This blog has long been critical supporter of Baluch Liberation as well as the other oppressed nationalities of Pakistan. We have been writing against the injustices , murder and torture of the Baluch people. A large number of Pakistani progressives hold the Baluch nationalist cause very dear to their heart. A whole generation of Pakistani progressives have been trained in NAP where they have worked closely with Baluch nationalists and Marxists. We have also been writing about the “post-nationalist” turn of Baluch resistance and its unfavourable implications on Baluch cause. This blog has showed its concern on kidnapping of Mr Solecki and the disturbing aspects it may represent for Baluch cause.  The fact that Vetran Baluch leader Mr Kher Bux Marri has appealed for the release of Mr Solecki and so far it hasnt been given a positive response : our fears about the “real captors” of Mr Solecki are slowly gaining grounds. Asian Human Rights Commission has now appealed for the release of Mr Solecki. We want to remind the Baluch resistance that Asian Human Rights Comission has been a friend of Baluch people. They have highlighted the plight of Ms Zarrina Marri and other Baluch Captives , we appeal that Baluch resistance must listen to its friends. Acts of individual terrorism have never been hallmark of Left wing liberation struggles. The Baluchs have always been democratic progressive people, we appeal to them to release Mr Solecki and save Baluch cause from a bad name. It will have serious consequences on Baluch cause. We also appeal that Pakistani authorities should unconditionally release thousands of Baluch political prisioners from their torture cells. We condem in strongest possible terms Pakistan’s colonialism in Baluchistan, we strongly condem People’s Party’s government’s lack of interest in these cases and the foolish denials by Interior minister Mr Rehman Malick.

Shaheryar Ali

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AHRC-STM-038-2009 February 20, 2009

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

Mr Solecki with family

Mr Solecki with family

PAKISTAN: Appeal to the abductors for the release of UN officer Mr. John Solecki, who heads the United Nation’s refugee agency UNHCR’s Quetta office in Pakistan, was abducted on 2nd February, 2009, by a militant group, fighting for political autonomy of the Southern province, Balochistan. He has still not been released. The group, the Balochistan Liberation United Front (BLUF), is demanding the release of 6,000 disappeared people by the state intelligence agencies including 141 women who, according to the group, are still being held in Pakistan military torture cells in exchange for Mr. Solecki’s release. During the period from the 2nd February to the date of preparing this statement, the Pakistan authorities have not made any serious efforts to secure his release. Instead, the advisor of the prime minister on interior affairs, while holding the position of federal minister on a visit to the capital of the Balochistan to meet with the provincial authorities, has refused to meet the demands of the group. He claims that there is only a list of 800 missing persons, and that it is incomplete, with only 200 names verified as officially disappeared. The minister in question has also challenged the claim of the captors that 141 were in custody of security agencies and has rejected the list of the women as unrealistic. After two days of the statement of the federal minister, on Monday the 16th February the group, BLUF, gave 72 hours for its demands to be met before the UN official would be killed. But due to an appeal from Mr. Harbiyar Marri, a Baloch nationalist leader seeking asylum in England, the captors have postponed their deadline indefinitely. In the meantime, on the 13 February, a local television channel, the Dunya News, telecasted footage of Mr. Solecki, blindfolded, in which he asked the government of Pakistan to meet the demand of the captors. Almost 18 days have passed since his abduction but the government has not made any moves to talk to the parliament of Balochistan, nor to the nationalist groups who are seeking provincial autonomy according to the constitution of Pakistan. The newly elected government is following a similar policy to that of the former military dictators with the Balochistan province, by making it a colony of the federal government. During the one year the elected government, there have been reports of more than 500 persons arrested by the state agencies and their whereabouts are unknown. After the kidnapping of the UN official the security agencies have arrested about 150 persons and their whereabouts remain unknown. The government has promised several times to initiate probes into the matter of military operations in the province and the cases of disappeared persons, but nothing has been done to even start a dialogue with nationalists groups or political parties. The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the government to secure the release of the UN official and immediately start a dialogue with the militant group holding him captive. Denying the legitimacy of the missing persons list will not help in securing the release of the UN official. The government should also announce the formation of a high powered judicial commission, which will probe the cases of missing persons, and in particular, allegations of Baloch women held in military torture cells and used as sex slaves. The AHRC appeals to the BULF to release Mr. John Soleck, head of the UNHCR, based at Quetta and provide him with medical facilities. Any harm to him in captivity will not serve any purpose, for the cause of legal and constitutional movement, or for the fundamental rights of the Balochi people. The AHRC hopes that Mr. Soleck will be released immediately and that the government will take a rational approach to the matter of the rights of small and neglected nationalities.

# # # About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984

Asian Human Rights Commission 19/F, Go-Up Commercial Building, 998 Canton Road, Kowloon, Hongkong S.A.R. Tel: +(852) – 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) – 2698-6367