CPJ, others informed about death in Turbat. Mustikhan


WASHINGTON DC: August 27, 2008. The American Friends of Baluchistan has informed the Committee to Protect Journalists about the death of a man and gunshot wounds to a journalist in the Mekran town of Turbat because of the Frontier Corp attack on a pu

In a letter to CPJ executive director Joel Simon, Ahmar Mustikhan founder of the AFB drew his attention to the killing of Altaf Buledi in Turbat when the pro-Taliban Frontier Corp opened fire on a commemorative meeting to pay tributes to former governor and chief minister of Baluchistan, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. The copies of the letter were also sent out to Congressman Bill Delahunt, chairman on the house subcommittee on internationalorganizations, human rights and oversight; Congressman Gary Ackerman, chairman of the house subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia; Pakistan Ambassador Hussain Haqqani, Freedom Forum and Freedom House. The letter to the Freedom Forum was addressed to John Seigenthaler, reknowned U.S. journalist, civil rights activist and close friend of the Kennedy family. Following is the full text of Mustikhan's letter: "I like to draw your attention to the gunshot wounds suffered by a Baluchistan journalist in the indiscriminate firing on innocent civilians by Pakistan's para military Frontier Corp in the Baluchistan town of Turbat on Monday. According to a report in Asaap newspaper, Baluchistan political groups had gathered in the town of Turbat to observe the second death anniversary of one of the most popular politicians in Baluchistan's history, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, 79. According to the reports, thousands of Baluch people from all over Baluchistan had come to Turbat to commemorate Bugti's killing when they came under the unprovoked attack of the Frontier Corp. One person named Altaf Buledi was killed while journalist Irshad Akhtar, a correspondent of Asaap newspaper, was among those who received gunshot wounds. The Frontier Corp also tried to shoo away the newsman and threatened them that their cameras would be snatched if they took snaps. I like to draw your attention that a civilian set-up was put in place in Pakistan after general elections in February, but the situation has remain unchanged in Baluchistan where a brutal military operation is going on. As there is no security to the live and wellbeing of common citizens as much as 93 percent Baluch people in want the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force to replace the Pakistan army. In spite of general elections last February, there has been no change in Baluchistan which remains under the control of Pakistan army, Frontier Corp, Military Intelligence and the Inter Services Intelligence. It might be in your knowledge even key U.S. journalists are not safe in Pakistan as the beating up of Carlotta Gall, reporter of the New York Times showed. The American Friends f Baluchistan is of the considered opinion that Pakistan's intelligence agencies were involved in the slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The reason I am saying this is the convict in the case Omar Sheikh was hiding at the residence of the Brig. Ijaz Shah, home secretary of the Punjab province-- bastion of Pakistan's military--, while the FBI was on the manhunt for his killers. Shah was an operative of the I.S.I. and retired as the chief of the Intelligence Bureau. At least 1,000 Baluch people are still missing or are in torture cells in Baluchistan. The De Jure Ruler of Baluchistan, the Khan of Kalat Suleman Daud Ahmedzai has sought political asylum in the U.K. and is in the process of knocking at the doors of the International Court of Justice. I request the CPJ to lodge a strong protest with the Pakistan government against the injuries to Irshad Akhtar. Bugti was never defeated in any election in the last 50 years, was former governor and chief minister of the state, and was also the head of a political party, besides being the chief of the powerful Bugti tribe. He was killed extra judicially two years ago for demanding an end to Islamabad's loot and plunder in Baluchistan. The Bugti area produces more than $6 million in natural gas each day, but Islamabad had been giving Baluchistan about $59 million in royalty each year while the rest is pocketed by Pakistan's military and civilian bureaucracy at the point of gun. Baluchistan, which was illegally annexed by Pakistan in March 1948 against the explicit wishes of its people, was also used by Pakistan to test deadly nuclear weapons in May 1998—those tests destroyed Baluch lands. The secular Baluch people do not share Pakistan's myopic vision of hate that considers people of other religions and faiths, namely Hindus, Jews and Christians, as their enemies."

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