NEW DELHI: Mehran Marri, one of the prominent Balochhuman rights activists, was detained along with his wife and two children by Swiss immigration authorities at Zurich airport on Thursday night. Marri has been placed under a lifetime ban on entering Switzerland at Pakistan's behest.
In a series of tweets, Marri last night informed that he and his family had been detained illegally. From the detention room, Marri tweeted, "If it had been Pakistan or China, I would have shrugged it off, but I never imagined Swiss Authorities would take mug shots of my 4-yr-old and seven-year-old children as detainees." Several Baloch activists on Twitter shared the pictures of his distressed children in the detention room.
Holding Pakistan responsible for his detention, Marri tweeted,"The long arm of the Pakistan's billionaire Army Generals sure reach far beyond their bank accounts. I have now been informed that I have been placed under a lifetime ban on entering Switzerland at the request of Islamabad. So much for the Geneva UNHRC being the world capital of human rights."
Friends, I have been detained at Zurich Airport for the last few hours and feel I am under arrest by Swiss authorities on request of the Pakistan Govt.
My wife and children are also with me in detention.
Don't worry, being detained is nothing new for the Baloch... (1/2)
Marri's detention drew lot of condemnation from Balochistan freedom movement activists on social media. Canadian author Tarek Fatah censured Swiss authorities and tweeted, "Shame on you #Switzerland. You do not deserve to host the UNHRC." Fatah believed that Marri had been detained by Pakistan to sabotage the November 18 summit of Baloch leaders in exile in Zurich.
Hammal Haidar Baloch, leader of Baloch National Movement said that it was disappointing that a democratic country had detained a political activist on the request of "a rouge country like Pakistan that has extra-judicially killed thousands of political activists for simply asking for the independence of their land." Founder of Pakistan's MQM Altaf Hussain also lashed out at Pakistan's persecution of Baloch people and detention of Marri.
The Swiss chargesheet, a copy of which TOI received from sources, said Marri was "a Pakistani national of Great Britain and leader of the United Baloch Army (UBA) terrorist organization."
A close friend of Marri, Tarek Fatah, said the chargesheet was completely fabricated since Marri has never been a Pakistani national and is not a member or leader of the UBA. "Mehran is the unofficial representative of the Baloch at UNHRC and EU precisely for the reason that he is not linked to any specific group," Fatah said.
(2/2)... My father spent many years in far worse conditions, but never have up.
The peaceful & legal struggle for an independent #Balochistanfree of Pakstani occupation shall continue no matter what the Punjabi generals & babus of that excuse of a country plan. We'll persevere
I hv now been informed that I have been placed under a lifetime ban on entering Switzerland at the request of Islamabad. So much for the Geneva UNHRC being the world capital of human rights.
I am still in detention at Zurich Airport with my wife and children. Stay tuned 4 more
Marri was born in Afghanistan and has never lived in any part of Pakistan ever. He went to school in UK and then spent a few years in Russia with his first wife, a Russian woman (now divorced). Marri is a UK national who lives in Dubai UAE as a businessman and heads no political or military organization called UBA The chargesheet also claimed that the UBA "collaborated with the terrorist movement Balochistan Republican Army (BRA) under Brahmadagh Bugti." The authorities in the chargesheet pointed out that Marri was married to Bugti's sister and accused Marri of being in close contact with Bugti. "If Marri was able to enter Switzerland to work with Brahamdagh Bugti and coordinate terrorist operations, it could jeopardize the internal security of the country," the chargesheet said.
However, Bugti, who is founder and leader of Baloch Republic Party (BRP) and not BRA, has been living in exile and freely in Switzerland. "Really shocked that Mehran Marri was stopped at Zurich airport and banned to enter Switzerland on Islamabad's request. How a neutral country like Switzerland can do that. Looking forward to meeting with Swiss authorities," Bugti tweetedThe peaceful and legal struggle for an independent Balochistan, free of Pakstani occupation, shall continue no matter what the Punjabi generals and babus of that excuse of a country plan, Marri tweeted.
If it had been Pakstan or China, I wd have shrugged it off, but i never imagined Swiss Authorities would take mug shots of my 4-yr-old and seven-year-old children as detainees.
The long arm of the Pakistan's billionaire Army Generals sure reach far beyond their bank accounts.