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Baloch facing atrocities like '71

Say 2 exiled leaders in Dhaka; seek help to make Balochistan independent

Mir Suleman Dawood Jan Ahmedzai, who represents the khans of Kalat who ruled Balochistan for over 600 years since 1385, addresses a seminar, “1971 to 2016: Justice and Genocide in the World”, organised by the Centre for Genocide Studies at the Teacher-Student Centre of Dhaka University yesterday. Photo: Star

Staff Correspondent

The Pakistani government is carrying out atrocities in the Balochistan province the way it committed crimes against humanity and genocide in Bangladesh in 1971, two exiled Baloch leaders told a seminar in Dhaka yesterday.

They urged the United Nations and the international community including Bangladesh and India to help stop the ongoing atrocities and support their struggle for an independent Balochistan.

Mir Suleman Dawood Jan Ahmedzai, the khan of Kalat, and Munir Mengal, president of Baloch Voice Association and Foundation in France, were speaking at a seminar titled “1971 to 2016: Justice and Genocide in the World” in Dhaka.

The Center for Genocide Studies of Dhaka University organised the seminar at TSC with its director Prof Delwar Hossain in the chair.

Suleman, who represents the khans of Kalat, who ruled Balochistan for more than 600 years since 1385, said the human rights, economic and social conditions were very bad in Balochistan.

He, however, said there was no accurate data about the number of killings and victims of forced disappearance.

“In General Musharraf's era, his interior minister acknowledged 4,000 [people] disappeared... and the interior minister of People's Party Zardari's government acknowledged 1,500,” said Suleman, now living in exile in the UK.

“The Pakistan authorities have barred national and international journalists from reporting on Balochistan. But according to Pakistani newspaper reports, more than 1,000 dead bodies have been discovered. The Baloch believed the number of killed and dumped persons by the state security agencies are much higher than that have been reported. According to the local sources, more than 25,000 people are missing and over one million displaced so far,” he said.

Paying deep tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War in 1971 and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he said the atrocities the Punjabi army of Pakistan unleashed on the Bangalees had been carried out on the Baloch since 1948.  He said Bangladesh and India should support an independent Balochistan in order to eradicate the threat of war.

“We also want your country, Bangladesh, to support us diplomatically in the United Nations to give us voice and the United Nations to support the Baloch to blame those officials and army generals who have committed crimes against Baloch and genocide to face justice for the crimes they have committed against our people,” he said.

“It is time for the United Nations and the international community to declare Pakistan as a terrorist state and recognise Balochistan as occupied land,” he added.

“Pakistan's rule over Balochistan has never been legitimate. It has no moral authority and it has lost control almost all over Balochistan.”

Mengal, who lives in France, said unfortunately the aim was same like it was in Bangladesh 25-30 years ago. They have been killing the Baloch for more than 70 years with the same goal, he said. “The factors and actors are the same. The state… are using the actors there to occupy our land, eliminate us and suppress us.”

Expressing his frustration over the lack of international recognition of genocide committed during the 1971 Liberation War, Dhaka University's Prof Delwar said, “We're trying to make the world understand the killing and violence perpetrated by Pakistani forces, razakars, Al-Badr and Al-shams. It is a case of genocide.”

DU teachers Prof Ashfaque Hossain and Sheikh Shams Morsalin also spoke at the seminar, moderated by Iynul Islam. 



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