Voice for Baloch Missing Persons delegation barred from attending conference in USA

Thursday, March 5th, 2015 11:54 pm

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Pakistan Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has detained leaders of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons at Karachi airport on Wednesday and placed their names on Exit Control List (ECL) barring them from travelling abroad.

Farzana Majeed Baloch, the General Secretary of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, Abdul Qadeer Baloch, the vice chairman of VBMP and another female activists Faiqa Baloch were invited by Sindhi Academic and Cultural Society (SACSNA) of North America to participate in a conference on human rights violations in Sindh and Balochistan.

According reports the VBMP leaders were detained for more than three hours and subjected to mental torture and intimidation by Pakistani security forces.

The SACSNA’s is scheduled to be held on 7 March where activists from Sindh and Balochistan will highlight the ongoing human rights violations against Baloch and Sindhi people.

The VBMP delegation have been issued US visas and they had made all the necessary arrangement for travelling to New York via Dubai but when they arrived at FIA counter at Jinnah International airport in Karachi, they were told that they cannot travel abroad because their names were on ECL.

Farzana Majeed Baloch and Mama Qadeer said the Pakistani security personnel told them that they were involved in ‘anti-state activities’ and that there was an FIR against them as well.

The Express Tribute quoted Qadeer Baloch as saying: “They [FIA] officials told us that Farzana and I could not leave the country as our names have been placed on the exit control list [ECL],” Qadeer told The Express Tribune. “They even stopped Faiqa as her visa was issued in my name.” He added that the FIA officials also off-loaded their luggage from the plane. “They forced us to stay at the airport for at least three-and-a-half hours until the plane flew off, during which time they mentally tortured us,” he alleged.”

Farzana Majeed told media outlets that she had visited Dubai only a month ago without any problem.

However, on Wednesday when she went to Karachi Jinnah International Airport Karachi after check-in, members of FIA told her: “You are on the ECL, you people are in anti-state activities so we cannot let you (go),” she told AFP.

“I am not an anti-state activist, I am only a human rights activist,” she explained.

The VBMP activists vowed to continue their struggle against enforced-disappearances and challenge the travel ban on the court of law.

Meanwhile the International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons have strongly condemned the Pakistani security forces’ discriminatory act against Baloch Human Rights activists and demanded for immediate removal of their names from the ECL.

The IVBMP said the VBMP leaders should be free to move and campaign for the safe release of thousands of abducted Baloch activists.

The HRCP (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan) has also criticised the denial of foreign travel to the rights activists and said: “Apart from the obvious denial of the freedom of movement, the decision to prevent them from traveling abroad is bound to add to the sense of deprivation felt by the Baloch.”

Farzana Majeed Baloch, Mama Qadeer and Nasrullah Baloch have been campaigning for the safe release of thousands of abducted Baloch activists from the platform of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons – an organisation which they set up in 2009.

According to VBMP Pakistani security forces abducted more than 18,000 Baloch and over 1,600 have been killed in custody under the notorious ‘kill and dump’ policy of state.

In 2013 the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons have organised a long march from Quetta to Islamabad via Karachi. Both Farzana Majeed and Qadeer Baloch along with two dozen other activists including women and children walked nearly 3000 Kilometres in 107 days to reach Islamabad.

However, after more than one year of long march the abductions and kill and dump of Baloch activists sees no end. The state security forces relentlessly continue the military operations, arbitrary arrests and other human rights violations.

 

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