Dawn : We are victims of war on terror: Faiz, Hyarbyar

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

We are victims of war on terror: Faiz, Hyarbyar

By Our Special Correspondent | May 7, 2009

LONDON: Faiz Baloch and Hyarbyar Marri, the two Baloch youths who had recently been found not guilty after having undergone the harrowing experience of a long-drawn prosecution on terror charges, went public late on Tuesday evening at the House of Lords declaring that they were in one way ‘the invisible victims of the war on terror’.

Organised by their lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy and attended by human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce and human rights campaigner Peter Tetchell, the ‘public meeting’ indicted both the former Pakistani military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and the British government for using the excuse of war on terror to victimise ‘freedom fighters’.

Faiz Baloch who had done nothing more than run a website dedicated to what he said the struggle of Baloch people for their rights ridiculed the prosecution’s unsubstantiated charge that they were al Qaeda men.

‘The prosecution was deceived into charging us as al Qaeda members. We are everything that al Qaeda hates. We are not extremists, we are secular and we are Muslims but that has got nothing to do with our struggle for our freedom,’ he said.

According to Faiz, the media has so far failed to report on the continuing tragedy of Balochistan because of the blanket censor imposed by the Pakistani security forces. ‘They had recently expelled two ‘nosey’ foreign journalists.’

He said development projects in Balochistan launched by the Musharraf regime were a curse instead of a blessing because he thought these projects were pretence to change the demography of the province and turn the native Baloch into Red Indians.

He was also very bitter about the nuclear tests carried out on May 28, 1998 in Chaghai and said so far the government had not allowed the WHO representatives to visit the area to find out the impact of the test on the environment and the health of the people.

Hyarbyar in his presentation said he, his brothers and their father was implicated in the murder of a judge, ‘at the time of the murder of the judge my brothers and I were in the UK. My father was arrested and his case was sent to a terrorist court but even after ten years they had not been able to unearth any evidence to get a guilty verdict’.

He traced the current intensification in what he said the security establishment’s repression in Balochistan to the alleged rape of Dr Shazia Khalid by army Captain Hammad in 2005 which he said triggered a massive public protest to quell which the army ‘went berserk’.

‘A Hindu temple in the Bugti area was attacked during this campaign in which 32 Hindus were killed,’ he alleged.

Ms Kennedy, Ms Gareth Peirce and Peter Tetchell took the UK government to task for collaborating with a military dictator and what Mr Tetchell called caving in to the blackmail of Gen Musharraf.

‘Musharraf told the UK, if you don’t cooperate with me I will not cooperate with you on terror war. So if you want Rashid Rauf then you hand me over the two Baloch youths,’ Mr Tetchell said.