In a series of international reactions, the European Union Ambassador to Pakistan, Riina Kionka, the Norwegian Embassy in Pakistan, and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai have expressed serious concerns over the treatment of Baloch protesters by Islamabad Police.
Riina Kionka, the European Union Ambassador to Pakistan, voiced deep concerns over the handling of the Baloch Long March in Islamabad. In a statement on ‘X’, Ambassador Kionka referenced the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), stating, “Deeply worried by reports of mishandling at #BalochLongMarch2Islamabad.”
She emphasized that the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association are guaranteed under the ICCPR, to which Pakistan is a signatory. This agreement is crucial for Pakistan’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) status with the European Union.
The Norwegian Embassy in Pakistan also condemned the Islamabad Police’s handling of the protesters. Their statement read: “Norway is worried over yesterday’s reported handling of the demonstration in Islamabad by protesters expressing their concerns over alleged human rights violations in Balochistan.”
Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai expressed solidarity with the Baloch women. In her statement, Malala said, “I stand with my Baloch sisters who are demanding accountability for enforced disappearances. It is their right to protest peacefully, and their voices must be heard.”
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg also expressed solidarity with the Baloch protestors in Islamabad. Taking to the microblogging site ‘X’, Thunberg wrote: “Climate justice activists all over the world stand in solidarity with @MahrangBaloch_ and other peaceful protesters who have been detained, tortured and disrupted by Islamabad police for protesting against human rights abuses in Balochistan. #MarchAgainstBalochGenocide“
Prominent Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, after attending a session at the Islamabad High Court, spoke to the media, criticizing the state’s treatment of the Baloch. Mir reported witnessing police brutality against the Baloch women and condemned the state’s action of forcibly sending the Baloch protesters back to Balochistan, treating them as foreign refugees rather than citizens. He stated, “The state, by deporting the Baloch, is sending a clear message that Balochistan is a separate country.”
These statements come in the wake of a police crackdown on the Baloch Long March in Islamabad. The march, which started from Turbat, was aimed at protesting against the “Baloch Genocide,” enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. As the march reached the outskirts of Islamabad on December 20th, participants, including women and children, faced police violence, resulting in numerous arrests and preventing them from reaching the Islamabad Press Club.