Monday, 31 May 2010

Pakistan planning more Islamic bombs, Washington DC protest and Conference report

WASHINGTON DC: Islamabad was put on the mat here in the U.S. capital Friday for its atrocities on Balochistan, including the May 28 nuclear tests in Chagai.

American progressives, conservatives and moderates joined the Baloch in a protest rally outside the White House and a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Friday to mark the 12 anniversary of Pakistan testing of nuclear weapons in Occupied Balochistan.

*DC Conference coverage by BBC Pashto [Audio
*DC conference Coverage by Radio Gwank [Audio]
Open in new windowThe protest and press conference was organized by the American Friends of Balochistan.

Baloch leader Mir Hyrbyair Marri in his message from London blasted Islamabad for using Balochistan as its nuclear testing site.

In her speech, A.F.B. presiding council member Laurie Deamer cited verses from poet Mansoor Baloch in which he said in the backdrop of Balochistan's occupation, "everything is weeping, including the deep impassable sea, which is filled with tears of blood."

Deamer said, "Today we join in mourning Balochistan’s losses resulting from the leadership of Pakistan’s nuclear test initiative at Chagai Hills, twelve years ago. We mourn the fundamental loss of Baloch liberty which under girded the decision to test, and the loss of entitlement to basic human rights, already in short supply in the underdeveloped province."

"We mourn the decrease in quality of human life which is the inevitable outcome of jeopardizing the quantity and quality of a region’s water supply, as experienced by a compromising of local agriculture, an increase in cancerous skin conditions and the loss of scenic beauty."

Marri deplored we will never know that how long the effects of the radiations will stay unless international and independent experts are sent to Balochistan to examine the areas affected by the nuclear tests.

Deamer said Baloch natives can best speak about the harm done to their homeland.

"As one resident reminisced, people used to go to Raskoh Mountain for a picnic day. It was a beautiful place where wildlife was a spectacle in itself. They sent away the people living in the area and restricted the access to everyone else. And so we also mourn the departure of that wildlife, yet another sign of ecological devastation.

Marri said nuclear weapons in Pakistan hands endangers everyone. "Apart from its terrible affect on the Baloch population, I think Pakistan's nuclear bombs are a danger to the entire world as we are observing religious fundamentalism is on the rise in Pakistan."

Deamer felt Islamabad committed a huge blunder by conducting the tests in Occupied Balochistan.

"Most commentators seem to feel that Islamabad not only failed miserably in its stated mission to unite the citizens of Pakistan, but that its leaders’ decision to test nuclear weapons ultimately thwarted the mission, driving the culture itself deeper into self-destruction and fanaticism."

She called upon Islamabad to sign the Nonproliferation and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaties. And in keeping with the American Friends of Balochistan mission statement, I also respectfully urge Islamabad to halt preparations for nuclear testing in the region.

President of the Baloch Human Rights Council of Canada, Dr. Zaffar Baloch, could not make it to the protest because of a traffic mishap while he was coming to the White House.

His speech was read out by an A.F.B. representative.

"Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is a source of terror and instability in the region. This is not a coincidence that Pakistan’s nuclear bomb has had been dubbed as the “Islamic Bomb” and each and every ballistic missile tested so far is named after Muslim invaders; Ghauri, Ghaznavi, and Abdali to name a few. Mard-e-Momin is a military tank, a term that means “Muslim Superman” and borrowed from Pakistan’s official state philosopher Allama Iqbal," Dr. Baloch said.

He added, "Pakistan is the only country in the world where the al-Qaida, the Taliban, and the nuclear bomb exist within a radius of 100 kilometers. The terrorists who are seeking a nuclear device won’t even need a visa or take an international flight to acquire their goals."

Sakura Saunders, editor of ProtestBarrick.Net, deplored that balochistan has been under Pakistani military occupation for six decades but not much is known about it in the U.S.A.

"I only came to know about it recently. The liberation struggle in Balochistan is one of the most under-reported struggles," she said.

Andrew Eiva, who is now with Freedom for Sudan Committee, expressed concern that Adolph Hitler was still highly popular in Pakistan and said way back during the Afghan war when he was Pakistan, Pakistani military officials spoke of a secret plan to destroy Israel.

President of the Pakistan Christian Congress, Dr. Nazir Bhatti, said the Baloch were one of the best people in Pakistan because Christians have faced many a challenge in the Punjab and other areas, but not a single Christian faced any discrimination amidst the Baloch people.

Eiva condemned the systematic propagation of hate conducted by the Pakistani establishment and said all this was ominous, viewed in the backdrop of Pakistan's nuclear weapons progam.

Secular Baloch do not want to have any truck with Pakistan or its state ideology of Islamic hatred. While the Baloch protest was taking place in Washington DC, Punjabi religious fanatics attacked the worship place of the minority Qadianis in Lahore killing dozens of people.

One salient feature of the protest in front of the White House was politicial activist Mohamad Ali Baloch's speech in Balochi, his mother tongue.

Ali Baloch, dwelt at length on the historic separate status of Balochistan and recalled the speech of Baba-i-Balochistan Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo in which the late Baloch leader ahd argued in December 1947 that when Afghanistan and Iran could be independent nations so could Balochistan.

"Pakistan military invaded and conquered Balochistan on April 1, 1948 and later disbanded the nationalist Kalat State National Party," Ali Baloch recalled in Balochi.

Ali Baloch said in 1966 Ayub Khan launched a military operation in Balochistan in which thousands of Baloch patriots were killed in aerial bombardments.

Dr. Zaffar Baloch said, "We strongly believe that Balochistan's freedom from the Islamic state of Pakistan will develop a new balance in the region that will favour an end to global terrorism, nuclear disasters, and wars. Liberated Balochistan is the only hope for a world free from nuclear terrorism."

The civilized world will be outraged to know that the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission specifically outlawed any environmental impact assessment in Chagai. This is clearly a war crime against the Baloch people, according to the A.F.B.

Deamer prayed that the freedom-loving Baloch people may never succumb to the grave injustices of Islamabad even if Balochistan's seas were filled with tears of blood for one can see "in the dark the lights of martyrs and imagined that the darkness would eventually be replaced by a gleaming Light."

In addition to Dr. Zaffar Baloch and Mohammad Ali Baloch of the Balochistan Peoples Party [Iran], who drove all the way from Toronto, Baloch political activist Zahid Mir came from Columbus, Ohio, to attend the protest.

Sindhi intellectual Prof. Jawaid Bhutto and activist Aleem Brohi were among those who took part in the protest rally.

Balochistan is a vast country: the area under Pakistani army occupation is slightly bigger than New Mexico. The area under Iranian mullahs is the size of Nevada, and that under Afghan control is the size of West Virginia. The total Baloch population in these areas is ten million, and ten million Baloch live elsewhere in the world.

According to the A.F.B. Baloch politicians are so powerless when they are in the corridors of power that tribal leader Sardar Akhtar Mengal was the chief minister of Balochistan at the time of the nuclear tests in 1998 and said he was very much against them, still then Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif and military generals forced Mengal to be present at Chagai during the testing. Mengal's elder brother Asadullah Mengal was abudcuted and killed by the Pakistani intelligence services in 1975 but his body was never found.

Meanwhile, the A.F.B. has expressed concerns over reports from Balochistan that Pakistan military is planning yet another series of tests on the Baloch homeland. The international community must act now to stop this from happening, the A.F.B. said in a communication.

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