Save Majid Ali 375


Glasgow City College student Majid Ali faces torture and death if returned to Pakistan. Majid Ali’s brother and other members of his immediate family have been taken and I am afraid very probably murdered by the Pakistani authorities as part of their relentless persecution of the Baloch people and desire to wipe out Baloch national identity. The UK Home Office intends to deport Majid. The people of Scotland must defend him.

There will be an emergency demonstration at the Scottish office, 1 Melville Crescent, Edinburgh at 13.00 tomorrow. I shall be going along. NUS Scotland are organising a letter-writing campaign to Scottish MPs to get them to put pressure on the Home Office. This is important.

It is appalling that London can seek to rip Majid from a Scottish community which values him, from a nation which respects its immigrant communities and their contribution, as part of Theresa May’s campaign to pander to the corporate media induced racism which regrettably has been introduced into many communities in England. It is a further example of why independence is essential to build a more ethical state.

The persecution of the Baloch has received little attention in the West. Peter Tatchell has done admirable work in trying to raise its profile in the UK, but with little traction. Like so many dreadful abuses, it is a direct result of wrongdoing by the British Empire. Baloch or Beluchistan was formally known as the state of Kelat, which Britain first invaded in 1839, destroying the city of Kelat in 1840 and murdering the ruler Mehrab Khan on the pretext he had given insufficient support to the British invasion of Afghanistan. Britain’s relations with Kelat thereafter were an appalling litany of broken treaties, culminating into the forceful and unwanted incorporation into Pakistan.

A few years ago I met the current Khan of Kelat at his home in exile in Wales and learnt a great deal about the dreadful persecution the Baloch suffer. In the course of my researches into British responsibility for the situation I cam across the crime of the massacre of Kotra. After the killing of Mehrab Khan, fighting continued until a truce was agreed with Mehrab’s 15 year old son Nasir. While the truce was in force, British forces silently surrounded Nasir’s mountain camp at Kotra and attacked before dawn, massacring 500. It is reminiscent of Glencoe, though this was a much larger massacre. In the National Archives of India I trembled as I held the manuscript order for the massacre in my hands.

We should do everything we can to save Majid Ali out of common decency, wherever he is from. But the knowledge of Britain’s historic responsibility for the situation should broaden and deepen our understanding of his plight.


375 thoughts on “Save Majid Ali

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  • technicolour

    ” I learn more from their eternal bickering than from any amount of unchallenged lecturing. Yes, they go on a bit, yes, it can be repetitive, but, hey, I’ve got a scroll wheel.”

    Fair enough! One thing, would you be very kind and summarise a few of the salient things you’ve learnt?

  • Mary

    Peter Tatchell has just been interviewed on Politics Today confirming his objections to UKIP wanting to join the Gay Pride march. He said it is hypocritical of them to wish to join in when they object to same sex marriage. I also understand that they were the only party not to address LGBT rights in their election manifesto. Farage also supports Christian B&B owners who refuse accommodation to gay couples.

  • Mary

    Tech. 🙂
    Just joking. Not meant spitefully.

    I think I will tell Farage that predictive text changes his name to garage.

  • Dreoilin

    “Spellcheck suggests Derailing or Drooling for her name.”

    Well, obviously it’s an English-language spellcheck, not an Irish-language spellcheck. It wouldn’t know B from a bull’s foot about the Irish language.

    But where is this spellcheck? It’s not on this blog, is it?

    “Still can’t make my mind up about the combine-harvester/missile launcher controversy though. Would you mind running the main points past me again, chaps?”

    I didn’t think there were any points. I thought it was a satellite photograph.

  • Dreoilin

    “I think I will tell Farage that predictive text changes his name to garage.”

    I wouldn’t Mary. That “joke” has been done to death elsewhere. If he doesn’t know by now, he’s blind.

  • Dreoilin

    “But where is this spellcheck? It’s not on this blog, is it?”

    Forget it. I just realised.

    I’m going out now. If anyone has any “joking” remarks to make, save them till later.

  • Old Mark

    ‘Britain’s relations with Kelat thereafter were an appalling litany of broken treaties, culminating into the forceful and unwanted incorporation into Pakistan.’

