Swiss government has slapped “entry ban” on exiled Baloch leader Mehran Marri which is valid for ten years.
It is learnt from credible sources that the ban was placed on request of Pakistani government which handed over a dossier to the government of Switzerland alleging that Mehran Marri – who is widely known as Mehran Baloch – has links with militant groups in Balochistan.
On Thursday, Mehran Marri arrived at the Zurich airport with his wife and four children when he was stopped by the immigration officers. Sources told that Swiss government’s foreign ministry officials met him and handed him over a dossier of 8 pages explaining why his immigration into Switzerland will not be allowed. Swiss government sources have confirmed that the “lifetime entry ban” on Mehran Marri was placed on 9th of November.
Mehran Marri was arrested and detained as soon as he reached the airport with his wife and family, Swiss government sources confirmed. The source said that Mehran Marri has the right to appeal against decision of the Swiss government but “for now his entry is banned”.
Sources told that Pakistan’s Foreign Office has been in touch with the Swiss authorities about Mehran Marri and his brother-in-law Brahumdagh Bugti who lives permanently in Geneva on asylum. Both had announced that they will hold a major conference on Balochistan in the Swiss capital on 18th of November to bring together various Baloch leaders from Europe to announce a joint strategy.
Baloch sources confirmed that Mehran Marri was on his way to Geneva for the conference when he was denied entry by the Swiss government. A Baloch source confirmed that Mehran Marri refused to accept the charges levelled against him and told the immigration authorities that he will appeal against the decision of Swiss government. He told the immigration authorities that there is no proof of his association with any violent group and allegations against him are political. A source in Pakistan Foreign Office said that the “dossiers” given to the Swiss government have full account of activities of both Brahumdagh Bugti and Mehran Baloch. He said that action against Mehran Marri was important.
Mehran Marri, a leading figure in Baloch nationalism, has always insisted that he has never been involved in militancy and has no link with the BLA. He says he has only supported only political struggle and has never been charged on the complaints against him.
This isn’t the first time that Mehran Marri has faced trouble with immigration authorities while travelling in Europe but “lifetime entry ban” is the biggest action by any government against him. He has been stopped regularly at various European airports in the past.
In March 2007 it emerged that that then government of Pervez Musharraf sought the extradition of Mehran Baluch from the UK government in exchange for the return of Rashid Rauf, a 26-year-old from Birmingham who was involved in terror plotting against Britain.
Musharraf had also called for the extradition of Mehran’s brother Ghazain Marri who also lived in London at that time. Mehran Marri’s brother Hyrbyair Marri lives in London with his family and has kept a low profile. Mehran Marri, a British national, has been holding events regularly in Geneva and Brussels and has been active at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva for nearly two decades. His entry ban deals a blow to his activism. He has been previously arrested in London but released without any charge.