Thursday, 5 November 2009

AHRC: Balochistan Situation Heating Up

(4 November 2009) Press Release: Asian Human Rights Commission

The situation in Balochistan is grave and demands for independence are growing stronger.

A Statement from Awami Jamhoori Ittehad and Insani Huqooq Ittehad forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission.

A situation akin to 1971 is brewing in Balochistan. Radical nationalists advocating a separate state of Balochistan are steadily gaining popularity at the expense of those who continue to look for a solution within the federal framework.

The reasons for this surge in separatism are quite apparent. The people of Balochistan have a long list of grievances, and next to none have been addressed over the last 60 years. Instead of negotiations and redressing the wrongs, successive Pakistani governments have resorted to brute force in the form of five military operations starting as early as 1948.

In fact, Balochistan continues to be ruled as a colony, its resources benefiting the federal government and dominant provinces. Grueling poverty and deprivation defines much of the province. 88% of the population of Balochistan is under the poverty line. Balochistan has the lowest literacy rate, the lowest school enrollment ratio, the lowest educational attainment index, and the lowest health index relative to the other provinces. 78% of the population has no access to electricity, and 79% has no access to natural gas.

The 1973 constitution provided for complete provincial autonomy within ten years. To date, this remains a meaningless promise on paper.

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