The Baloch Liberation United Front (BLUF), which has taken hostage the American head of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for the past two weeks, spurned on Wednesday a plea of the United Nations (UN) for direct negotiations with the kidnappers for the release of the world body’s senior official, John Solecki.
The appeal was rejected by Mir Shahak Baloch, the self-proclaimed spokesman of the BLUF who called the media from an unidentified location through a satellite phone. The spokesman reiterated his organization’s 3-point demands with the government in return of the release of the UN official.
Mr. Baloch informed that the health conditions of the UN official had worsened in the past few days. They had hoped that the United Nations would take the extension of their 72-hour ultimatum as an “opportunity” to persuade the Pakistan government to release the six thousand Baloch male and 141 females kept in the state custody.
Rehman Malik, the advisor on the interior affairs, had recently termed the Baloch demands as ‘unrealistic’ and ‘exaggerated’ which seemingly further irked the Baloch leaders.
“Instead of cooperating with us, the government is trying to locate the missing persons to more secretive places in order to avoid bringing them on surface. We want the UN to formulate a team and come to Balochistan to see the actual situation about the missing persons,” demanded the BLUF spokesman.
The United Nations had on Tuesday requested the kidnappers to establish direct contact with it in order to ensure the release of its official who had been kidnapped on 2nd February after the murder of his driver, Syed Hashim, from Quetta’s cantonment area.
The BLUF, a totally new Baloch armed group, also said that it had provided full details of the missing persons to the government along with a video of John Solecki released last week. But the government was not taking their demands seriously and instead hiding the Baloch prisoners to secrete locations.
The UN officials in Pakistan have also been secretly in touch with all the leading Baloch nationalist and tribal leaders in order to seek their assistance for the release of the abducted chief of the refugee agency. A two-member team of the UN had unofficially called on the veteran Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, 90, at his Karachi residence on Tuesday. Similarly, appeals have been made by Jamil Akbar Bugti, a son of late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, Sardar Akthar Mengal, a former chief minister of Balochistan and Hairbayar Marri, a son of Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, for Solecki’s release.
Police and intelligence sources have made no progress in the recovery of John Solecki. The BLUF has threatened that if its demands were not met, it would kill the UN official.