Washington: An advert in the the Washington Post has urged President Trump to “help end Pakistan’s human rights abuses in Balochistan”. The Washington Postis the most-read news source among the US government leadershipand is said to be daily read by the American President himself.
The advert comes on the day President Trump is set to meet Pakistan’s Prime minister Imran Khan who is accompanied by the heads of Pakistan’s military and intelligence agency.
The advert placed by the World Baloch Organisation and Baloch Republican Party also included points that urged President Trump to :
- To help ensure an end to human rights violations, economic deprivation and political exclusion in Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest and most resource-rich province where international NGOs and journalists are denied access.
- To ensure that US-supplied weaponry given to Pakistan for the purpose of fighting religious extremism, is no longer misused in the persecution of the secular and progressive Baloch people, who have been democratically struggling for peace, justice and their basic human rights for seven decades.
- To ensure that US Aid to Pakistan, funded by American citizens’ tax money is no longer used to support extremist groups in the region which the secular Baloch people have been victims of for many decades.
- To ensure that US Aid to Pakistan is conditional not only on its engagement in counterterrorism, but also to the respect for human rights, particullarly enforced disappearances and extra-judical killings in the country, in accordance with the Leahy Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act.
Billboards carrying similar slogans were also seen outside the White House, the billboards aimed to catch the attention of the international media covering the event.
The groups behind the campaign, have recently carried out a full-fledged campaign in the United Kingdom, during the Cricket World Cup.
Ethnic groups and religious minorities like the Baloch, Sindhi, Mohajir, Pashtun, Ahmadi, Shia and others are the primary victims of illegal abductions & enforced disappearances in Pakistan.
According to official Pakistani figures, 5000 people have gone missing within the last ten years after being abducted by the state forces. Unofficial figures put the number much higher, up to 20,000 from Balochistan alone where Pakistani forces have been engaged in continuous military operations to counter the Baloch people’s struggle for rights, justice and equality. These operations have been sustained by the misuse of US military and economic aid that was provided to Pakistan to fight religious extremism in the region.
International human rights groups such as the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have published extensive reports on cases of enforced disappearances & other massive human rights abuses in Balochistan. The reports term the enforced disappearances & extra-judicial murders the “Kill and Dump” policy by the Pakistani forces.
The organizers of the campaign have long been engaged in efforts to highlight the worsening human rights situation in Balochistan at international platforms, organising events around Europe and in the United States and focusing on advocacy activities in the European Parliament, the US parliamentary houses, and the United Nations.
The WBO and the BRP are non-violent and democratic organisations led by Baloch individuals, dedicated to raising awareness of the dire situation of human rights in Balochistan.