Pakistani Baluch activists arrested in London

Faiz Mohammed Baluch and Nawabzada Herbiyar Marri, two exiled human rights activists from Baluchistan, were arrested Dec. 4 by London Metropolitan Police in a supposed anti-terrorist operation code-named “Super-Sweep.” Fellow rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “I know one of the detained men, Faiz Baluch, and have worked with him on campaigns against Pakistani human rights abuses in occupied Baluchistan. In all the work that I have done with him, he [has] been engaged in an entirely lawful, constitutional struggle for the independence of their homeland.”

“These arrests are likely to have been at the request of the Pakistan government, which has long been seeking the extradition of Baluch nationalists exiled in London,” Tatchell said. “If these men are extradited they will never get a fair trial and they could face a death sentence. I urge the British government to not give in to pressure from the Pakistani dictator, President Musharraf. The extradition of these men would result in their arrest, torture, imprisonment and possible execution.” Tatchell said Mehran’s brother, Balach Marri, was recently murdered by the Pakistan army.

“These arrests look like another fit-up orchestrated by the Pakistan government to silence critics of Pakistan’s tyrannical, murderous oppression of the Baluch people,” said Tatchell. “The Pakistani authorities are secretly colluding with the Taliban to suppress Baluchistan.” (TopNews, IntelliBriefs, India, Dec. 6)

Meanwhile, three supporters of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto were killed Dec. 8 when gunmen attacked her party’s office in Naseerabad, Baluchistan. Gunmen sprayed the office with gunfire while Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) activists were sleeping there. (Times of India, AFP, Dec. 8)

See our last posts on Pakistan and the Baluch struggle.

  1. More terror in Baluchistan
    From the New York Times, Dec. 14:

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — At least five soldiers and two suicide bombers were killed Thursday in Quetta, a city in southwestern Pakistan, when the bombers struck a military checkpoint, military officials said. At least 18 people were wounded in the late- day explosions.

    Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan Province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, has a history of sectarian and nationalist violence. A low-level insurgency has simmered in the province for years.

    No one claimed responsibility for the bombing.

    Baluch nationalists are not known to have used suicide bombing as a tactic before. However, militants sympathetic to the Taliban and Al Qaeda have waged suicide attacks on military installations and personnel elsewhere in Pakistan.

    A spate of suicide bombings has jolted Pakistan in recent months. It was one reason cited by President Pervez Musharraf when he imposed a state of emergency on Nov. 3. However, despite emergency rule, attacks by extremists have continued unabated.

    On Monday, a suicide bomb attack on a military truck carrying schoolchildren outside a Pakistani Air Force base in the northwest wounded five children and two adults.

    In the suicide attack on Thursday, the first explosives detonated after the bomber approached the military checkpoint. As people and several vehicles gathered around the wreckage, the second bomber’s explosives detonated, military officials said.

    The bombers were on foot, officials said.

    “Five army personnel were killed in the two suicide attacks,” said Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad, a military spokesman. Pakistani television news channels, however, reported that at least 10 people had been killed.

    The military immediately cordoned off the area, and the wounded were taken to a hospital in Quetta.

    After he was sworn in for a new term last month, Mr. Musharraf announced that he would lift the state of emergency by Sunday. In an interview on Thursday, the attorney general, Malik Muhammad Qayyum, said the government would lift it on Saturday.