Activists of the Baloch Republican Party protest over abduction of women by the Pakistani army (Photo: Rahul Kumar)
The Baloch Republican Party (BRP) organised a demonstration near the British Parliament against Pakistan's policy of kidnapping Baloch women. The protest highlighted gross human rights violations by Pakistani security forces against the Baloch community which is seeking independence from a nation it finds exploitative.
In sweltering heat, on Britain's hottest day this summer, over a dozen volunteers and activists of the BRP gathered at Westminster Bridge on Friday evening. They shouted slogans, "Pakistan stop abducting Baloch women" and "Save Baloch women".
Mansur Baloch, President of the BRP-UK and Europe, along with other activists (Photo: Rahul Kumar)
The activists stood out amidst a sea of foreign tourists and holiday-makers thronging the Westminster Bridge and Big Ben tower, on the banks of the Thames river. Inquisitive passers-by stopped to chat with the protestors and seek more details.
Mansur Baloch, President of the BRP-UK and Europe, told India Narrative that Pakistan is abducting women from all over Pakistan and they are holding the protest to ask the international community to intervene in Balochistan. Referring to the Bangladesh liberation war of 1971, he said that Pakistani security forces are still abducting women and torturing them as it had done with the Bengali women decades ago with a view to teaching the Bengalis a lesson.
Baloch said that Pakistan has come down heavily on students because they do not want educated students to know about their history and struggle. He said: "The young generation wants justice and wants to be free. Pakistan wants to torture them to stop their voices of independence. Baloch students, journalists and teachers all want independence. The Pakistani government and army is scared of the young baloch students, therefore is crushing them so that they do not ask for their rights".
The protestors held placards saying, 'Balochistan zindabad', 'Release missing Baloch women', 'Stop killing Balochs', and 'stop abduction of our Baloch sisters'.
Abdullah, a Baloch activist from London said that Baloch women are taken into custody, tortured and beaten by the Pakistan Counter Terrorism Department (CTD).
Abdullah, standing up for the rights of the #Baloch women tells @india_narrative that the #Pakistani govt does not want women & students to think independently. #Pak fears the Baloch… pic.twitter.com/kQPf0tbCjg
— Rahul Kumar (@rahulkumarindia) June 19, 2022
He added that the Pakistani forces are rampantly indulging in extra-judicial arrests of Baloch youth from the universities of Karachi and Lahore. He said that the reason for abducting women is that Pakistan wants to create an atmosphere of fear among the Baloch people.
Abdullah said that this policy of instilling fear among the Baloch women has boomeranged as the community is becoming resolute over seeking independence. He said that because of enforced abductions, women are now joining the independence movement in large numbers and are becoming a strong resistance force in Balochistan.
The Baloch community is present in the UK in miniscule numbers as compared to the Pakistani diaspora, but the large number of Baloch organisations keep up the hustle by way of protests, advocacy and lobbying with British parliamentarians.
The protest at Westminster was joined by Baloch students and academics, many of whom had come from outside London.
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(India Narrative spot report from Westminster Bridge, London)