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Foreign Policy Centre

Ideas for a fairer world


Why Balochistan Matters

Monday 4 December 2006, 11.30am to 1pm

Venue: Committee Room 12,(PLEASE NOTE ROOM CHANGE) House of Commons

This event on Balochistan, a volatile region of Pakistan is part of a series of events the Foreign Policy Centre is organising in Parliament on conflicts that receive little attention in the media or elsewhere.

Speakers include:

Ms Asma Jehangir, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Commission on Human Rights (tbc)

Mr Jaromir Kohlicek MEP, Vice-Chair, SAARC Delegation

Mr Selig Harrison, Centre for International Policy, Washington DC

Senator Tariq Azeem, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan

Mr Javed Mengal, Former Senator, Balochistan National Party

Philip Fiske, Foreign Policy Centre (Chair)

Why does Balochistan matter? Balochistan crosses the states of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran and in some ways is the 'Kurdistan of Central Asia'. Balochistan is a crucial element to Britain's relations with Pakistan and the Pakistani community in the UK. Quetta, the capital of Balochistan in Pakistan is a known hideout for Al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters.

The Balochi people believe they have been oppressed in many ways by the Pakistani government. Feudal systems of government, corruption and incompetence have lead to socio-economic backwardness and extreme poverty. NGOs have raised concerns of political incarceration and torture of Balochi political activists such as Rasheed Azam.

In addition, Balochistan's gas resources have received much attention from both Iran and China, keen to get a foothold in the province. These facts make a compelling case that Balochistan should be on the radar of the international community.

If you wish to attend, please RSVP to Alex Bigham by emailing alex.bigham[at] or calling 020 7729 7566.