, a border crossing connecting Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan Province with southern Afghanistan, traders and activists are protesting border restrictions. Their monthlong sit-in protest demands the complete reopening of the border to restore hassle-free trade with Afghanistan, which is the mainstay of the economy in the arid region.

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Despite Protests And Promises, Pakistani Regions Denied Internet Access

As the Internet emerged as the backbone of global communications during the coronavirus pandemic, activists and students in some remote Pakistani regions braved beatings and arrests to protest a lack of Internet access during lockdown.

But online and street protests, court cases, and resolutions in the parliament have all so far failed to prompt Pakistan to grant Internet access to millions in regions reeling from decades of conflict, poverty, and underdevelopment.

In the latest development, the provincial legislature in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province this week adopted a unanimous resolution calling on the federal authorities to “provide Internet on an emergency basis” to parts of the province that once served as the key theater in the global war on terrorism.

“In the 21st century, districts from Bajaur to South Waziristan are deprived of 3G and 4G networks or any Internet connectivity,” lawmaker Mir Kalam Wazir told Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s provincial assembly on July 6. Bajaur and South Waziristan are at the northern and southern ends, respectively, of the 600-kilometer strip that previously formed the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along Pakistan’s western border with Afghanistan. “This is a major issue for us,” he added.

Since March, students across FATA have protested the lack of Internet access since the coronavirus pandemic forced universities to shut down campuses and instead rely on online classes. Late last month police in Quetta, capital of the restive southwestern Balochistan Province, arrested some 100 students who rallied to demand Internet access. In the mountainous northwestern region of Gilgit-Baltistan, which borders China, students protested this week with the same demand.

While Islamabad has promised Internet access to these regions, senior officials say a lack of funding and infrastructure prevents them from successfully bridging the widening digital divide where many rural areas have little or no Internet access.

Islamabad has mobilized some public and private resources to build the infrastructure, but senior officials have yet to say why tens of millions of Pakistanis still cannot access the Internet despite education and many businesses depending on connectivity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Pakistani state often cites security reasons for denying the basic right of the Internet, which is linked to accessing the right to freedom of expression and the right to information,” Usama Khilji, the director of Bolo Bhi, an Internet freedom and advocacy watchdog, told RFE/RL’s Gandhara website. “This narrative must be challenged, as millions of Pakistanis are being denied the basic linked rights of education and access to critical health-related information, as well.”

Khilji says Islamabad has announced access for a few districts of former FATA. “But matters for most other tribal districts, Balochistan, and Gilgit-Baltistan remain outstanding,” he said. “There has been radio silence on this issue, which is unacceptable.”

Authorities have never explained how exactly access to the Internet endangers or threatens security, but Khilji says there is little evidence that depriving entire communities of the Internet somehow protects them.

“Instead of shutting or denying the Internet, they should go after the militant groups, some of whom are regrouping in the tribal areas,” he said, alluding to increasing violence in former FATA, where tens of thousands of civilians were killed and millions displaced during a decade of unrest following the emergence of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in the years following the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

In April, a court in Islamabad ordered the government to restore Internet to former FATA. But the country’s supreme court later set aside the order. The country told the court that the Interior Ministry had suspended Internet access to former FATA due to security concerns, according to reports in the local media.

Amin ul Haque, Pakistan’s information technology minister, says some 35 percent of Pakistan’s nearly 800,000-square-kilometer territory lacks Internet infrastructure. “There is an urban and rural divide,” he told Diplomat magazine. “Most private companies invest in urban towns for commercial reasons and benefits. They refrain from investing in rural and far[-flung] areas.”

In April, the Universal Service Fund, an entity established by the government and funded by mobile operators, awarded a contract of more than $550,000 to establish broadband infrastructure in Kurram, one of the former FATA districts.

Earlier this month, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, the main telecom regulator, told a parliamentary committee in the Senate or upper house of the Pakistani Parliament that authorities were adding some 4,900 new landline Internet connections to the existing 9,000 in former FATA. With a population of more than 6 million, a few thousand connections, mostly limited to government offices, cannot meet the rising demand for Internet in the vast region.

