On Pakistan’s Independence Day on August 14, dozens of Baloch and Sindhi people protested in the heart of touristy London against “artificial country Pakistan” and its abuse of ethnic minorities.
In an unusually long protest, the vulnerable minority groups staged a protest at Trafalgar Square amidst thousands of tourists, then moved to the British Prime Minister’s residence and finally converged in front of the Parliament.
A number of activist organisations from Pakistan submitted a petition to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak seeking the British government’s intervention “to save the lives of innocent people in Sindh and Balochistan”. The petitioners urged the British government to conduct an impartial investigation into the human rights violations in the two Pakistani provinces and also provide protection to human rights defenders, political activists and journalists.
On #PakistanIndependenceDay, alienated minorities condemn #Pakistan for disregard & abuse of ethnic people. Want #UK to take up the matter with #Islamabad.@SobdarBaloch_ @__SindhuDesh3 @BhargavaAmbika @asajjanhar @AmbTrigunayat @CJBdingo25 pic.twitter.com/biz388Pu7t
— Rahul Kumar (@rahulkumarindia) August 15, 2023
The petition also urged the UK to initiate diplomatic efforts to initiate a meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders and resolve long-standing grievances of the Baloch and Sindhi people. The organisations also want aid for Pakistan to be monitored and made conditional to observance of human rights.
Dr Lakhu Luhana, general secretary of the Sindhi Baloch Forum (SBF) told India Narrative that Pakistan is not a country but “is a State of the military, run by the military and for the military… people are dying because of hunger, because of malnutrition as their resources are taken. There is no recognition of the human rights of the Baloch and Sindhi people and of the atrocities on them”.
Regarding the situation of the Sindhi people, the petition said that besides enforced disappearances of political, human rights and civil rights activists… “there is a systematic campaign of terror supported by the State to coerce Sindhi Hindus to leave their motherland of thousands of years”.
The petition also mentioned how there has been a rise in the forced conversions of minor Sindhi Hindu girls and the fact that two Hindu temples were destroyed in July itself. Highlighting the gross abuse of power, the petition to the British PM said: “There has been a rise in the abductions of Hindus including children as young as five years”.
The call to protest on Pakistan’s most important day was given by the SBF, two ethnic communities converging to seek independence from Islamabad and escape abuse of the Pakistani Army.
Samad Baloch, president of the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) said that Pakistan’s ethnic communities have marked August 14, Pakistan’s Independence Day as a “black day” because it never existed as a country till India’s independence. “We had Afghanistan, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but never Pakistan. It is an artificially created State”.
Manzoor Baloch from the Baloch National Movement (BNM) said that the Baloch seek independence as the Pakistani Army has been conducting itself like a terror organisation for nearly 70 years. Baloch told India Narrative that “more than 100 bodies were discovered in Tutak in mass graves in Khuzdar district which shows how the army has been terrorising the Baloch”.
The petition provided data on the excesses by Pakistani agencies. It said: “The situation in Balochistan has been characterised by widespread extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and arbitrary arrests… only during the first half of 2023, 160 persons went missing in Balochistan after the security forces of Pakistan took them away”.
Right opposite Downing Street, the protestors shouted slogans against Pakistan as curious onlookers gazed at the spectacle. Holding Baloch flags, banners and placards, alienated people from Pakistan gave rousing speeches and recalled moments of terror, hoping for the international community to intervene.