GENEVA: March 24, 2017. (Ahmar Mustikhan, Washington DC Bureau Chief) Pakistan, despite backing of powerful China, Thursday was put on the mat by a Baloch human rights defender at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, with the backing of the US, UK, Canada the Netherlands and Norway.
The Baloch speaker Abdul Nawaz Bugti, 24, who belongs to the Baloch Republican Party, in his speech blasted the so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), for spelling death and destruction for the Baloch in their France-sized homeland of Balochistan. He said since China and Pakistan began work on the CPEC in 2015, hundreds of thousands of Baloch people have been “forcefully displaced from their hometowns along the CPEC route.” He added that a special force of 12,000 army personnel has been created and deployed for “massacring or displacing the local populace.”
Many international observers liken the situation in Balochistan as slow motion genocide akin to what the Pakistan army did in the former East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
The Pakistani representative interrupted Bugti’s speech. China too raised objections on behalf of Pakistan and asked the council to expunge the BRP representative’s remarks.
However, delegations of five major Western democracies the US, UK, Canada, Norway and the Netherlands sprung up to the defense of the BRP representative and countered Pakistan and China objections and asked the council to allow the BRP representative to speak. As Bugti resumed his speech, the Pakistani delegation interrupted him for a second time but the US delegation backed Bugti again.
Bugti was allowed to conclude his speech.
Many of Bugti’s close relatives, including his uncles and cousins, have fallen victims to Islamabad’s scorched earth policy in Balochistan. Pakistan army and security services have also either burned down or occupied homes of thousands of Bugti tribesmen in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Bugti further said the situation in Dera Bugti region is worsening as Chinese and Pakistani companies are busy drilling wells for natural gas reserves. He said Pakistan was taking away gas, called Sui gas in Pakistan, since the 1950s but the local populace have been deprived of their natural resource and lack basic facilities of life..
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a recent visit to the port city of Gwadar, which China plans to connect with Kashgar, said that he was making Gwadar the “Tiger of Pakistan” through the controversial CPEC. The young Bugti said,”I agree that CPEC is the tiger of Pakistan, a tiger that is attacking and eating our children. Please save us.”
The BRP is led by Swiss-based Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti, who is also the chief of the largest Bugti tribe. Brahumdagh Bugti accuses Pakistan of conducting systematic genocide in Balochistan and through a video message congratulated the people of Balochistan over their victory at the UN body.