Washington: A group of Baloch activists held protests against Pakistan outside the United Nations headquarters in New York, demanding freedom and highlighting Pakistan’s atrocities and crimes against humanity in Balochistan.
The protest was organised by the Free Balochistan Movement (FBM) across the street from the world body’s headquarters, around the time the 71st session of the General Assembly opened in the UN.
Waving the US and Baloch flags, the small group of protesters held banners of ‘Stop Human Rights violation in Baluchistan’, ‘Stop Bombing Balochistan’ and ‘Balochistan is not Pakistan’ and stood around five dolls, smeared in red colour to portray blood and placed on the ground on a white banner that read ‘Save Baloch Children’.
Some wore white T-shirts with the slogan ‘Dire Human Rights Violations in Balochistan’ written in black.
The men and women protesting shouted slogans of ‘India help Balochistan’, ‘Freedom for Balochistan’, ‘Stop Genocide of Baloch People’, ‘UN, UN Where are you’, ‘Stop funding Pakistan’, and ‘Balochistan is another Bangladesh’.
The protestors said Pakistani forces have killed around 5,000 over the past few years and causing nearly 20,000 forced disappearances in Balochistan.
Free Balochistan Movement said in a statement handed out at the protest that the demonstration aims to highlight the “illegal occupation and Pakistani state’s crimes against humanity in Balochistan, and to give awareness about Baloch national struggle for freedom.”
“It is the responsibility of the United Nations to take notice of the violations of its charter and state brutalities by Pakistan in Balochistan,” Free Balochistan Movement said.
The organisation said Pakistan has been committing gross human rights violations and killing innocent Baloch people since it forcefully occupied Balochistan in 1948 and “Pakistani state has made life difficult for Baloch by target killings, indiscriminate bombardment and enforced-disappearances.”
The protests come just a week before heads of state and government descend at the world body’s headquarters for the high-level General Debate of the 71st UNGA session.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will address the General Assembly on September 21, five days before External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses the gathering of world leaders.
In his address from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of 70th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had talked about the situation in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Gilgit and Balochistan and said people from there have thanked him for raising their issues.