Pakistan delaying visa to AFAD team to Visit Balochistan to meet families of missing person. By Ahmar Mustikhan
WASHINGTON, DC: June 27, 2010. (PCP) Pakistan is dragging its feet on issuing visa to the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances [AFAD] to go to Pakistan and meet with family members of the victims in Balochistan and elsewhere.
This was stated Saturday evening by Mary Aileen D. Bacalso, secretary-general of of the AFAD, at the Lafayette Park in front of the White House where the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International held its annual camp in solidarity with the torture victims around the world to mark the international day against torture.
Scores of human rights activists from different ethnic and national background attended the TASSC International camp that began at 7 am and ended at 7 pm.
According to Demissie Abebe, excutive director of the TASSC International as many as 138 nations practice torture against its own citizens.
"We have time and again applied for visas, but our applications were refused on one ground or another," Bacalso said. She said next week she was going to Geneva to meet with Jeremy Sarkin, U.N. chief rapporteur on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances.
The pro-independence American Friends of Balochistan has convyed to Mr. Sarkin already the gravity of the situation and has requested him to send a fact finding mission to Balochistan, which has one of the world's largest number of enforced and involuntary disappearances.
A reponse from Mr. Sarkin and the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances [WGEID] office that he heads in Geneva is still awaited.
Balochistan-based influential Anjuman Ittehad Marri has released a list of more than 1,000 victims of enforced and involuntary disappearances and Baloch nationalists say more than 8,000 Baloch freedom activists were abducted by the secret services during an ongoing military operation in Balochistan that has left several thousand dead.
Texas-sized Balochistan was not a part of Pakistan but was annexed at gunpoint in March 1948 more than seven months after the British left the subcontinent divided between India and Pakistan.
Earlier, a representative of the American Friends of Balochistan told the TASSC International camp participants about the tragedy that has befallen the families of victims of enforced and involuntary disappearances. He regretted that many Americans have not heard about Balochistan whose statehood was messed up by the British colonialist in the last century just like that of Kurdistan further to the West.
"Zakir Majeed's mother is going on hunger strike from one city to another, but the authorities are not ltelling her where her son is and whether he is aliveor dead," the A.F.B. worker said. "Ehsan Arjemandi, Dr. Deen Mohammad, Jalil Reki, Sangath Sana Baloch are just a few names in the list of 1.000 enforced and involuntarily disappeared persons in Balochistan," he said.
The the Nazi-style method of torture against the Baloch include pulling of nails, breaking of teeth, cuts on private parts, waterboarding, sleep deprivation, hanging from the feet and burning with cigarette butts.
The A.F.B. also collected signatures on a postcard that calls for cutting off of arms supplies to the rogue army of Pakistan for its human rights violations in Balochistan.
The Baloch community inside and overseas organized protest marches, demonstrations and meetings in Quetta and Karachi in Pakistan, and also Oslo, Norway, and Stockholm, Sweden, to mark the international day against torture.
In all these events the single demand voiced was liberation of Balochistan which Baloch patriots say is the only way to end human rights buses in Balochistan.
Meanwhile, the Baloch Human Rights Council of Canada said it is starting a signature campaign on Zakir Majeed specifically and thousands of disappeared Baloch in general, beginning on July 1, 2010, which happens to be Canada Day.
"We have been invited by the local government councillor to put up a stall on Balochistan along with other nations. We will launch our campaign on Zakir Majeed from this stall on Canada Day and continue it for a month," said Dr. Zaffar Baloch, president of the BHRC. "All the signatures will be sent to members of parliament, human rights bodies, and U.N.
The B.H.R.C. in London also wrote a letter to U.N.'s Ban-ki Moon informing the secretary general whereabouts of thousands of Baloch civilians in Pakistan are still unknown. "Pakistani government officials accepted more then 1,000 missing person themselves last year and we genuinely believe that their lives are in grave danger. Abductions of students, doctors, teachers, journalists and human rights activists are going on a daily basis in Balochistan," said Samad Baloch, general secretary of the B.H.R.C.
"The Chief Minister of Balochistan [Nawab Aslam Raisani], the Governor of Balochistan [Nawab Zulfikar Magsi], the Prime Minister of Pakistan [Yusuf Raza Gillani] and the President of Pakistan [Asif Ali Zardari] have admitted the worsening human rights situation in Balochistan and have shown their helplessness against Pakistani army and its notorious Inter Services Intelligence (I.S.I.) and Military Intelligence (M.I.) agencies."
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