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Balochis demonstrate in London against cultural genocide

Scores of Baloch people held a large demonstration against ongoing military operations in Balochistan–Pakistan on Sunday opposite the official residence of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The demonstration was called by the Balochistan Action Committee in association with the Balochistan Rights Movement, World Sindhi Congress and the Sindhi Baloch Forum. Balochistan straddles the Iran-Pakistan border. Balochis from both Iran and Pakistan and their British supporters were present on the demonstration to show their solidarity with those Balochis suffering state violence in Pakistan.

Spokesmen conducted interviews with Geo TV, ANI TV and other media at the demonstration. They vigorously condemned the atrocities of Pakistani Army in Balochistan. They condemned the killing of 12 innocent Baloch in custody by Frontier Constabulary as well as killing of Baloch children and women and the use of phosphorus bombs as genocidal. Demonstrators also called for an immediate end to the Kala-Bagh Dam project.

The demonstrators called on Prime Minister Blair and other world leaders for their intervention to stop Pakistan's military from committing genocide in Balochistan and urged them to send a fact-finding mission to war-torn regions of Balochistan. They also demanded the immediate release of over 4,000 extra-judicially detained or missing Baloch, an end to all military operations in Balochistan and a recognition of Baloch rights. The demonstrators gave their unequivocal support to the people of Balochistan and the victims of military action in Balochistan and Sindh. A petition letter was handed in to 10 Downing Street by a number of demonstrators.

Iranian Balochi groups such as the Balochistan Peoples Party (BPP) have formed an alliance with the Democratic Solidarity Party of Ahwaz (DSPA) to push for minority rights and devolution of power through the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran (CNFI). CNFI also includes Kurds, Azeris and Turkmen, who are working together in a spirit of mutual solidarity. Iranian and Pakistani Balochis and Iran's Ahwazi Arab population share a common struggle for recognition of minority rights, an end to persecution and economic marginalisation and devolution of power. Both the BPP and the DSPA support non-violent means to empower minorities and are urging the international community to prevent attacks on innocent civilians in both Iran and Pakistan.

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