In Balochistan, nine of its 32 districts have no Internet access. The vast province bordering Iran and Afghanistan has been reeling from a separatist insurgency for more than two decades, and tens of thousands of civilians have been killed in militant attacks and military operations.

Gilgit-Baltistan, home to some of the tallest mountains in the world and bordering China and the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir with India, also lacks digital infrastructure. “I have to walk kilometers daily to attend my classes,” Rasheed Kamil, a student from the region, wrote on Twitter. Students in the region have been trending #Internet4GilgitBaltistan this month to demand Internet connectivity.

With 78 million broadband and 76 million mobile Internet (3/4G) connections, Pakistan’s Internet access rate stands at around 35 percent for a population of more than 220 million. It ranks 76th out of 100 worldwide, according to the Inclusive Internet Index 2019.

Students from Janikhel, a town in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas, protest to demand internet access on April 10

SEE ALSO:

Pakistani Court Orders Internet Access For Pashtun Students During Coronavirus Lockdown

Bolo Bhi and Digital Rights Foundation, two Pakistani organizations advocating that Internet access be recognized as a fundamental right, have warned of the dangers of a widening digital divide in the country.

“During these times, the digital divide will exasperate the existing structural inequalities in society as services and resources will concentrate among the already connected, leaving behind those who are most vulnerable to economic and social upheaval,” they warned in a March statement.

The protests across the country since then show that many Pakistanis are increasingly mobilizing and organizing to demand what they view as a basic right and fundamental necessity of the modern age.

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اٹھارہویں آئین ترمیم سے چھیڑ چھاڑ کا مطلب وفاق پر حملہ ہوگا، زرداری

آئین، جمہوریت اور پارلیمنٹ کی بالادستی کے اصولوں پر ثابت قدم ہے، اس پر کوئی سمجھوتہ یا سودے بازی نہیں ہو سکتی، یوم سیاہ کے موقع پربیان
اسلام آباد(این این آئی) سابق صدر پاکستان آصف علی زرداری نے5جولائی یوم سیاہ کے موقع پر مادر جمہوریت بیگم نصرت بھٹو، شہید جمہوریت محترمہ بینظیر بھٹو سمیت ان تمام سیاسی کارکنوں ، طالب علموں، مزدوروں اور صحافیوں کو خراج عقیدت اور خراج تحسین پیش کیا ہے جنہوں نے 1973ء کے آئین اور جمہوریت کی بحالی کیلئے شہادتیں قبول کیں، کوڑے کھائے، جبر اور تشدد برداشت کیا۔ ایک بیان میں سابق صدر نے کہا کہ کچھ لوگ آئین کی اٹھارہویں ترمیم کو ختم کرنے کے خواب دیکھ رہے ہیں، وہ لوگ ذہن نشین کر لیں کہ اٹھارہویں آئینی ترمیم ملک کی تمام اکائیوں کا وفاق سے ایک معاہدہ ہے، اٹھارہویں آئین ترمیم سے چھیڑ چھاڑ کا مطلب وفاق پر حملہ ہوگا۔ سابق صدر نے اپنے اس عزم کو دہرایا کہ آئین، جمہوریت اور پارلیمنٹ کی بالادستی کے اصولوں پر ثابت قدم ہے۔ اس پر کوئی سمجھوتہ یا سودے بازی نہیں ہو سکتی۔ آصف علی زرداری نے کہا کہ جمہوریت قوم کو تحفے کے طور پر نہیں ملی بلکہ اس کے لئے محترمہ بینظیر بھٹو شہید سمیت ہزاروں کارکنوں کو جان کا نذرانہ دینا پڑا۔ انہوںنے کہاکہ جسمانی تشدد برداشت کرنا پڑا اور زندگی کے سنہری دن قید خانوں کی نظر ہوگئے۔ سابق صدر نے کہا کہ آمریت جہاں ملکی آزادی اور قومی خودداری کو نقصان پہنچاتی ہو تو وہاں معاشرے کو بھی اندھیروں کی طرف دھکیل دیتی ہے۔ آصف علی زرداری نے کہا کہ جمہوریت ملک کے عزت و وقار کا تحفظ کرتی ہے اور معاشرے کومہذب بناتی ہے اور صبر اور برداشت کا کلچر پروان چڑھتا ہے۔ سابق صدر نے کہا کہ پاکستان پیپلزپارٹی کی قیادت اور کارکن جمہوریت کے تحفظ کے لئے کسی بھی قربانی سے گریز نہ کرنے کا حوصلہ رکھتی ہے۔ آصف علی زرداری نے کہا کہ 1973ء کا آئین انسانی آزادی کے ساتھ ساتھ وفاق کی تمام اکائیوں کی خودمختاری کی ضمانت دیتا ہے۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ پارلیمنٹ ہی سپریم ادارہ ہے جس کی تعظیم کرنا تمام اداروں کا آئینی فرض ہے۔

