Baloch activists hold anti-Pakistan protest in Geneva

Geneva [Switzerland], Sep 23 (ANI): Exiled Balochistan political activists on Sunday held a protest in front of the Palais Wilson, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, and demanded the UN to intervene and stop the genocide and war crimes committed by the Pakistan Army in Balochistan. They were joined by the activists from other European countries and members of European Parliament. Karima Baloch, former chairperson of Baloch Students Organisation-Azad (BSO-Azad), said their aim is to raise awareness in the international human rights organizations about the incidents of enforced disappearances, torture and killings of the Baloch people. "My message to Pakistan is that we don't have any expectations from them, but we will continue to raise our voice to raise awareness among international bodies, including the United Nations, about the war crimes and genocide happening against the Baloch. We will persuade them to carry out a survey and see the situation for themselves because Pakistan is not a state which respects human rights. As per the UN charter and other international laws, we have a right to live freely and with dignity on our land. We have been fighting for that right and have a faith that we will convince the world to pressurize Pakistan to leave our territory," Karima said. Karima, who lives in exile in Canada, denounced Islamabad's claim about normalcy in Balochistan, adding that the human rights situation is deteriorating and Baloch will not remain silent. "If the situation in Balochistan is better, then Pakistan would have allowed international media to go there and do reporting. Pakistan should also take NGOs and human rights organizations to Balochistan. But, they are in fear and thus don't allow international media, NGOs and other human rights groups. Pakistan's own media is not providing any coverage to Balochistan, because they are hiding the truth, but they won't be hiding it for long as we are the witnesses. I myself am a witness and have seen with my eyes. How long will they keep us silent?" Karima added. Ryszard Czarnecki, a Member of the European Parliament, who joined the protest, said, "I think this demonstration is important because people from Balochistan show international public opinion - especially in Geneva, the headquarters of United Nations in Europe, that the Balochistan issue is also important for European people because, during the demonstration, speakers from European Parliament including MEPs from Italy and myself participated and signed a petition that Balochistan issue is not Pakistan's internal affair but it is the matter of international fight for freedom. Also, the fight is for respecting human rights." He said the European institutions should stop providing trade preferences to Pakistan as the state is engaged in gross human rights violations in Balochistan. "It's not only the European Parliament, but other institutions of European Union stand strong. I am quite optimistic because Europe has a special economic agreement with Pakistan, which offers privileges to Islamabad. If Pakistan doesn't respect the basic fundamental rights, the European Union should change its policy towards Islamabad," Czarnecki stated. The participants signed a petition against Pakistan and released black balloons in the air as a symbol of their protest. (ANI)
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