The National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) has urged the Pakistan Government to release Saeed Baloch, who was arrested on January 16 by the Pakistan Rangers, working under the command of the Pakistan Army. "According to Muhammad Ali Shah, the Chairperson of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum and Co-chair of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples in which National Fishworkers Forum is an active member and founder, it is not known under what charges the paramilitary force has detained Mr Baloch," NFF National Secretary T Peter said in a press release here today. "Approached by Mr Ali Shah, a Rangers spokesperson, neither confirmed, nor denied the arrest of Mr. Baloch. In a statement by the Awami Workers Party, deep concern is raised over the Pakistan Rangers' continued targeting of political and social activists and workers under the guise of anti-terror operations. Human Rights defenders can be detained for up to three months without charge under the wide powers granted to the Rangers under the Anti-Terrorism Act."
"Mr Baloch was apparently misjudged as one of the terrorists. We wish to state that he is a Human Rights activist since the 1980's. He was associated with the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), that works to protect the socio-economic and political rights of the indigenous fisherfolk communities in the country, since its inception. Baloch is also one of the senior Human Rights activists of Pakistan," he said. "As the repeatedly elected General Secretary of PFF, Mr Baloch has been outspoken in advocating for ecologically sustainable and economically equitable fisheries. His commitment to a fair society is also reflected in his repeated election as General Secretary of the Fishermen Cooperative Society Employees Union. Global appreciation of Mr Balochs commitment to human rights is illustrated by continued election to the Board of the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as frequent invitations to be a Pakistan delegate at Regional and Global Assemblies of Justice Activists such as the Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development and the World Social Forum." The NFF is utterly unhappy about this stand of the Pakistan government. While we agree that is important to combat terrorism, it cannot become a pretext to arresting people who have disagreement with it. We condemn the arrest and criminalisation of Mr Baloch and call upon his immediate and unconditional release, he added.UNI DS KVV ADB 1205
-- (UNI) -- C-1-1-DL0324-551254.Xml