Fridays For Future, a youth-led global environmental campaign, highlighted the issues facing Balochistan on social media and demanded an immediate end to the “oppression” and “exploitation” of the Baloch people. The rights campaign said that the evils prevailing in Balochistan today – enforced disappearances, kill-and-dumps, brazen episodes of unchecked violence – stem from the fact the Baloch have been “oppressed” and “militarized” in their own land.
Inspired by the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, Fridays For Future has been campaigning against climate change and highlighting a myriad of other related issues confronting the world. The movement, led by the youth around the world, also highlighted the plight of Balochistan in one of their recent social media posts. The movement said: “We stand in solidarity with the people of Balochistan against the Oppression, colonialism & the exploitation of their natural resources which resulted in huge human rights Violation and led people to suffer, many Indigenous communities have been internally displaced”, declaring that “Balochistan’s fight is climate justice.”
The campaign said that Balochistan used to be an independent, sovereign entity that was established in 1666. But then it was invaded and divided into three parts that are now under the control of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. The campaign said that Balochistan is the land of the Baloch people, and the latter struggled to regain their sovereignty. “The Baloch nation rejected the occupation of Pakistan and started resisting the foreign invaders . . . Pakistan began carrying out violent military offences to quell the Baloch liberation struggle but it never succeeded.”
Fridays For Future said that approximately 47,000 people have gone ‘missing’ in Balochistan in the past two decades, including women, children and the elderly. Mass graves of the Baloch missing persons have been found.
“Pakistan is committing mass human rights violations in Balochistan by bombing civilians, displacing indigenous communities, burning their homes and abducting activists.”
The campaign said that media personnel and journalists cannot visit Balochistan without permission from the army and activism, in all its forms, has been banned. Journalists daring to cover the human rights violations in Balochistan have been brutally murdered.
“Despite all parts of Balochistan being rich in natural resources, natural gas and copper its inhabitants, the Baloch people, are the poorest, underdeveloped, and most exploited group of people in the region”, the campaign said.
The grassroots movement said there are billions of tons of copper and gold in the resource-rich mountains of Balochistan, but the locals have no access to it – the Pakistani state, in collaboration with foreign companies, is mining these resources without giving the locals a penny.
“We demand an immediate end of Oppression and request the human rights groups to raise their voices against these severe form Injustices”, the group said.
The environmental campaign’s comments come days after the incident in Balochistan’s Chaghi district that shook people to their core. The Pakistani security forces twice opened fire on a group of peaceful protestors in Chaghi, injuring more than a dozen in the process. The locals were protesting against the killing of a driver by the Pakistani security forces in the Panch Raik area near the Afghan border. The forces had confiscated the vehicles of the drivers and forced them to walk several hundred kilometres back home on foot in the scorching summer heat. Three drivers died due to dehydration and exhaustion while attempting the journey.
Videos showing the dead bodies of the drivers lying in the desert spread like wildfire on social media, spurring waves of condemnation and demands for justice.
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