Foreign donors be given direct access in Balochistan: Hyrbyar
05 October, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Expressing support for the Baloch insurgency, self-exiled Baloch leader Nawabzada Hyrbyar Marri urged the international community to pressure Pakistan to allow international humanitarian organisations direct access to Balochistan's earthquake-affected areas.
In an exclusive interview, Nawabzada Hyrbyr Marri, who is now known as Balochistan's most influential leader and is the most widely-respected leader among various groups seeking separation from Pakistan, said that military should hand over relief work to non-governmental and international humanitarian organisations, saying that relief operations are not the military's job anyway, especially in Balochistan's case when people have so much hatred for the military.
"We want foreign or international human rights organisations to have direct access in Balochistan's quake-stricken areas. All Baloch pro-independence political parties and leaders agree on this point that international humanitarian and non-governmental organisations must be granted direct access to carry out relief work in Balochistan, so why doesn't the military allow other social and civil organisations to carry out relief operations?" Marri asked.
Nawabzada Hyrbyar Marri, son of veteran Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Khair Bakhsi Marri, also assured the international humanitarian organisations that his workers together with the locals would cooperate with international donors in carrying out relief operation in the region. About the security of foreign humanitarian organisations, the Baloch nationalist leader said that foreign humanitarian organisations will not be facing security risks from the Baloch people, but he expressed the fear that security forces and intelligence agencies will either not allow them to go to Balochistan or they will try to harm them to defame the Baloch struggle.
Commenting on Pakistan Army's role in the relief operations in the quake-affected areas, Marri said that military personnel are pouring into the quake-affected areas to increase their presence in the name of relief work and they are establishing new checkposts. He claimed that in the cover of relief operation five Baloch youth were killed and more than 20 have been abducted after army's arrival in Awaran and its surrounding areas. He also said that military's offensives are still continuing in Panjgur and Mashkey in the name of relief operation.
About an attack on army men engaged in relief operation in the region by insurgents, the self-exiled Baloch leader said that army and other security agencies have been carrying out military offensives in Balochistan and that several Baloch pro-freedom activists have been target-killed and abducted by the security forces recently, which is why, he said, that military's involvement in relief work is being seen as an insult by the people. The Baloch leader termed military sympathy with the Baloch people a "mere pretence" and said that they are conducting photo sessions to conceal their crimes in Balochistan.
"I am glad that Baloch people know their real enemy and in many places people turned away army's help, proving that even at these difficult times Baloch do not accept help from the killers of their children," said Marri. Baloch He appealed to the international donors to immediately extend financial assistance to the people who were hit by a strong earthquake which had affected more than three hundred thousand people in Balochistan, killed over five hundred and injured more than 6,000.
He requested the United Nations, European Union and human rights organisations to immediately send a delegation to Balochistan to view the situation and assess losses. "Baloch women, youngsters, the aged and children are suffering badly. They are spending their days and night under open skies and Pakistani military is engaged in photo sessions in order to cover their crimes. In such circumstances we will welcome the support of foreign donors," he said.
When asked whether he was contacted by Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik during his stay in London, the Baloch leader said that no he was not, and added that "Dr Malik has no power to resolve the issue of Balochistan. His government still does not have a cabinet because he needs permission and green signal from Punjab. How can he resolve other issues," Marri remarked. Commenting on Dr Abdul Malik Baloch's dialogue offer to the nationalists, he said that they have never rejected negotiations, and the only thing he said he would not compromise on is the independence of Balochistan.
Setting out his demands, he called for an immediate and unconditional military pullout from Balochistan, saying that all Baloch political prisoners must be released safely and recognised as political prisoners and prisoners of war; independent international bodies must be allowed to investigate Pakistani military's crimes against the Baloch people; personnel of military, ISI and other security agencies must be arrested and punished for their crimes in Balochistan. Marri called on the international community to pay attention towards the human rights violations in Balochistan and hold Pakistani security forces accountable for their "crimes against humanity".