Dead silence on Awaran Operation

Monday, July 27th, 2015 11:21 pm

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Pakistan military backed by gunship helicopters and fighter jets started a military operation in many regions of district Awaran Balochistan on 18 July, 2015 – the first day of Eid-ul-Fitar. The most badly hit areas include Wehli, Lakko Kach, Mullah Haji Ziarat, Zerak, Gwaro, Neeltaaki, Bashog and Maalaar. So far according to reports from social media activists and independent sources more than hundred people have been killed in past 10 days of continuous military operations and most areas of Awaran remain under military siege. The state run Pakistani media and international media largely remained silent on this carnage and as usual relied on sources from military to report the situation.

The state of Pakistan put a military embargo on media from visiting the affected areas in order to conceal its crimes against humanity and the violation of international laws in Balochistan. Observers in Balochistan believe that Pakistan will not end the military siege of Awaran and surrounding areas until it removes the dead bodies of innocent people they killed in indiscriminate bombardment on villages. The military also will do its utmost to eliminate all the evidence of its use of excessive force against non-combats to avoid any international outcry.

People in the region fear that the number of casualties may see a dramatic rise as there are no medicines for injured people and there is also danger of outbreak of illnesses because of the decomposed bodies that have been laying around for more than a week now. There are also reports of scarcity of water and ration and other basic necessities of life for isolated people in Awaran because the military has blocked all the exits and entrances to the region.

The urgency and seriousness of the matter can be gauged by a recorded video of a female survivor which was posted on social media on Sunday. The transcript of her video reads a following:

“They [Pakistani army] abducted us four women with 7-8 children. Our children were thrown into the river in woods and jungle. Then came the flood, we don’t know whether our children are alive or drowned. And we don’t know about the fate of the killed ones whether the flood took them away. They have made our lives miserable. We even can’t breathe. What is our guilt? It is a tyrant state [Pakistan]. They have abducted innocent people.

“They can’t go after the ones fighting but they come and kill us innocent and poor people and beat and harass children and women. We kept there [in army camp] for two night. We four women were abducted with the children. Then they threw us in a river. We were dying of thrust and hunger. We barely made it after this misery and reach here. Our children were dying of thrust. What is our guilt? We are not Sarmachaar [freedom fighters]. We were not in fight with them. They should find their enemy by themselves. They should not beat and kill innocent and poor people.

“We have four villages in which almost five or six thousand people used to live. We don’t know how many of them are killed and how many are surviving. Pakistani army burned down our houses and huts. Our clothes were burned down. Nothing is left for us. All our crops are gone. We are destroyed. What should we do? Where should we head to? Show us a way out. The people army abducted are our young boys and old men. What are they going through, where are they. Died of fear? Killed? Army did not even let us to get the news of those they have killed.”

Even though the Awaran operation is the worst state brutality of its kind so far but it is certainly not the first military operation in Balochistan. Earlier Pakistani forced conducted operations in different regions of Balochistan including in Kohlu, Dera Bugti, Sibbi, Bolan, Mastung, Noshki and other region killing several innocent people including women and children were killed. Moreover, Pakistani forces have literally turn Balochistan into a military garrison where Baloch people have to pass several check points and face humiliating body searches when they travel from one city of Balochistan to another.

The recent escalation of military operations in Balochistan, especially in Makuran region is linked with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) where Pakistan is trying to assure China that its people and investment in Balochistan will be protected. The army chief General Raheel Sharif visited Panjgur and Turbat on Saturday to ‘inspect’ the road work on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He vowed that the work will be completed at all costs. The Baloch pro-freedom parties and activists translate Raheel’s warning of ‘all costs’ the cost of Baloch lives and more military operations in Balochistan.

The Baloch Sarmachaars (freedom fighters), on the other hand, have warned China not to invest its wealth in ‘controversial projects’ in Balochistan, they are also adamant to stop the exploitation of natural resources of Balochistan in the name of development. They vowed to resist any attempt of demographic changes in Balochistan to turn the Baloch nation into a minority in their own land.

At such crucial moment in Balochistan’s history where the Baloch are struggling for their survival and Pakistan is adamant to crush the Baloch freedom movement ‘at all costs’ in word of General Raheel Sharif,  the silence of international community and international media is basically providing support and succor to Pakistan army to continue its atrocities in Balochistan with impunity. The international humanitarian organisation should urgently raise the issue of Pakistani military operations and abductions in Balochistan. They must also ask for immediate access to Awaran and other regions of Balochistan to witness ‘Baloch Genocide’ taking place.

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