National Sections of the L5I:

Pakistan: Justice for Hayat Baloch and all other victims of repression!

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Solidarity with the day of action on August 22

On August 22, another wave of protests against the killing of ordinary Baloch people will be held throughout Balochistan and in Karachi, Lahore and, hopefully, many other cities of Pakistan.

It was the killing of a 25 year old student, Hayat Baloch, by a soldier of the Frontier Corps (FC) in Turbat that has led to a series of protests which will culminate in coordinated rallies on the coming Saturday.

The murder of Hayat Baloch illustrates once again the discrimination, abuse and terror that Baloch people face. Hayat was a final year student at the University of Karachi’s Department of Physiology. Because the university had been closed due to Covid-19, he had been staying in Turbat to help his parents.

On August 13, Hayat Baloch was detained together with a number of other locals by the Frontier Corps after an explosion in the town. No reason was given for his arrest and there was no reason to believe that he was involved in setting up the explosion. The reason for being taken by the security forces was simply that he was Baloch.

He was shot by a Frontier Corps Soldier eight (!) times, murdered without any mercy. This act has led to massive protests in Quetta, Karachi, the Kech district and other parts of Balochistan.

The Pakistan state authorities and the command of the Frontier Corps present this murder as an incidental accident, as if 8 shots could be anything other than deliberate. This casual disregard for responsibility underlines the FC's belief that it is above the law.

Only a few months ago, Malek Naaz, a woman in the Kech area of Turbat was shot dead for resisting an armed robbery attempt, while her four-year daughter, Bramsh, was severely injured. It is clear to everybody that such murderous gangs and paramilitaries are backed by the security services. Over recent decades, thousands of Baloch youth, intellectuals, workers and peasants have been killed by different state forces or fallen victim to forced “disappearances” – a barbaric means of reinforcing, again and again, the systematic oppression of the Baloch people.

But, as in the case of Bramsh Baloch, a nation-wide movement has emerged to demand justice for the victims of murder and repression; a movement which has put the state authorities and security forces like the Frontier Corps on the spot. The protests to express outrage and concern about the extra judicial killing of Hayat Baloch have been organised by the Bramsh Baloch Solidarity Committee in different parts of Balochistan to emphasise how this is not an isolated incident. Despite decades of threats and intimidation, more and more are coming out to show solidarity publicly.

All communists and socialists, indeed the entire labour movement and all democratic forces, need to come out in solidarity with the Baloch movement, support it and organise solidarity action and messages throughout Pakistan and the whole world. The Frontier Corps and other security services are forces of oppression in Balochistan, directed against the self-determination of the people. Their overarching aim is to ensure the interests of Pakistani and global capital, be it the IMF's programmes or China's "new silk road".

Therefore, we demand that all military and semi-military forces should be withdrawn immediately from Balochistan, KPK, Kashmir and other areas. The state authorities and services cannot be trusted to investigate the murder of Hayat Baloch and others. The students, workers and trade unions from Kech and other districts need to form their own independent committee to investigate the incident and elect workers' and popular tribunals to decide what punishment the criminals should be given.