Recently, Michael Martin, Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed grave concerns in written form raised by Paul Murphy, Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin South-West constituency, regarding Pakistan Army’s war crimes in Pak-occupied Balochistan.
During a Human Rights debate on January 30, 2024, in the lower house, Dáil Éireann, Deputy Paul Murphy brought up the urgent matter of ongoing war crimes in Pak-occupied Balochistan in a written inquiry. He mentioned in particular the enforced disappearances since 2000 of thousands of Baloch activists, including academics, physicians, lawyers, and students. Murphy’s investigation aimed to ascertain whether Ireland would oppose Pakistan’s conduct and explore options like applying sanctions to stop these violations.
Minister Martin responded by recognizing the intricate instability in Balochistan. Speaking of recent bilateral talks in Islamabad, he underlined Ireland’s continued engagement with Pakistan, saying, “Our discussions with the Pakistan establishment have been thorough, covering a wide range of political and human rights issues.”
The Minister explained Ireland’s stance on sanctions, emphasizing that although it does not apply sanctions on its own, it actively carries out UN and EU sanctions as part of an integrated policy strategy. He pledged to keep working to bring up human rights issues with Pakistan in multilateral and bilateral fora. The Minister also voiced concern about the recent escalation of regional hostilities, which could further destabilize the area and include airstrikes in Balochistan by Pakistan and Iran.
Furthermore, the minister also highlighted how Ireland’s foreign policy is based on a broader commitment to human rights. He described Ireland’s positive participation in the UN Human Rights Council, wherein it pushed Pakistan to amend its laws on blasphemy and institute an independent inquiry into enforced disappearances. The recommendations put forth are intended to tackle discrimination and guarantee responsibility for human rights violations.
The Minister also stated that, while an Irish embassy is being opened in Islamabad later this year, the Irish embassy in Türkiye, which is accredited to Pakistan, is monitoring the situation in Pakistan closely in close consultation with the EU Delegation.
The people of Pak-occupied Balochistan are battling against the atrocities and Baloch genocide committed by the Pak Army of daily home raids, disappearances, staged encounters, target killings, torture, humiliation at checkpoints, and kidnappings for ransom they have been subjected to since the Pakistan Army forcefully occupied their region on March 27, 1948. It is highly crucial that the international community stands in solidarity with the Baloch people and takes decisive action to address their grievances and ensure justice and freedom for all.