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Europe must strongly support Mehran Marri's cause, says journalist

News Agencies | Updated on: 30 November 2017, 13:12 IST

A journalist has called on Europe to raise its voice in support of Balochistan's representative to United Nations Human Rights Commission, Mehran Marri, who the Swiss authorities have banned from the nation, and therefore, have denied the opportunity to speak as usual to the commission, for the next ten years.

Mehran, his wife and children were recently illegally detained and filed even as there were no charges against them. And the reason for all the above-mentioned was described in a document, sent to Mehran that said "his presence could affect the good relations between Switzerland and Pakistan."

Francesca Marino, a specialist of South Asia and the author of 'Apocalypse Pakistan' with B Natale, has emphasised in her article "Mehran Marri story, or the attempt to silence the voice of unrepresented people", published in 'Stringer Asia', the various measures, that carry in every line the mark of Pakistani intelligence, under which Marri is indicted.

The author brings her point home, citing Geneva had ignored Islamabad's protests in the name of freedom of expression.

She, with these assertions, substantiates that Islamabad and its military intelligence "obviously have other arrows in their bow to convince the authorities of any European country to behave in their ways."

"The name, first of all: the measure is in the name of Mehran Baluch, born in Pakistan. Mehran Marri (and not Baloch) was born in Afghanistan, is a British citizen and Pakistan has nothing to do with him," Marino states, in her article.

"The above data is generally used by the ISI to try to put its hands on one of the most active and visible voices in denouncing the violations of legality and human rights in Balochistan. Mehran is accused of being at the head of a non-existent terrorist organisation, even this in use to the fictional narrative of ISI," she adds.

Marino adds Marri is accused of marrying the sister of Brahumdagh Bugti, considered by Pakistan a dangerous terrorist.

"Strange but true, however, no one is trying to expel Brahumdagh, who was fifteen years old for the last time he was in Pakistan: Brahumdagh Bugti has been living in Geneva for years and even tough his request of asylum has been refused, he has not been expelled by the country but only requested to stop his political activities," she says.

Referring to Balochistan as another Tibet, 'ignored by most', Marino further says that Pakistan is on the path of war because of the recurring campaigns that appeared on the walls of Geneva first and later on London's taxis and buses: Free Balochistan.

Marino goes to on to establish Marri's contribution in tirelessly denouncing to the Human Rights Commission and to the entire world "thousands of missing people, mass graves, tortured and abandoned bodies at the edge of the street," and calls on Europe to not be a partner-in-crime of Pakistan in meting out this treatment to the Baloch.

The World Baloch Organisation, in a bid to spread awareness about the cause of Balochistan in the UK, had earlier launched its third phase of #FreeBalochistan advertising campaign. Under the campaign, London taxis with the words 'Free Balochistan' written on both sides were seen plying outside the Buckingham Palace, while 100 London buses carried adverts that said "Free Balochistan", "Save The Baloch People" and "Stop Enforced Disappearances".

The advertisement drew strong contempt from the Pakistan Government officials, who pressurised the British Government to remove the WBO's adverts.

But what came as a blow to Pakistan, the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) refused to take up any action against the removal of the advertisements from London's buses and taxis.

For decades in Balochistan, economic exploitation through the plundering of natural resources, and the systematic economic, social and political exclusion of indigenous Baloch people, has become a norm.

In addition to this, enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and an escalating crackdown on freedom of expression are used as covert tools to brutally repress the peaceful struggle for justice, rights and equality of the Baloch.

Reports say at least 8,000 Baloch are still victims of enforced disappearances in Balochistan, while 1,500 such victims were killed and dumped, according to human rights organisations. 


First published: 30 November 2017, 13:12 IST