AI report on Pakistan disappointing, international observers welcome to probe: BLF

In a statement issued late Thursday night, the spokesman of Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF), Gwahram Baloch, has expressed deep disappointment at a recent Amnesty International annual country report on Pakistan that has showed Army’s Frontier Work Organization (FWO) workers as ‘civilians’ - specifically referring to April 20, 2015 Kech attack that killed 20 Army construction personnel. 


AI’s report has been widely condemned across Balochistan for totally ignoring the mass scale genocide and war crimes committed by Pakistani security forces in the region. 


BLF cleared that the FWO workers killed in Kech 2015 attack were not civilians but Pakistan Army construction personnel working on China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC) project. They were warned multiple times before the attack, the statement cleared. 


CPEC project has already caused at least 150,000 Baloch civilians to forcibly migrate from their lands and live under extreme conditions. This project is an organized attempt to bring about demographic changes and turn the Baloch population into a minority on their own land, the spokesman said. 


‘Our organization (BLF) respects human lives and values international war laws. We would never target any innocent civilian, be them of any ethnicity, race or religion. The FWO workers were not targeted because they were from any specific group or ethnicity but because they were Pakistan Army associates helping facilitate military campaigns against civilians in Balochistan. In fact, we welcome international observers to probe the humanitarian situation here. We have nothing to hide. Our operations are principally focused against occupying state forces and we take safety of civilian lives in top consideration prior to executing these operations. Pakistan has blocked all outer access to Balochistan to hide their war crimes from the world.' BLF spokesman said. 


'In December 2015, our organization freed a teenager FWO worker captured during an attack on one of CPEC projects in Kech. The teenager was freed on humanitarian grounds considering him being underage. The BLF has honoured and freed dozens of such cases abiding international laws of war.' the statement continued.


'It is sad to see that Amnesty International's Pakistan bureau is keeping human rights groups in dark and misrepresenting them on the grave humanitarian crisis in Balochistan.’ In July 2015, Pakistan Army offensive wiped out entire villages in Awaran Operation killing and injuring at least 200 people mostly women and children. In April 2015, Pakistan Army attacked a wedding ceremony in Mashkay killing four people including three grooms. In November last year Army abducted more than 40 Baloch women in Bolan. In April 2015 six innocent people, including a disabled person, were abducted from Dashst and executed in fake encounters by the Army. In January 2015, Army raided a house in Mashkay and killed seven people, including a woman and a child. In June 2015 Pakistan Air Force bombarded a funeral in Mashkay where 13 people died. Throughout the year 2015 Balochistan witnessed worst human rights violations and a massive increase in abductions and extrajudicial killings by security forces – none of which could grab AI's attention and the Army continues to commit war crimes with absolute impunity.', Gwahram Baloch said. 


No such reports ever make it to the Pakistani or international media as the Army simply harass or eliminate those who report or speak on Balochistan and human rights abuses there. Declan Walsh and Carlota Gall were expelled from Pakistan for reporting on Balochistan. The greatest example is the heinous murder of human rights activist Sabeen Mahmood on April 25, 2015 who dared to speak on human rights violations against Baloch people, Gwahram Baloch added.


'Rather than conducting independent investigations, AI's Pakistan bureau highly relies on Army's biased narrative and state controlled media reports on Balochistan. AI's 2015 report has deeply hurt the emotions and expectations of the Baloch people suffering through mass genocide. Balochistan human rights situation deserves broader international attention and the world must bring Pakistan into justice for these atrocities.' Gwahram Baloch said. 

‘We welcome international observers and rapporteurs to Balochistan and assure their safety and pledge to provide security as there is no reason to be afraid from us’, Gwahram Baloch concluded.