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My Baba Will Come – Mehlab Deen Baloch

Author: Mehlab Deen Baloch

Iwant to escape from all of what I have around me, from my home, from friends and from my birth place and also I want to escape from this world. I want to escape from my home because I cannot bear the pain my family is experiencing on daily basis. I cannot see my Mom’s sorrowful eyes nor do I have enough courage to tolerate the heart wrenching feelings of my elder sister Sammi. It is heart breaking when I see my elder brother he is also helpless in doing something for our consolation.

I want to escape Balochistan because I do not have a heart to see people who are desperately waiting for their loved ones. Children of Balochistan, instead of living their childhood peacefully and playing with toys, are chanting slogans for the release of their disappeared family members. Almost every child of Balochistan is Sammi waiting for Deen Mohammad, Every mother is Khadija waiting for Zakir Majeed, Every sister is Seema Baloch Waiting for Shabeer. I want to escape the land which has been blood bathing from innocent blood. Killers of humanity have complete immunity here, they can kill mother of Bramsh before her eyes and they can stab to death Kulsoom freely. No one is here to stop this brutality nor anyone pays heed to missing persons’ grievances. The families are roaming city to city to register their protest, but their never-ending struggle does not seems to bear any fruit.

I have spent my childhood in these worries. At a time when my age fellows were playing with their toys, I was recording protest and knocking every door of justice for the safe recovery of my BaBa. 11 long years have passed, but I and my family are still in a distressful situation, the situation in which we are spending our lives, is with us from June 28, 2009 when we heard the devastating news of abduction of my Father.

I recall those days when we had a happy family with my father among us. My father was a medical officer in district Khuzdar. He used to come to Mashkai, our home town, after every 4 months. I was not even able to wait those 4 to 5 hours when my father would tell us he was leaving for Mashkai. Baba always brought me toys. We used to protest to our father that we cannot wait for 4 long months. At that time we were living at Nali Mashkai. Nali is a beautiful place surrounded by date palms. Mashkai River glows across the village. On the southern side of the village there is an Army camp. The security personnel always used to interrogate my Baba where he was and why he always goes out of Mashkai. Despite knowing the fact that Baba was a medical doctor and his posting was in Khuzdar, the security personnel always used to torture us and my father by asking irrelevant questions.

When Baba was with us, all our relatives used to be so nice to us. They used to come to our home to visit us and always asked us if we needed their favor. But when BaBa went missing, all their artificial love also faded down.

But the person who to this day is raising us through all these difficulties is my mother. My mother has given us the reason to live. She has motivated us for searching and struggling for my Father. She put all her efforts for educating us. She gave us courage to go out and struggle for missing Baloch people.

My mother also spent her childhood in difficult conditions like baloch of that time did. She used to go a long way for bringing water for household use. She wanted to study in schools but there were no schools available for girls at that time. Because of not having school facilities, my mother did not study in schools. But after marrying my Father, Dr Deen Mohammed, my mother had learnt so much from him. It was my father’s company that made my mother strong enough even after his abduction my mother fought all difficulties alone. After my father’s abduction, my mother is all for us. I even cannot imagine how much my mother has faced difficulties for us. In front of us she pretends to be brave, but we know that there is a limit of patience. Perhaps sorrow can be hidden for one or two days, but it is not possible to hide it for 11 years.

Now we are passive toward each other’s feelings, because we are out of words, there are no words for our consolation. Distress of my father’s disappearance is unbearable, but we are still living with it. I still hope my father will come one day, this hope is the reason I am still alive. All courts and human rights groups have disappointed me. But I will never give up the hope of getting justice.

