Pakistan's south-western province of Balochistan is the site of an intense struggle for self-determination. The province is rich in natural resources, but the Baloch majority ethnic group remains economically marginalised and receives little benefit from development in the region.
The Pakistani state has resorted over the years to violent repression and indiscriminate warfare. Human rights abuses are rampant and soldiers act with impunity.
The people of Balochistan have seen the worst human rights violations at the hands of the Pakistani military and establishment.
Baloch Students Organisation Azad Australia (BSOAA) is calling for the Pakistani army to be held accountable for its continued criminal policies and human rights violations in Balochistan.
“The state security forces of Pakistan have continued to commit crimes under international law in Balochistan, with impunity,” said BSOAA in a statement.
BSOAA strongly condemned the security forces for the killing of Baloch student Hayat Baloch in the city of Turbat.
In Pakistan, being a Baloch is considered a crime. Recently, a Baloch student from a poor family was assassinated by Pakistani soldiers in front of his parents, after being blindfolded with a scarf, pulled by the hair and dragged to the road. He was shot eight times. An unarmed Baloch student, who was studying at a Karachi university, was also killed by the Pakistani army.
Being a Baloch means you are a target, whether you are an educated youth such as Hayat Baloch, a professor such as Saba Dashtayri, an activist, or a shepherded Baloch woman or child. No one is safe in Balochistan.
People are killed on a daily basis. Mutilated bodies have been found in mass graves and there is evidence of inhuman treatment by Pakistani armed forces and intelligence officers against the Baloch people.
Following the killing of Hayat Baloch, a Pakistani army vehicle ran over Baloch civilians, killing five people. More than 50 Baloch women and children were arrested in a devastating military operation in Gichk, Balochistan.
The whole area is under siege and military barbarism is continuing uninterrupted.
“All access routes to the area are cut off. The residents are incarcerated to their home and they are not allowed to go outside,” said BSOAA.
“The Pakistani military is exercising violence against residents of the area. The gunship helicopters are constantly shelling, more than 50 women and children have been detained by the army from the mountain ranges, and scattered populations are being forced to migrate from the area.
“BSOAA demands that the United Nations and the international community come forward and hold the Pakistani military to account for its crimes against humanity in Balochistan.
“We believe the state is taking these measures to weaken the Baloch national liberation movement and punish the Baloch people for supporting it. But, such inhuman action of the state cannot deter the Baloch people’s resolve for a sovereign state.”