No Outrage Against Atrocities in Balochistan

When will the international community express outrage against the atrocities in Balochistan and wake up to help confront this tragedy?

baloch outrage

Credit: The Federalist

Hundreds of people belonging to right-wing political and religious parties took to the streets in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad to condemn the Indian atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir but remained silent over the worst human rights violations in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province.

Kashmir Solidarity Day rallies began in Islamabad with banners and hoardings calling for freedom and chanting slogans in favor of jihad. In Islamabad, over two hundred thousand people staged a sit-in in front of Pakistan’s national assembly and chanted slogans against Indian security forces.

While another separate demonstration was led by religious scholar Maulana Sami ul Haq, who heads a committee set up by Taliban militants for peace talks with the government to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

The conflict in Balochistan is not that different from the Kashmir dispute. The atrocities in Balochistan are worse than Indian atrocities in Kashmir or Israeli atrocities in Palestine, but those are vehemently condemned in Pakistan. The media and international community pay almost no attention to the atrocities and injustices perpetrated against the people of Balochistan.

Where is the outrage?

In previous months, the discovery of mass graves containing over 169 decomposed bodies provoked growing concern on the international level. However Pakistani media including human rights advocates who are always seen speaking against the West turned a blind eye on atrocities being perpetrated against the Baloch. The independent Asian Human Rights Commission expressed shocked over the tragedy and urged the Pakistan government to probe into the killing; Zohra Yusuf of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) also expressed similar concerns but no one from national media took up the issue.

It is unfortunate that Pakistani society is more concerned over the discovery of bullet-riddled bodies in Indian-controlled Kashmir than in the Pakistani province of Balochistan, where the disappearances of young Baloch men and then appearance of their tortured and bullet-riddled bodies has become commonplace.

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The Supreme Court of Pakistan has tackled the matter of enforced disappearances and mutilated bodies for a few years now, without having made any serious progress. Those targeted include mostly young men, students and dissident party workers but there’s no condemnation and telling who is abducting and dumping young Baloch activists in mass graves.

Balochistan has been at the center of one the worst humanitarian crisis of the decade. This small territory has witnessed several military operations in which thousands of people have been killed and a population living under a a constant state of emergency.

When will the international community, it must be repeated loudly, clearly and in no uncertain terms, express their outrage against the abuses in Balochistan and wake up to help confront this tragedy?

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Kiyya Qadir Baloch is a freelance Baloch journalist associated with the Daily Times based in Islamabad. He reports on foreign affairs, Baloch insurgency, militancy and sectarian violence in Balochistan. Read other articles by Kiyya.