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July 10, 2015

Baloch leaders keep low profile in UK


July 10, 2015

LONDON: Three exiled Baloch leaders have said that they don’t fear being extradited to Pakistan in exchange for the suspected killers and planners of Dr Imran Farooq who are currently being jointly grilled by British and Pakistani authorities.
But it can be confirmed that Khan Suleman Khan Dawood, Hyrbyair Marri and Mehran Baloch have not done any public activity in the UK in many months now and it’s believed that they have been asked by the UK government agents to lie low and not do anything that upsets Pakistan.
Mehran Marri has continued to hold meetings on Balochistan at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), where he is Balochistan’s representative, and at the European Union headquarters in Brussels but Mehran has not done any activity in the UK for nearly two years. He is a British passport holder but has preferred staying away from London, complaining that he gets harassed at the UK airports extensively and without any reasons.
Hyrbyar Marri, Mehran’s elder brother and the hardliner nationalist leader, has held a series of meetings including demonstrations across London but has not been seen doing anything public in over a year. A demonstration was held in London a few weeks ago but it remained a low key affair and nothing else has been done at the UK level in a long time. Previously, Hyrbyair Marri’s supporters held almost weekly events and ran campaigns but that’s not happening anymore.
Khan of Kalat didn’t do much at the public level in UK but his associates took part in meetings and demonstration and ensured their presence but they have notbeen seen involved in any Balochistan-related activity in many months. Khan himself has not attended any public meeting in London or anywhere else in over a year and has preferred meeting his friends and supporters privately, either in Cardiff, where he lives with his family, or London, which he visits routinely.
There is no official confirmation of this but the issue of

Baloch leaders living in the UK on asylum – and being involved in Balochistan affairs, including instances of sabotage in some cases - had arisen during the last visit by Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif. The army chief was accompanied on that visit by senior military/intelligence officers, including DG ISPR Asim Bajwa. He had told reporters that Pakistani delegation had held extensive talks with the UK authorities over the issues of concern but he didn’t reveal anything further.
Background information collected by this correspondent suggests that UK government has told the exiled leaders to lie low and don’t do anything which could invite the ire of Pakistan. It has been learnt that Hyrbyair Marri has been told to inform the UK authorities in advance if he is to hold any public meetings, demonstrations or congregations. A source said that a clear message has been sent to the Baloch leaders to be careful as they are being watched.
Speaking to this correspondent, the Baloch leaders refused to confirm if they had gone slow on the instructions of the UK government but they didn’t have a plausible answer as to why they were very active at one stage and then there is almost total silence for many months, leading to speculations that its part of the strategy by the Baloch leaders to not raise their heads above the water as UK actively seeks the handover of two men – Kahsif Ali Syed and Muhammad kashif khan Kamran, and possibly Moazzam Ali Khan too – so that they could be prosecuted here in relation to the high profile murder case of the former MQM leader, Dr Imran Farooq murder case.
The recent visit to Pakistan by Scotland Yard counterterror chief Richard Walton has given rise to suspicions that Pakistan and UK are at the advanced stages of cooperating and that the wanted men could be handed over for trial here in near future. A team of Scotland Yard is currently in Pakistan interviewing the suspects, according to Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar.
In March 2007, it emerged that former military ruler Pervez Musharraf had asked the UK government to swap Mehran Baluch for Rashid Rauf, the British Pakistani terrorist then held in Rawalpindi. Rashid Rauf was later killed in a drone attack and since no evidence was presented against Mehran Baloch, he was not arrested by the Scotland Yard but his monitoring was increased to such level that he has lived mostly in Dubai ever since. He had previously spent around 20 years in London.
Mehran Baloch confirmed that he gets stopped at European airports all the times by the intelligence services and questions are asked of him about his political activities. “I have nothing to hide. I do my political work in public and all of it is well documented. It’s for the rights of Baloch people. I am being monitored all the time, in everything that I do. I would have been taken to task by now if I had done anything wrong or illegal. There are no grounds on which I can be extradited to Pakistan.”
Hyrbyair Marri said that he had been previously charged and put on trial and “I won my freedom and clearance in an open court of law where it was declared that I have never been involved in any terrorist activity. The police are most welcome to arrest me anytime if they wish but they should know that any trial will take place in an open court and there’s nothing that can be produced against me just because I have done nothing wrong. Dr Imran Farooq’s killing is altogether a separate matter. Dr Farooq’s murder case and our work should not be confused.”
Khan of Kalat denied that he has been put under any kind of restriction by the UK government. When asked why he has not done any political or public activity in the UK in many months, he replied: “We have been in touch with the UK, American and European governments to explain our point of view. Dr Imran Farooq killers should be handed over to the UK so they can be tried. They have committed a crime on UK soil and the police say it has evidence. I have not done anything wrong so there is no question of me being extradited to Pakistan. I am a law abiding citizen of this country (UK) and I can never think of breaking the law of the country.”

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