After London, Free Balochistan advert sweeps New York
New York, Dec 28 (IBNS): After creating an impact in London, the UK, a few months ago, #FreeBalochistan posters have swept through New York city of USA.
The adverts have been put up by World Baloch organisation, one of the few groups campaigning to stop human rights abuses in Balochistan, Pakistan.
According to the group, the location was chosen purposely, to hit Pakistan where it hurts the most.
"#FreeBalochistan goes up on Times Square #NewYork
#Pakistan's crimes in #Balochistan will be exposed at the grandest stage of them all," read a tweet from WBO.
Speaking about its campaign, WBO spokesperson Bhawal Mengal stated, "Balochistan was annexed by Pakistan against the people’s will in 1948 and has been under military occupation ever since, with mass kidnappings, torture and executions by the Pakistan army. Pakistan wants to keep this hidden. We are doing this campaign to expose these abuses.”
The adverts mostly contain slogans such as '#Free Balochistan from human rights abuses by Pakistan', 'No to CPEC, the China-Pakistan project that aims to loot and plunder Balochistan' and 'Raise your voice against human rights abuses in #Balochistan by Pakistan Army'.
“Thousands of Baloch people have been murdered or disappeared by Pakistani security forces. The killings are happening right now, the American weapons that were given to Pakistan to use against the Taliban are being diverted and misused to attack the secular Baloch people, including F-16 fighter jets and Cobra attack helicopters," he said.
Mengal said that the campaign aims to educate the American citizens about the ethnic persecutions in Pakistan.
“The campaign’s goal is to raise awareness among the American public about the ethnic persecution and gross human rights violations in Pakistan-occupied Balochistan and support the Baloch people’s quest for peace and freedom. We want the US to cut off all military aid to Pakistan and hold it accountable for its crimes in Balochistan,” he said.
Attacking Islamabad, Mengal said that Pakistan is exploiting Balochistan by draining its natural resources and forcing the ethnic baloch population to live in poverty.
He added that Islamabad is also allowing religious extremists to take control and suppress the Baloch movement.
“Balochistan comprises half the land mass of the current borders of Pakistan. It has fabulous oil, gas and mineral wealth which is being exploited by Pakistan, while the Baloch people live in abject poverty. To keep control, the government in Islamabad is resorting to terror tactics and is giving free rein to religious extremists operate in the region. It is using them as a proxy third force against the nationalist movement, which has a long tradition of democracy and secularism,” Mengal said.
"Pakistan’s iron-fisted rule in Balochistan is so brutal that it will not allow journalists, human rights monitors and aid agencies to enter the region. These adverts are much needed to defend the human rights of the Baloch people and to expose the atrocities of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies," he added.
Contrary to Mengal's claims, Pakistan thinks otherwise.
Pakistani officials over the years have refused to acknowledge the movement, while claiming it to be 'anti-national' and 'malicious'.
In London, the adverts were taken down after a days.
Later reports emerged that China and Pakistan arm twisted the UK into taking down the posters.