In 2005 the Pakistan Army initiated its 5th campaign of what some would consider genocide in Balochistan. Since Pakistan’s annexation of Balochistan in 1947, the region has been subject to several military occupations. Pakistani armed forces have conducted one military operation after another targeting the indigenous civilian population of the region. Rural Bugti and Marri villages are regularly targeted by Pakistani armed forces and the civilian inhabitants are forcefully displaced and in some cases, abducted, tortured and executed without due process of law.
Not only is Balochistan rich in minerals and natural gas, but has also become the epicenter of Asian energy commerce. In addition to controlling vital shipping corridors via the Gwadar seaport, Pakistan’s plan to construct an international “energy corridor” through the region reveals their motivations. Rather than involve and compensate the Baloch in the development and maintenance of the resources in their homeland, Pakistani government officials fuel their personal and political agendas with the regions mineral wealth.
Despite Pakistan’s policy of persecuting the indigenous residents, the people of Balochistan have largely been ignored by the international community. In 2009 Jalil Reiki was allegedly abducted by Pakistani ISI agents. Three years later his disfigured remains were recovered in the Kech district of Balochistan. Jalil’s father, Mama Qadeer, resolved to do everything in his power to bring an end to the enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings in Balochistan. Mr. Qadeer placed himself in the public spotlight, by constructing a protest camp in front of the Quetta Press club in Balochistan. Despite facing harassment, threats, and in some cases physical abuse, the now vice-president of the Baloch activist group, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, Mr. Qadeer continued his demonstration by staging hunger strikes and displaying posters covered in photographs of the victims of Pakistan’s violent policies in Balochistan.
In October, 2013, Mama Qadeer packed up the Quetta protest camp and began the #VBMPLongMarch. The demonstrators marched over 700km to Karachi. Upon reaching the Karachi Press Club, a seminar was held where activists delivered several speeches. At this seminar, Mama Qadeer announced his intention to continue the march until they reached Islamabad. Afterwards, Mr. Qadeer and the demonstrators resumed their journey. Since then they have been welcomed by thousands on their journey.
In Geneva, Switzerland, Baloch human right activist, Mehran Marri Baloch, has delivered several presentations and speeches to the UN Human Rights Council. Baloch Republican Party chapters around the world hold regular demonstrations and seminars protesting the ongoing persecutions in Balochistan. Groups such as Baloch Youth Wing and many others frequently hold protests and worker strikes within the Balochistan region. Despite the efforts to garner international attention, the people of Balochistan continue to suffer. The United Nations refuses to uphold international laws and human rights standards. The United Nations seems to only demonstrate a willingness to enforce international laws when it is directly and substantially beneficial to the UN Security Council member states.
Emboldened by the international community’s indifference, and supported by regional allies, Pakistan has blatantly continued its ruthless campaign in Balochistan. Pakistan’s military forces have attacked towns and villages in Balochistan with impunity. With each passing day Pakistan intensifies its military operations in Balochistan. The personal and political agendas of those leaders in the international community who have a vested interest in the Pakistani occupation of Balochistan have obstructed the efforts of human rights activists and journalists. For fear of persecution, most regional news outlets neglect to report stories of attacks and abductions.
Those publishers who do report on the atrocities committed by Pakistan in Balochistan are often harassed. Many online activists who report the events and details of Pakistan’s campaign in Balochistan frequently face cyber attacks from hackers within Pakistan at the behest of the government. In the past month several online publishers who have reported on abuses have been hacked. The international community has a responsibility to act and investigate any allegations of violations committed by Pakistan or any other interest group operating in Balochistan.