On 9 July, exiled pro-freedom Baloch leader Hyrbyair Marri announced his new political platform, Free Balochistan Movement’ (FBM) and a political campaign to expose Pakistan’s crimes in Balochistan. He said in a public statement that the first phase of the campaign will be a long march in Germany and then similar awareness campaigns will be organised in other western countries. People in Balochistan also welcomed the call by expressing their support with wall chalking and graffiti in different towns.
Since Pakistan extended and intensified its crackdown against pro-freedom political campaigners and abducted thousands of activists, wall chalking remains the only possible way for the dissidents to express their hatred of the ongoing state atrocities in Balochistan.
The long march, which set off from Dusseldorf, will end in Berlin, with a protest demonstration in front of German Parliament. It’s the first of its kind—aprotest by Baloch activists in Europe, walking more than 500 kilometres from town to town until they reach Germany’s capital. The long march reached Munster town on Wednesday. Activists and supporters join in for short sections throughout the march.
According to Elahi Bakhsh, a participant in the long march and an FBM activist, “The long march will end in a form of a protest in the front of the German Parliament, the Bundestag.” He said one of the main reasons of the campaign is that “it is not the first time that the Pakistan Army has committed crimes against humanity. They have raped and murdered millions of Bengalis in 1970s but they got away with it. They are doing the same in our country. We will do everything to expose Pakistan and its crimes, so that they will not be able to get away this time.”
Pakistan’s brutal policies, media censorship and Chinese involvement forced Baloch activists to intensify their campaign on an international level to expose the human rights violations. The media in Pakistan is controlled by the Pakistan military and intelligence agencies. Balochistan has always been a no-go area for foreign journalists and Pakistan’s military institutions try their best to censor local reports in Pakistani media that would expose their crimes in Balochistan.
In recent years, the Pakistan army has murdered more than 20 Baloch journalists. Several foreign journalists were also deported by the immigration because they reported on human rights violations.
The Pakistani media policy could be best understood by the recent encounter of Pakistan backed Islamic terrorist Burhan Wani by Indian security forces. Pakistani media portrayed him as a hero and for days they blamed India for human rights violations. On the other hand, during that same week, Pakistani forces attacked Balochistan’s town Bachila, harassed women and children, burnt down mud houses and enforced the disappearance of five innocent civilians, but not a single Pakistani media outlet covered that story.
Despite media censorship, Baloch activists are reaching to the outer world via social media platforms. To highlight the long march campaign they are utilising Twitter and Facebook. Photos, news and updates on Free Balochistan Movement’s long march can be followed on social media at #LongMarchForFreedom and #FreeBalochistanMovement.