Exiled Baloch leaders, human rights defenders denounce sale of F16 jets to Pak (Update)

Geneva, Mar. 13 (ANI): Exiled Baloch political activists and human rights defenders have strongly condemned the sale of eight US-made F16 fighter planes to Pakistan as they believe Islamabad would use these jets to eliminate civilians in the resource-rich Balochistan province.

Baloch representative to the Human Rights Council, Mehran Marri, called it a ‘black day’ during an event on March 11 titled “Faces of Oppression” – Human Rights Violations in Balochistan at the ongoing 31st Session of Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“It’s a black day for Balochistan today because today is 11th of March and the US Congress could have objected this day for the sale of F16 to the Pakistani military but they did not object. And we know what carnage F16s have caused in Balochistan on the civilian population because Pakistan always uses them against the Baloch population,” said Marri.

“So, it’s a sad day and a black day in the history that more weapons of destruction have been sold to the Pakistani military which are potentially going to be used against Baloch,” he added.

Condemning the sale of arms and ammunition, especially the F16 with mountainous capabilities, to the government of Pakistan and the Pakistani military, Marri said they are purely used against the Baloch population.

“And we have seen that in the past during the Bin Laden era, the America and EU heavily arming the Pakistani army to find Bin Laden and eliminate him. But we came to know that bin Laden was sitting in their lap in Abbottabad and even that they were using it against the Baloch and now they will use against the Baloch,” he added.

In 2015, the Pakistan Army launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb to eliminate militants from areas, including Balochistan. However, the Baloch political activists blame the Army for killing innocent civilians and using bombardment by fighter jets.

“When the free world is doing nothing against it (civilian killings in Balochistan) and unbelievably is even supplying weapons to those who are perpetrating these crimes the West is actually creating a terrible situation. It’s really unbelievable that after all detailed reports, for instance, from the human rights commission of Pakistan on the excessive use of F16s in the bombarding civilian population in Balochistan that United States is just today decided to supply more F16 to Pakistan,” said Paulo Casaca, Executive Director of the South Asia Democratic Forum.

The Baloch are fighting for their sovereignty and for several years the Pakistan Army and spy agencies are involved in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of political activists and other civilians. (ANI)

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