Balochistan freedom protests in New York
A digital board carrying messages on atrocities in Balochistan in New York.Twitter

Balochistan activists held protests in New York on Thursday, September 26, accusing Pakistani army of atrocities in the region. The protests happened ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's scheduled address to the United Nations General Assembly.

Highlighting the country's abuse of power in Balochistan, the protesters said Pakistan is a threat for the entire world. "Pakistan is a virus not just for India, Afghanistan or Balochistan, but for the entire world & humanity" the Central Council Member of Free Balochistan Movement, Shams Baloch, was quoted as saying by ANI.

"We aim to expose the real face of Pakistan before the world & let the world know that Pakistan is a blot on humanity," Baloch added. 

Balochistan freedom activists also organised trucks carrying digital ads in New York with messages about atrocities against migrants in Karachi.

Former Karachi Mayor Wasay Jalil said that the atrocities committed against Mohajirs, the Muslims who migrated from India after the partition, has been going on for decades. "We have lost more than 25,000 lives & there have been thousands of forced disappearances. We want to apprise the world of our situation caused by Pakistan," he told the news agency.

On the issue of Pakistan's repeated efforts to internationalise the Kashmir issue after India abrogated Article 370, the Chairman of Voice of Karachi, Nadeem Nusrat said: "Pakistan should fix its own home & stop killing its people."

"They are talking about Kashmir but at the same time they are involved in large scale human rights abuses in Karachi, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & other parts of the country."

Baloch campaign

Reports of disappearances and severe human rights abuses by the military in the region were presented before the United Nations in Geneva on September 10 by the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC).

Last week, Baloch leader Mehran Marri accused the military of raping two women in the region in August.

Recalling Pakistan military's violent operation to curb Bengali nationalist movement in the then East Pakistan in 1971, he stated: "Pakistan Army is notorious for its policy of rape & pillage like they conducted Operation Searchlight in Bangladesh. It is resorting to same policies in Balochistan now."

According to a statement released by BHRC, the council had called Balochistan the "most deprived region within Pakistan". It also said the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has further exacerbated the deprivation.

"What has been officially lauded as an effort to promote bilateral connectivity, investment, and trade initiatives has actually functioned as state-sanctioned cultural extermination," it said.