A programme for freedom, democracy, justice and secularism in Balochistan
Draft only – for debate, amendment and revision – 15 June 2011.
We appeal to all Baloch people to unite in support of the Baloch Freedom Charter, for the liberation of our oppressed and occupied nation and for the empowerment and welfare of our people.
End the conflict:
1. A ceasefire and the cessation of all military operations, withdrawal of troops and paramilitaries to barracks and a halt to the construction of new military bases and outposts – with independent monitoring and supervision by UN observers and peace-keepers.
2. Release of all political prisoners and a full account of the fate of all disappeared persons.
3. Open access to all parts of Balochistan for journalists, aid agencies and human rights organisations.
4. Right of return of displaced refugees, restoration of their property and compensation for losses caused by the conflict.
5. End inward colonisation of Balochistan by non-Baloch settlers.
6. A UN-supervised referendum on self-determination, offering the people of Balochistan of the option of independence.
A new Balochistan:
7. Social justice, equality and human rights for all Baloch people.
8. Land reform – The right of every adult Baloch person to have a share of land ownership.
9. Redistribution of wealth and power to all the people of Balochistan.
10. A secular state, where people of all faiths and none have equal legal status and where no religion is privileged in law, government or public institutions.
11. Democratic and personal freedoms, including free, multi-party elections, the right to protest and freedom of speech and the press, as enshrined in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
12. A UN Commission of Inquiry into disappeared persons, and the victims of detention without trial, torture and extra-judicial killings, including the victimisation of both Baloch national leaders and ordinary Baloch citizens.
This draft Baloch Freedom Charter (BFC) was drawn up by a dozen Baloch nationalist and human rights activists, with the assistance of UK human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
It is only a proposal, for discussion and amendment as others see fit.
The idea is to set out a clear agenda of what Baloch nationalists want, and the policies they would pursue in a future free and independent Balochistan.
The BFC is similar to, and modelled on, the ANC’s Freedom Charter, which successfully mobilised the South African people and international public opinion against apartheid and in support of the ANC.
For the Baloch people and nationalist cause, the BFC could become a very useful and effective focus for national and international campaigns, helping build domestic and international support.
The current absence of a concrete, specific liberation programme is a major weakness.
There is an urgent need for an explicit set of proposals to deescalate the conflict and lead to Pakistani disengagement and withdrawal.
The BFC is important for four reasons:
1. The people of Balochistan have a right to know what the nationalist movement stands for. They are more likely to rally around and unite behind a clear, practical liberation programme.
2. The BFC could become a focus for uniting the diverse Baloch factions. It is worded with broad appeal, to unite the largest possible number of Baloch people, despite whatever other disagreements they might have. Maximum unity has been the key to every successful national liberation struggle. Division weakens and undermines the Baloch freedom movement.
3. Pakistan needs to be put on the spot with specific demands to end militarisation, occupation and the denial of human rights – and to secure the right to self-determination, in accordance with the UN Charter and international law.
4. The UN and governments worldwide are more likely to support the Baloch national liberation struggle if they know what Baloch nationalists are seeking and the proposed character of a future independent Balochistan. The BFC’s statements about democracy, human rights and secularism are particularly important and will resonate with democratic governments, human rights organisations and UN/EU.
Please distribute to your Baloch and Pakistani contacts for discussion.
Solidarity! Peter Tatchell