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Pakistan Still Seen As ‘Safe Haven’ For Regional Militant Groups

A U.S. government report has noted that despite some counterterrorism measures, Pakistan still remains a sanctuary for Islamist militant groups focused on attacks inside its South Asian neighbors.

Pakistan remained a safe harbor for other regionally focused terrorist groups,” noted the U.S. State Department’s Annual Country Report on Terrorism 2019, which was released on June 24.

“It allowed groups targeting Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban and affiliated HQN [Haqqani network], as well as groups targeting India, including LeT [Lashkar-e Tayyiba] its affiliated front organizations, and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), to operate from its territory,” the report added.

Islamabad, however, rejected the findings. “We are disappointed,” said a June 25 statement by the Pakistani Foreign Affairs Ministry. “[The report] is self-contradictory and selective in its characterization of Pakistan’s efforts for countering terrorism and terrorist financing.”

The U.S. report noted that despite committing to “ensure that no armed militias are allowed to function in the country,” under its counterterrorism National Action Plan, Islamabad has done little to prevent LeT, JeM, and the Haqqani network, the Afghan Taliban’s most dangerous militant wing, from operating from its territory.

“The government and military acted inconsistently with respect to terrorist safe havens throughout the country,” the report said. “Authorities did not take sufficient action to stop certain terrorist groups and individuals from openly operating in the country.”

The report said that Islamabad failed to act against known terrorists. “JeM founder and UN-designated terrorist Masood Azhar and 2008 Mumbai attack ‘project manager’ Sajid Mir, both of whom are believed to remain free in Pakistan,” it noted.

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4000 Days Of Protest: What Did Balochistan Achieve?

The Voice for Baloch Missing Persons’ historical protest reached a 4000-day hallmark on 25 June. To mark this seemingly unreachable milestone, The Balochistan Post has decided to publish a 3-part report to retrace its background, recount its development and analyze its achievements. This is the Part-I of the endeavour that will attempt to provide the historical background of the VBMP’s 11-year long protest and survey the underlying causes that led to it.

Since the “forceful annexation” in March 1948, Balochistan has been subjected to interminable inhumane suppression. Against the wishes of its inhabitants, Pakistani state has been blamed to use Balochistan as launchpad for its proxy wars in the region, as an ownerless land to execute its nuclear tests, as a geostrategic site to bolster its rosy illusions of a soaring economy and has treated it like a Cockaigne meant to be plundered. The mineral-rich Balochistan has been feeding impecunious Pakistan for decades now – through Coal, Marble, Iron, Copper, Gold, and Natural Gas. But critics argue that Pakistan has reciprocated for millions of dollars’ worth of resources only through cruelty and negligence. This unappreciative response of the Pakistani state has stimulated five episodes of insurgency that have led to the loss of thousands of lives and have morphed Balochistan into a terrible bloodbath. Thousands of sons of the Baloch soil have been killed and dumped into mass graves or thrown away at deserted locations. The sole breadwinners of countless other Baloch families have been abducted and are kept in confinement to this day.

These outrageous circumstances led to the creation of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, a rights organisation campaigning to cease the enforced disappearances in Balochistan and for the recovery of the already missing persons.

Formally, the VBMP was founded in October 2009, but its affiliates had been vocalizing against the human rights abuses since 2000, when Ali Asghar Bangulzai, a tailor by profession, was temporarily detained by the paramilitary forces. He was released after a 14-day confinement but was again abducted in 2001 in Quetta; 19 years later, his condition and whereabouts remain unknown. This incident prompted Bangulzai’s nephew, Nasrullah Baloch, to raise voices against enforced disappearances in Balochistan.

Mama Qadeer Baloch and family members of missing persons in the protest camp.

In 2009, Zakir Majeed, a student-leader and the then General Secretary of Baloch Student Organization Azad, was abducted from Mastung. His sister Farzana Majeed and his mother have been protesting for his safe recovery ever since, but to no avail. After 11 years, Majeed is nowhere to be seen or heard.

