Saturday, October 22, 2011
LONDON: A European organisation gave in to pressure from the Pakistani government and refused to allow platform to an influential Baloch leader, who had been raising the Balochistan issue at the UN for more than six years, Baloch activists said on Friday.The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) told Mehran Baloch that the organisation had apprehensions “from partners in working with anyone associated” him, they added.A representative of the UNPO told Mehran Baloch’s office: “I’m concerned not just for UNPO but also for the Society for Threatened Peoples, which is a strong and loyal partner and a resource that UNPO’s other members also want to be able to use.”Given the loss of Interfaith International’s Ecosoc status, said the representative in reference to the suspension of the Geneva-based NGO at Pakistan’s request, “we have to be extremely careful not to jeopardise this.”The UNPO provided platform to many other Baloch figures from various organisations but it categorically told its associates that Mehran Baloch was an undesired person.Mehran Baloch said he believed the UNPO action came at Pakistani request and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) countries, who support Pakistan on such issues.He regretted that an organisation like the UNPO had succumbed to the pressure put in by external forces and failed in its duty to “stand up for the people” it is named after. “This is a dangerous trend that the organisation advocating the rights of the people are suspended and disallowed to work,” he said.He said that Dr Charles Graves of the Interfaith International had assured him that he was looking to continue providing platform to diverse opinion as soon as the suspension period of his organisation ended but also said the pressure on his organisation was too great.
“The refusal by the UNPO to me also reflects how badly divided the Baloch activists are and why they need to show international unity for a common cause. Only our unity can defeat the aims of the minnows,” Mehran Baloch commented.