    Kelat was one of the four ‘princely states’, comprising most of the territory of Balochistan, and which only joined Pakistan (by mutual agreement between Pakistan and the respective princely rulers) in March 1948. Only the northern parts of Balochistan, adjoining the Durand Line and directly ruled by the British, could be said to have been incorporated into Pakistan against their will on independence in 1947.

    The princely states were promised a high degree of autonomy, a promise subsequently broken by Pakistan- but of course that is our fault, and not the fault of the successive Pakistani governments.

    On Majid Ali’s campaign I would just say three things-

    1. The HRW report Craig links to is four years old; their latest reports indicate that it is the Shia Hazara population, and not the Baluchs, who are mainly on the receiving end of government sponsored brutality.

    2. As Craig wrote in a comment yesterday- ‘Desperate people use all means to escape’. And that includes exaggerating claims of likely persecution should they be threatened with a return home in accordance with their original leave to remain.

    3, The perfectly reasonable questions raised by Abe Rene yesterday remain unanswered- and have only elicited an ad hominem knee jerk from Craig about the Racist Daily Mail

  • Ba'al Zevul

    But the knowledge of Britain’s historic responsibility for the situation should broaden and deepen our understanding of his plight.

    No argument with that, or with the plain injustice of deporting a genuine asylum-seeker to face near-certain death. However, a quick scan of Wikipedia suggests that Balochistan as a single entity has always been in doubt, up to 1955 – when the then Khan of Kelat/Kalat acceded to Pakistan. (The Khanate ceased to exist at that point). It’s an uneasy assemblage of five principalities, speaking seven languages. And that if we have to be blamed for its present status, perhaps we should factor in Timurid and Moghul empire-building too.

    I’m sure we colonial ex-rulers intended Pakistan should be a liberal democracy, and for sure al-Jinnah supported the idea. But that ran into the sand immediately, and we were nothing to do with that. Pakistan inherited the Raj legal system, (which has subsequently been modified eg, by the removal of trial by jury) – was that such a bad thing? Balochistan is very rich in mineral resources and natural gas – this was not known in Raj times, and was consequently not a consideration in asserting our control, whatever else was – but it’s known now, and the rush to exploit an unstable region by first suppressing the instability is under way.

    I personally don’t feel guilty.

  • craig Post author

    Old Mark,

    Two of Majid Ali’s immediate family have ben arrested and vanished since he came here – indeed since the Home Office process began. But the answer was very simple, if someone is in danger of torture they should not be refouled to it whysoever they are here.

    Because nobody has produced a report on persecution of the Baloch for four years by no means it has stopped. That is a ludicrous argument.

  • craig Post author

    It has though been instructive to see how so many commentators anxious to sound off on all kinds of subjects have not the least common decency to be concerned about what will happen to Majid Ali.

  • Republicofscotland

    LAST week in Westminster Alex Salmond was rebuked for calling a woman “woman”.

    Lucy Frazer, Conservative MP for Cambridgeshire South East, declared that Cromwell had the right idea as to how to deal with Scots,sell them into slavery.

    For those not familiar with the Battle of Dunbar, approximately 5,000 Scots were taken captive by Cromwell’s army. Only 1200 survived only to be sold as slaves while some were forced to fight for Cromwell in France.

    Ms Frazer’s comment was met with laughter and obvious approval by the assembled Conservative MPs.

    Ms Frazer went on to say jokingly maybe this is a answer to the West Lothian Question,again the house buzzed with laughter.

    Yet to my utter surprise (not) not one national newspapers made a fuss about the comment no great shakes from the Daily Mail,Telegraph or Express.

    Yet the unionist press jump on every little slip of the tongue the SNP make.

    Roll on independence I say.

  • Republicofscotland

    Public floggings of a freedom of speech blogger are to continue until he has been lashed 1,000 times, a court in Saudi Arabia has ruled.

    Yesterday, the country’s supreme court upheld its sentence of ten years in prison, a £175,000 fine and 1,000 lashes on 31-year-old Raif Badawi.

    A sentence of 15 years in prison for his lawyer and brother-in-law, Waleed Abu Al-Khair, was upheld in February.

