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Canada condemns Baloch persecution, FM Baird tells A.F.B.

Canadian foreign minister and member of parliament John Baird has said his country condemns persecution of the Baloch and has assured a premier pro-independence Balochistan group in Washington DC that Canada is concerned over reports of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in Balochistan.

“Thank you for your email of April 24, 2014, concerning the violations of human rights suffered by the Balochi community in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” Baird informed the American Friends of Balochistan. “The Office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has also forwarded to me your email on this issue.”

The A.F.B. founder had written to the Canadian prime minister and foreign minister and had thanked them over Canada’s principled stand on Balochistan and urged them to take the lead to support the right to self-determination for Balochistan.

Baird said the promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canada’s foreign policy. “Canada stands up for human rights and takes principled positions on important issues to promote freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, Baird said, emphasizing, “Canada has noted with concern the reports of forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in the province of Balochistan.”

“The Government of Canada strongly condemns acts of persecution on the basis of ethnicity or religion, and shares international concerns about the treatment of Pakistani communities, including the Balochi group,” Baird said. “The Government of Canada takes every appropriate opportunity to discuss with the Government of Pakistan that country’s international human rights obligations and commitments as well as the need to ensure the safety and well-being of all its citizens, regardless of ethnicity or religion.”

He said at the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan in October 2012, Canada recommended that Pakistan take strong and appropriate measures to bring to justice the perpetrators of such unacceptable attacks against activists and human rights defenders.

Though Baird said Pakistan accepted all of Canada’s recommendations, “signifying its commitment to addressing these human rights issues” since the country os a rogue state it is continuing its tsunami of human rights violations in Balochistan to punish the freedom-loving Baloch people.

Baird said Canada recognizes the struggle of those who are fighting for human rights not just in Pakistan, but around the world.

“On March 14, 2012, I had the honor of awarding the John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award to the late Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s former federal Minister for Minorities. Braving multiple threats to his safety, Mr. Bhatti worked tirelessly to advance the rights of all Pakistani religious communities. With this award, Canada honored the memory of Mr. Bhatti, whose determined efforts in the struggle for equality, justice and freedom cost him his life,” the Canadian foreign minister said.

Baird assured the A.F.B. the Government of Canada will continue to monitor the human rights situation in Pakistan and urge Pakistani authorities to respect their international human rights obligations.

The A.F.B. is the only Balochistan related group in North America that believes in equal rights for both Baloch men and women and has been in the forefront to expose the culprits who tried to hush up the honor killing of Canadian Baloch female Shaher Bano Shahdady in Scarborough three years ago.