Call to end operation in Balochistan

Published March 31, 2008

LONDON, March 30: The Balochistan Action Committee (UK) and the World Sindhi Congress held a two-hour protest rally in front of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s official residence 10 Downing Street against what they claimed to be the “forcible and illegal annexation of Balochistan.”

Later the leaders of the rally presented a memorandum to Prime Minister Brown, which was received by a 10 Downing Street officer.

The memorandum appealed to the British government to use their good offices in getting the Baloch freedom fighters now under detention in Pakistan released and the military operation brought to an end.

About 100 slogan chanting Baloch and Sindhi protesters were also joined by a number of Pakistani students and civil society activists.

Some of the leaders in their short but emotional speeches at the rally accused Pakistan’s military of having carried out a number of ruthless military operations to suppress Baloch aspirations of liberty, peace and justice.

They claimed that in Balochistan a full-fledged military operation had been going on for three years and during these operations thousands of innocent Baloch had been killed and hundreds and thousands displaced.

“Pakistan’s military has target killed Baloch national leaders and has abducted and tortured thousands of Baloch and Sindhi activists.”

Those who led the rally included Samad Baloch, Abdullah Baloch, Haleem Bhatti and Dr Lakhu Luhano.

When asked for their reaction on the public apology to Baloch people tendered by the leaders of new coalition government in Pakistan and its promise to withdraw the Concurrent List by the end of the year so that the provinces become the masters of their own destiny in the true sense of the term, the Baloch leaders thought it was another ploy of the establishment to mislead the people of Balochistan.

“We are not asking for political, social and economic concessions, we are asking for the right of the Baloch nationals to rule Balochistan,” said Samad Baloch.

Haleem Bhatti of World Sindhi Congress, on the other hand, said his organisation would like to wait and see how the new government carried out its promises.

“The PPP should not have any problem either at the centre or in Balochistan, we would like to wait and see because we have seen the fate of such promises in the past as well,” he added.

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