Free Balochistan Movement’s Long March Reaches Berlin

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By Perak Baloch:

Hyrbyair Marri, an exiled pro-freedom Baloch leader announced his new political platform, Free Balochistan Movement (FBM) to highlight Pakistan’s atrocities and human rights violations in Balochistan. He announced the platform by initiating a long march campaign in Germany on July 16. He said in a public statement that the long march in Germany would be followed by similar campaigns throughout the western world to make the people aware of Pakistan’s crimes against the Baloch people in Balochistan which he said was occupied by Pakistan forcefully in 1948.

On August 4, the long march reached the town of Potsdam. The participants held a protest in front of Potsdam Hauptbahnof, the main train station. They were joined by Baloch activist Dr. Shahzavar Karimzadi from London. The activists distributed leaflets and spoke to the people about recent Pakistani attacks in Balochistan.

The 700-kilometer long march started from Germany’s Dusseldorf city and reached the German capital, Berlin on August 5, where the participants and human rights activists demonstrated outside the German parliament. This was the first Protest of its kind by Baloch activists in Europe, which has been welcomed by Baloch people all over the world and especially in Balochistan where people have expressed their support by wall chalking and graffiti throughout Balochistan.

According to the participants of the long march, the main aim of the demonstration was to shed light in the western world on the human rights abuses committed against the Baloch people by Pakistani forces. They accused Pakistan of sponsoring international Islamic terrorist groups. They also spoke out against the enforced disappearances of Baloch activists by the Pakistani army and intelligence agencies with Chinese involvement.

In the last 15 years, Pakistani forces have extra-judicially killed 5,000 and abducted more than 20,000 Baloch political activists. There is not a day that passes without Baloch civilians being targeted, attacked and disappeared by Pakistani forces.

Mohammed Azam, a poet who uses the pen name Azum Noor, is a supporter of free Balochistan movement and was a participant on the long march. Azam said, “Pakistani army is responsible for killing and abducting thousands of Baloch activists, teachers and poets. Our aim is to tell the world what is happening in Balochistan.”

He also added that two of his poet friends and activists were targeted by the Pakistani army and intelligence agencies. He said, “Anwar Sahib Khan, a poet was abducted by Pakistani forces, brutally tortured and then released for raising his voice against Pakistan’s human rights violations in Balochistan. Another poet, Rehmatuallah Shohaz was targeted and killed by Pakistani intelligence agencies.”

On the other hand, the Pakistani media is playing a hypocritical role. It didn’t hesitate to denounce India for executing the Pakistani backed Islamic terrorist Burhan Wani. The media in Pakistan portrayed him as a hero and blamed India for human rights violations. However, they turned a blind eye during the same week when Pakistani forces attacked Balochistan’s town of Bachila, harassed women and children, burnt down mud houses and enforced the disappearance of five innocent civilians.

The Pakistan army is responsible for censoring any news about Balochistan. Indeed, Balochistan is one of the most dangerous places for journalists. In recent years, the Pakistani army has murdered 20 Baloch journalists. Mohammad Hanif, a political activist and long march participant said: “Media is not allowed in Balochistan. If you report on the human rights violations in Balochistan, you will be extra judicially killed or disappeared by Pakistani army.” He also stated that the purpose of the long march is to make people aware of the situation in Balochistan: “our purpose for this march is to let people know about the human rights issues in Balochistan, because the international media is not allowed in Balochistan.”

The Long March reached in the front of German Parliament on August 5 and it turned into a demonstration where people from the Baloch diaspora living in other Europeans countries also joined the protest.

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