Jalil Ahmad Rekhi, the then Information Secretary of Baloch Republican Party and son of Mama Qadeer Baloch, was abducted in 2009 from Quetta. Along with a few other suffering families, Qadeer organized a protest in Quetta to question the unjustified abduction of his son and to make the cries of the victimized families heard. The intelligence services of Pakistan – ISI and MI – sent word to Qadeer through Samad Badini, son of the former Senator Waleem Muhammad Badini, demanding 2 million rupees in ransom for the release of Jalil Rekhi. When Qadeer refused, the intelligence agency stooped to threats – either to abandon the protestor to receive the dead body of his son. Qadeer refused and resultantly, Rekhi’s disfigured, bruised, tortured and cauterized body was found near Iran border in 2011.

These three incidents compelled Nasrullah Baloch, Mama Qadeer Baloch and Farzana Majeed – the most active voices of the VBMP – to initiate a peaceful protest against enforced disappearances and for the retrieval of the Baloch missing persons in 2009. A makeshift tent was pitched in front of the Quetta Press Club that stands to this day and shelters the families of the Baloch missing persons. That day, the ulterior resistance against state atrocities transformed into an open peaceful protest.

An indefinite protest was employed as a last resort. Despite the warnings from United Nations’ fact-finding missions, requests and recommendations from international and national human rights organizations, disapproval of the USA and European parliamentarians and incessant taunts by its archrival India, Pakistan did not take any long-term measure to curb the enforced disappearances.

Talking to a conference in Islamabad after a 10-day long mission to Pakistan in 2012, the UN delegation confirmed that thousands of persons are missing from Balochistan. The UN officials said that enforced disappearances cannot be allowed in any circumstances. “According to the 1992 Declaration for Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearances, no circumstances whatsoever, whether a threat of war, a state of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked to justify enforced disappearances,” the delegation said. Pakistan’s culpability was exposed when the country’s top institutions – the Supreme Court and the Military Establishment – refused to meet the fact-finding mission. Instead of taking heed of the UN’s recommendations and resolving the aforesaid issues, the Pakistani politicians criticized their visit, citing that their presence was the “violation of the country’s sovereignty.”

Time and again, the Amnesty International has condemned the enforced disappearances in Balochistan and requested the government to take immediate action. In countless reports and press releases, the UK-based human rights organization has recommended amendments in the belligerent policies of the Pakistani state in Balochistan and recommended amendments in the military strategies. So far, almost none of their recommendations has materialized.

The Human Rights Watch termed the enforced disappearances in Balochistan of ‘Epidemic proportions’ in 2011 and urged the government to take the necessary measures to curb the disappearances. HRW conceded that the Pakistani paramilitary forces and the intelligence agencies are selectively hunting down the alleged separatists and militants based solely on ‘suspicion.’ The New York-based rights organization had conducted interviews with almost a hundred families of the missing persons and the victims. Afterwards, it termed enforced disappearances as a ‘distinctive feature’ of Balochistan and concluded that paramilitary forces are the perpetrators.

World powers have expressed similar concerns on the inhumane conditions in Balochistan. A 2010 US State Department alleged that Pakistan abducts ‘suspected separatists’ from Balochistan, confines them, tortures them and eventually kills them. The report said that there has been ‘little progress’ on the human rights abuses in Balochistan. Members of the European Parliament also raised the issue in an article and said that people of Balochistan are victims of violence and “are being systematically targeted by paramilitary groups, allegedly sponsored by the Pakistani authorities.”

Mother of a missing person during one of countless protests VBMP has organised

In an all-party meeting in Delhi, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed Balochistan’s plight and said that Pakistan “shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Baluchistan.” In the 33rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Modi raised the issue of human rights abuses in Balochistan and said that: “The people of Balochistan, amongst other provinces, have been waging for decades a bitter and brave struggle against their daily abuse and torture.” The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai endorsed India’s stance on Balochistan and said that violence is encouraged in Balochistan by state-structures. Karzai said they the victims’ concerns need to “addressed and aired.”

Despite all these warnings by the UN, USA, European Parliamentarians and Human Rights Organizations, thr state has continued its ceaseless atrocities in Balochistan. Among these circumstances, a few people resolved to create an organization to attract international attention and put forth the plight of Baloch people before a global audience. Thus, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons was founded in 2009, and four years later, in 2013, it carried out a historical march from Quetta to Islamabad.

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