    The rulings have come in defiance of an international outcry over the sentences, which intensified in January after Badawi suffered the first 50 lashes.

    Subsequent beatings were postponed after a medical report found he was not fit for the punishment, which his wife, Ensaf Haidar, believes will kill him.

    On being told his sentence had been upheld she said: “I am shocked.”

    Badawi was arrested in 2012 and charged with “insulting Islam through electronic channels”.

    This poor chap needs help as well.

    http://www.thenational.scot/world/saudi-blogger-raif-badawi-has-1000-lashes-sentence-upheld.3819

  • technicolour

    Yes, and Amnesty are really pushing poor Badawi’s case – I find it hard to damn them.

  • OldMark

    Two of Majid Ali’s immediate family have been arrested and vanished since he came here

    Craig- were these arrests, and subsequent disappearances, related to political activities (presumably Baloch nationalist inspired) undertaken by these family members ? In countries such as Pakistan, where the police are notoriously corrupt and brutal, factors other than political persecution may apply.

  • Mary

    The Scotland Bill debate looks set to be acrimonious. Cameron’s new Secretary of Scotland, David Mundell, is quite adversarial, especially when replying to Alex Salmond’s and other SNP MPs’ interventions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Mundell

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-scotland-bill-is-first-to-be-debated-in-house-of-commons

    He appears to be supported on either side by David Gauke, Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Therese Coffey, Deputy Leader of the HoC.

  • Mary

    Another YCNMIU

    False legitimacy’: Saudi Arabia hosting UN Human Rights Council slammed by watchdog
    June 08, 2015

    The decision to hold a UN-backed human rights summit in Saudi Arabia in early June, attended by the Human Rights Council’s chief, has sparked an outcry from rights organizations, claiming that the visit gave the Gulf kingdom “false legitimacy.”

    The main point of the international summit held in Jeddah June 3-4 was declared to be combating intolerance and violence based on religious belief.

    /..
    http://on.rt.com/bob8ki

  • Dreoilin

    “so many commentators anxious to sound off on all kinds of subjects have not the least common decency to be concerned about what will happen to Majid Ali.”

    It might seem that way, Craig (and maybe it is), but since I got back I’ve been tweeting about him, and there is a fair amount of coverage on Twitter (lots of students). I gather that as well as Glasgow, there were solidarity demos in London and Edinburgh.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    There may be plenty of people doing good by stealth – writing letters etc on Mr Ali’s behalf and choosing not to talk about it on here.

    Kind regards,

    John

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “In Britain, Amnesty International also gives snot-nosed posh wives in places like Chipping Norton, Bath and Winchester something ‘voluntary’ to do on the home front.”
    __________________

    Perhaps my observation of the UK social scene is defective, but I was under the impression that the amount of snot parking itself at the end of a British person’s nose was directly related to that person’s social standing?

    If that is correct, then N_’s reference to posh wives in some of the most expensive parts of England being “snot-nosed” is surely erroneous.

    On the other hand, it would probably have been correct to say that some of the low-lifes on here are “snot-nosed”.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “Another YCNMIU

    False legitimacy’: Saudi Arabia hosting UN Human Rights Council slammed by watchdog
    June 08, 2015

    The decision to hold a UN-backed human rights summit in Saudi Arabia in early June, attended by the Human Rights Council’s chief, has sparked an outcry from rights organizations, claiming that the visit gave the Gulf kingdom “false legitimacy.””
    __________________________

    Another egregious YCNMIU not mentioned by Mary is that the current membership of the UN Human Rights Council includes such bastions of human rights as Algeria, China, Congo, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria and, of course, the Russian Federation.

    Could it be be argued that those countries’ membership of the Council gives them – or their human rights records – “false legitimacy”?

  • Dreoilin

    “Another egregious YCNMIU not mentioned by Mary is that the current membership of the UN Human Rights Council includes such bastions of human rights as Algeria, China, Congo, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria and, of course, the Russian Federation.”

    You left out that shining light, the United States.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “Zaki Khalid, a Lahore-based journalist has quoted a Pakistani intelligence official saying that Israel is bent on destroying the United States by using it a proxy to provoke retaliatory attacks from Muslim countries, especially Pakistan.” Rehmat, 7:04pm, 8.6.15.

