Baloch United Front sets deadline for Pak Army to meet Baloch Long March protesters’ demands

Baloch United Front Calls for UN Investigation into Human Rights Violations
Press Conference (Photo - Social Media)

Islamabad : On 28 Dec, leaders of the Baloch United Front (BUF) held a press conference at their protest camp in front of the Press Club in Islamabad. They condemned the Pakistan Army’s use of force against the Baloch Long March, which has been ongoing for the past week. The march began in response to the extrajudicial killing of Balach Mola Bakhsh by the Pak Army.

The BUF leaders said that the Army has used violence, baton charges, water cannons, jail, humiliation, and other means to try to sabotage the march. They pointed to the attacks on Baloch women and children, the arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances of hundreds of Baloch students and youth who had gathered to welcome the long march participants, and the harassment of women who were sleeping at night.

Baloch United Front Calls

The BUF leaders stated that, when these tactics failed to halt the march, the Army resorted to employing journalists disguised as officials to torment the participants. They mentioned that many of these journalists were dispatched with the intent of crafting a false narrative about the long march participants. Furthermore, the Army exerted pressure on the families of victims of enforced disappearances and other political activists to propagate their narrative, aiming to divert attention from terrorism, murder, and enforced disappearances.

The BUF leaders emphasized that the Army’s sincerity and commitment to negotiations are questionable. On one hand, it claims to be willing to negotiate with the protesters to address the issues, while on the other hand, it persists in arresting, kidnapping, detaining, torturing, and harassing protesters. They highlighted the misleading information presented to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, noting that two days ago, the Islamabad Police falsely reported that all the students had been released.

Protesters Demand Rights

The BUF leaders said that the families of victims of enforced disappearances, people who have been subjected to Army repression, and political activists have come to Islamabad from thousands of miles away in search of justice. However, they stated that the Army’s behavior has been anything but that of an army dealing with its citizens. Instead, it has been the behavior of a master dealing with its slaves.

The BUF leaders stated that they have given the Army a seven-day ultimatum to negotiate on the following demands:

  • A fact-finding mission, led by the United Nations Working Group on Human Rights, should be dispatched to Pak-occupied-Balochistan to investigate human rights violations.
  • A treaty aimed at ending enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Pak-occupied-Balochistan should be signed in the presence of the United Nations Working Group.
  • All Baloch individuals who have been forcibly disappeared, especially those whose families are involved in the protest, should be released immediately.
  • The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), the agency responsible for extrajudicial killings in Pak-occupied-Balochistan, should be banned, and death squads operated by the Army should be disbanded. A written statement to this effect should be issued.
  • The Army should acknowledge its involvement in the killing of forcibly disappeared individuals in fake encounters. In this regard, a letter of confession should be issued by the Ministry of Interior, and a press conference should be conducted, including the names of all the victims.
  • Additionally, all fake First Information Reports (FIRs) filed against peaceful protesters should be withdrawn.

Baloch Families Seek Justice

The BUF leaders have stated that if the Army does not engage in serious negotiations on these demands and persists on behaving as it has over the past week, the BUF will express its disappointment to the Army’s institutions and present its case to the Baloch people. The people will then make a decision.

The BUF leaders emphasized that the Army has one week to demonstrate to the Baloch people its sincerity in ending the genocide of the Baloch population. All forms of human rights abuses and illegal actions, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and other forms of repression, must be halted immediately. If the Army is unwilling to change its colonial mindset, then the decision will rest with the Baloch people’s court.

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