Awareness campaign outside Lords cricket stadium vandalized

London: Even as Pakistan defeated South Africa at Lord’s Cricket Stadium in London on Sunday, a group of Pakistan military supporters  got miffed with the posters and banners put up by Baloch activists outside the stadium. The Pakistani fans tore down the banners which highlighted the condemnable human rights conditions of the Baloch, Sindhi, Pashtun, Mohajir and religious minorities under the Pakistan establishment.

The incident occurred on Sunday outside the cricket grounds in London as the match between Pakistan and South Africa came to an end.

Notably, Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa was inside the stadium to watch the match with other senior officials when the incident took place.

The individuals who were previously said to have been seen in pictures with the army chief and other officials, removed the posters put up by the Baloch protesters which said: “Help end enforced disappearance in Pakistan.”

Reportedly, the enraged individuals also shouted “Long live Pakistan Army” slogan.

The incident was condemned by human rights and social media activists that stressed that it was a testament to the suppression oppressed people face in Pakistan.

The protest was organised by the World Baloch Organisations and Baloch Republican Party  to bring to the world’s notice the purported deplorable human rights conditions in Pakistan.

As part of the protests, activists distributed leaflets and placed digital mobile billboards  outside the stadium  in a bid to create awareness about enforced disappearances of Baloch and other ethnic/religious minorities in Pakistan.

Almost 5,000 cases of enforced disappearances have been reported in Pakistan since 2014, as per the data available with the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances. A majority of the cases continue to remain unsolved till now.

Independent local and international human rights organizations put the numbers much more higher, around 50,000 from around Pakistan. 20,000 have been abducted only from Balochistan, out of which more than 2, 500 have turned up dead as bullet riddled dead bodies, bearing signs of extreme torture.

Due to an extensive crackdown on freedom of expression regarding the issue of enforced ‘disappearances’, news of these violations rarely surface in international media channels. The military’s control over local media means anyone reporting such incidents risks falling victim themselves. International NGO’s and journalists are not given access to Balochistan where most of the cases of ‘disappearances’ have been registered. These practices have been exposed  by several international rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch,  focussing on the infamous “Kill and Dump Policy”, where mutilated bodies are found in ditches miles away from the spot of abduction.

The WBO and the BRP are non-violent and democratic organisations led by Baloch individuals, dedicated to raising awareness of the dire situation of human rights in Balochistan.