U.S. Supplied Bunker Busting Bomb Killed Bugti, Says Amnesty Amnesty

T. Kumar International Outreach Director of Amnesty International, was speaking at a panel discussion Human Rights in Balochistan: Some International Perspectives at the George Mason University School of Public Policy Friday afternoon.

A leading official of the Amnesty International Friday said that Pakistan used U.S. supplied bunker-busting bombs and sophisticated listening devices to track down and kill former Balochistan governor and chief minister Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, 79, in fall 2006.

T. Kumar International Outreach Director of Amnesty International, was speaking at a panel discussion Human Rights in Balochistan: Some International Perspectives at the George Mason University School of Public Policy Friday afternoon.

The panel discussion was moderated by Dawn correspondent Anwar Iqbal, who has interviewed president Obama, former president George Bush and terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Without naming Owais Ghani, a point-man of the Inter-Services Intelligence who was former Balochistan governor, Kumar said the former Governor of Balochistan admitted using sophisticated American weapons against people in Balochistan.

He said the weapons supplied to Pakistan to defeat the Taliban were used in Balochistan, in stead.

Kumar described Balochistan as Pakistan’s highly militarized region.
“The U.S. government owes a responsibility to protect the human rights of the Baloch people,” Kumar said.

Kumar blamed the U.S. multi-national corporations, rather than the U.S. government acting on its own, for trying to cover up human rights abuses in Balochistan as any U.S. sanctions would impinge on corporation’s business interests.

Kumar said after the Congressional hearing in February, Amnesty received hate calls and emails but said the hearing was the best thing that could happen to Balochistan.
The hearing was called by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, chair of the House Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations.

The premier American Friends of Balochistan had lobbied hard for the historic hearing.

Kumar regretted that two missing persons were killed and dumped in Balochistan Thursday.

“Women and girls as young as 12-years have been forcibly disappeared,” says Amnesty International.

He said Pakistan security forces have become so brazen that they forcibly abduct people in broad day light but then deny it.

The Amnesty International also criticized the Baloch militant outfits for carrying out extrajudicial killings of innocent civilians.

“Never kill innocent Punjabis,” Kumar made an impassioned appeal to the Baloch militants

He regretted that Amnesty International has also recorded militant attacks on Punjabi teachers in Balochistan.

Kumar expressed his serous concerns over the killing of Shia Hazaras by the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, which he described as an outside group. However, many secular Baloch admit the group has recruited scores of Brahuvi speaking Baloch.

In his talk, former Balochistan assembly speaker Waheed Baloch, who is now an American citizen, said he strongly condemns killing of innocent Punjabis, but he said Islamabad was using the “dirty tactic” of Punjabi settler killing to divert attention from the bleeding wounds of Balochistan.

“Pakistani army blows out of proportion the issue of settler killings to belittle Balochistan’s national question,” Waheed Baloch said.

He said in the past four uprisings against colonial rule, the Baloch never touched a single civilian in their midst.

Waheed Baloch said Punjab is landlocked and is no longer agriculturally rich and out of fear it may not be able to feed its people, wants to usurp Balochistan resources.
He accused Pakistan of promoting religious radicalization in Balochistan to maintain its stranglehold.

The former speaker of Balochistan assembly said since the Supreme Court is a part of Pakistani system, it won’t help the Baloch.

He said all Pakistani intelligence agencies are acting as one body in Balochistan.
He said unlike the U.S. the senate in Pakistan is toothless and all the money is in the hands of the national assembly where members from the Punjab outnumber Balochistan ten times.

The former speaker said the conflict in the province is not about development or poverty but about self-rule and the right to decide one’s fate.

Former senator and member of national assembly, Sana Ullah Baloch, addressed the panel on Skype.

He said 10,000 people have been killed in the present conflict that started after General Pervez Musharraf seized power. He said 300 people killed in landmine blast.

In addition and as many as five dozen top Baloch leaders have been killed extra-judicially.
He called these Baloch killings as part of the Talibanization process underway in Balochistan.

“The social indicators in Balochistan are worse than drought-hit regions in Africa,” Sana Baloch said.

He said instability in Balochistan could have devastating impacts for both the U.S. and the European Union.
Sana Baloch asked the U.S. and E.U. to facilitate a dialogue between the Baloch and Islamabad.

In his talk Baloch Hal editor Malik Siraj Akbar said in addition to Pakistan secret services as many as 16 different militant groups have endangered journalists’ lives in Balochistan.
“In the last three years as 22 journalists have been killed in Balochistan, including two who were also human rights activists with to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan,” he said.

Akbar said Baloch militants were also guilty of targeting journalists.

American Friends of Balochistan founder, who helped put the panel discussion together, in an appeal for realism said he appreciated former chief minister Sardar Akhtar Jan Mengal for holding out an olive branch to Islamabad and said this was a great political and diplomatic victory for the Baloch cause.

He said Mengal’s six-points serve as a blue print for safeguarding human rights in Balochistan.

He urged the Baloch to weigh their options realistically.

“The Baloch must decide which party or leader, Mian Nawaz Sharif or Imran Khan, can best serve to protect their rights and work with the one they chose,” he said, adding, “This happened in the case of Eritrea when they helped an Ethiopian leader win power. That leader then helped Eritrean independence.”

Kumar of Amnesty expressed his delight that Anwar Iqbal moderated the Friday panel.

Laurie Deamer of the American Friends of Balochistan came all the way from York, Pennsylvania, to attend the event.

Prof. Jessica Heineman-Pieper, who helped host the event, thanked all the attendees.

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