New Delhi, Aug 26:
Baloch leaders have sought independence for Balochistan from Pakistan’s “tyrannical rule” and the immediate withdrawal of Pakistani troops from the country’s largest province.
The Aug 11 appeal was made on the occasion of Balochistan independence day, said a communique received here Tuesday.
The statement accused Pakistan of pursuing “oppressive policies” since it annexed Balochistan after the partition of India in 1947.
“The Pakistani armed forces have launched ethnic cleansing and genocide in Balochistan and are systematically kidnapping, imprisoning and murdering Baloch political activists, students, lawyers, intellectuals and nationalist leaders,” it said.
“Pakistan’s security forces are engaging in an abusive free-for-all in Balochistan as Baloch nationalists ‘disappear’ and in many cases are extra-judicially executed,” it added.
It said pro-independence Baloch leaders have met regularly and have demanded “complete independence from the tyrannical rule of Pakistan, including immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Pakistani troops from Balochistan”.
The signatories to the statement included Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti, president of the Baloch Republican Party, Mir Javed Mengal, Nawab Mehran Baluch (Marri) and Sardar Bakhtyar Khan Domki.
The communique said Baloch leaders had wanted the province to remain independent after the 1947 partition of united India into India and Pakistan.
“Pakistan’s response was to use military force and (it) illegally occupied Balochistan March 27, 1948.
“Pakistan has occupied Balochistan and expanded injustices against the Baloch people, in addition to exploiting their mineral wealth.”
The statement spoke about “deteriorating human rights situation in Balochistan”.
It urged the international community to support the demand for an independent and democratic Balochistan and take immediate steps to end the militarization of Balochistan.
“The concerned parties are also called on to take into account the aspirations of the Baloch freedom lovers and support their voices against Pakistani oppression on various international forums.”
Balochistan is the largest of the four provinces of Pakistan and is spread over an area of over 347,000 sq km. The mineral-rich area borders Iran.
A dragging insurgency in Baluchistan and counter-insurgency operations by Pakistan has left hundreds dead over the years.