    Hmn. Would one believe anything that comes out of the mouths of Pakistani (or any) intelligence official? This is an obsession among Pakistanis, that Israel is trying to undermine the country because Pakistan has nukes (and before Pakistan had nukes, the obsession was just as strong). usually, it’s framed as an Indian-Israeli conspiracy against Pakistan. Well, perhaps everyone has their spoons in the pie of Balochistan because of its strategic importance near the mouth of the Persian Gulf. But to suggest that Baloch self-determination, or just their struggle for justice over many decades, is somehow a Zionist plot is really very inaccurate. Israel is most interested in Iran’s regional power and so de facto is likely to be on the same side as the Pakistan military-intel complex though of course that doe snot mean that their interests coincide on everything) and both are firm allies of the USA – though again with their own agendas and subterfuges. The Pakistani MI complex allegedly supports Balcholistan-based Jihadists called Jundullah (this is a different lot from the various Balochi nationalist groupings) in destablising south-eastern Iran and that is something which Israel might quite like to happen. Perhaps the unnamed Pakistani Intelligence official would tell us more about that? No?

    “The sub-rosa partnership between Zionism and communism is still a fact. As Israel drives the Arabs into the arms of the Kremlin, Israel expands, fulfilling a grand design and an aggressive plan agreed upon years ago. And like the Arabs, Americans are helpless victims in this international crime,” wrote Henshaw.” Rehmat, same post, linked from same site.

    Oh, here we go again. No doubt we’ll be hearing about the Protocols of the… Who exactly is Henshaw? What is his provenance?

    The sub-text and overt text of all this reads thus: ‘It’s the Jews!!’

  • Suhayl Saadi

    When in relation to Balochistan, really it’s more like, “It’s the Pakistanis!”

    Meaning, the Pakistani regime/junta – ‘Military Inc’, as Ayesha Siddiqa called it. the same guys who (with a lot of help from the USA/UK/Saudi Arabia et al) brought us the so-called ‘Mujaheddin’ nd later, the so-called ‘Taliban’ and the ‘Pakistani Taliban’ and all the nutters who claim to be fighting for Kashmir (but who really don’t give a toss about Kashmiris) and later…

  • Suhayl Saadi

    And far from being ‘a Zionist plot’, “the creation of Bangladesh in 1971” was mostly a direct consequence of the cultural oppression of the Bengali people of East Pakistan from 1947-70 and later, in 1971, the genocidal actions of the Pakistani military junta. The USA under Nixon supported the Pakistani military junta in its actions, btw. Btw, those actions were directly aided and abetted in East Pakistan by the goons of the Jamaat-i-Islami, the main Islamist political party of Pakistan which was influenced centrally by the idea s of Maulana Maududi, one of the Ur-nutters of global Islamism and one of the worst things to come out of South Asia.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    You see, it is this mystification, this kind of tendency to turn all things Jewish into (as in ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’) the ‘Thrush’ of the world – and believe me, this is normative in many educated and uneducated Pakistani communities, everywhere – which actually detracts from valid and rational criticism of the actions of the state of Israel (or indeed the rational arguments which seek to question the tenets of the ideology of Zionism). Once we start hearing about big (a)historical plots involving Lenin (who, btw, also was descended form Central Asian Muslims, so maybe Bolshevism was a Muslim plot!), Comrade Zinoviev (he of the fake letters), David Ben-Gurion and Lenny Bruce, alarm bells begin to ring and the whole possibility of rational criticism of Israel gets swallowed up and made nigh impossible.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_from_U.N.C.L.E.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Excellent posts, Suhayl, it’s (almost) always a pleasure to read you.

    Re your last post: you say “this is normative in many educated and uneducated Pakistani communities, everywhere” – to which I would merely add “and, unfortunately, on many blogs” (no names, no pack drill, eh! 🙂 )

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thanks, Habbabkuk – much appreciated.

    No Masonic handshakes though, please! Ever had one of those? I think I have. Oh, it’s a little freaky. 🙂

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