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Call to end US arms sales to Pakistan

Urgent action is vital to halt Islamabad’s war crimes in Balochistan

 

Support the Baloch people’s right to self-determination

10th anniversary commemoration of Pakistan’s murder of Akbar Bugti

 

WASHINGTON DC – 24 August 2016

On the tenth anniversary of Pakistan’s assassination of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Khan Bugti, the American Friends of Balochistan will host a conference opposing Pakistan’s annexation and occupation of Balochistan and calling for a halt to US arms sales to Pakistan – weapons that are often being used to bomb and kill the Baloch civilian population.

The conference takes place this Friday, 26 August, from 9am to 12.30pm, at the National Press Club, Murrow Room, 13th Floor, 529 14th Street NW, Washington DC 20045.

The conference organizer, Baloch human rights defender and founder of American Friends of Balochistan, Ahmar Mustikhan, said:

“US arms sold to Pakistan are being diverted from fighting the Taliban to crush the Baloch struggle for freedom and justice. In direct violation of its own military supply rules, Washington has never bothered about the end use of the weapons it supplies, including F-16 fighter jets and Cobra attack helicopters that are used to indiscriminately bomb Baloch villages. We are urging the American government to enforce the Leahy law, which prohibits the US from providing military assistance to armed forces that violate human rights.”

London-based human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who will speak at the conference, said:

“The US must not remain indifferent to what is happening in Balochistan. Congress should send a fact-finding mission to document the gross human abuses that are happening there. We want the US Alien Torte Statute used to bring to justice Pakistani military and intelligence officials responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Balochistan, including former military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, and the former head of the Southern Command Corps, Lt General Naseer Janjua. There is also an urgent need for the UN to appoint a special rapporteur on Balochistan and for the UN to press Pakistan to allow a referendum on self-determination, under international supervision, in accordance with the UN Charter.”

Ahmar Mustikhan added:

“The most significant, original international support for the Baloch cause came on 15 August this year when Indian premier Narendra Modi, the leader of the world’s largest democracy, recognized Balochistan’s quest for freedom. He is the first global leader to refer to Pakistan’s human rights abuses in Balochistan, which are contrary to international human rights law, including the responsibility to protect victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity, commonly called R2P.”

“The Pakistan army, Inter Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence and the Frontier Corps – all of whom have colluded with Islamist extremism – have been conducting unconscionable acts of terror against the Baloch people for more than seven decades since Balochistan was annexed at the point of gun on March 27, 1948.

“The war crimes and crimes against humanity in Balochistan include extrajudicial killings, burying Baloch freedom activists in mass graves, bombing and setting afire entire villages, destruction of crops and livestock, use of poison gas, burning alive Baloch tribesmen, throwing freedom activists from US-supplied choppers, mass enforced disappearances and a ‘kill and dump’ policy against Baloch civilians sympathetic to the nationalist cause. Thousands of Baloch have been killed in this manner since 2006. Their corpses are often badly mutilated, with ears and noses chopped off, to instill maximum terror in the hearts of general populace. The Pakistani state has officially admitted 1,000 cases of kill-and-dump but the Baloch are right in saying the numbers are at least six times higher. As many as 20,000 are missing, either dead or being held in secret prisons and torture cells under the control of the infamous ISI.

“Baloch statesman and former governor and chief minister of Balochistan, Shaheed Akbar Khan Bugti, is widely believed to have been assassinated on the orders of former coup leader and military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, on 26 August 2006, aged 79 – hence our commemoration of him on Friday, the tenth anniversary of his murder,” Mustikhan said.

 

Conference schedule of Proceedings

First session

9.00 am Ahmar Mustikhan, Baloch human rights defender and founder, American Friends of Balochistan
9.10 am Jane E. Weisner, General Secretary, American Friends of Balochistan,
9.20: Documentary on the life of Shaheed Akbar Khan Bugti
9.30: Speech by Brahumdagh Bugti, President of Baloch Republican Party and chief of the Bugti tribe
9.40: Question and answer with Brahumdagh Bugti
9.50 break

Second session:

10.0 Excellency Ambassador Husain Haqqani, former Pakistan ambassador to the US
10.20 Arif Jamal, author of Call for Transnational Jihad: Lashkar-e-Taiba 1985-2014
10.30 Adapa Prasad, past President, Overseas Friends of BJP
10.35 Peter Tatchell, International human rights and gay rights defender
10.55 break

Third Session