Genesis of Baluchistan Conundrum
From ramparts of Red Fort addressing the nation on its 70th independence day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the concerns of human right violations against the Baloch people in their homeland, Baluchistan by Pakistan army. It gives immense satisfaction to the people of Baluchistan who have been victims of state repression of the successive Pakistani regimes. Baloch’s freedom struggle gets a fillip. After this many media experts and analysts started riveting about it both in India and Pakistan. Even a section of global media also talked about it. India’s support has changed the dynamics and unmasked the atrocities committed on the Baloch people at international arena.
Another development on these lines is the application for asylum by Switzerland-based leader of Baloch Republic Party Brahamdagh Bugti – grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti, the patriarch and head of the Bugtis, the largest tribe of Balochistan. Akbar Bugti was killed in a police action by the Pakistani state on August 26, 2006, during the presidency of Pervez Musharraf. His application is being considered by the home ministry. Another exiled Baloch leader, Hyrbyair Marri, has also expressed his desire to get asylum in India.
“A terrible war is unfolding in a faraway land called Baluchistan. Almost daily, bodies of young men, kidnapped and tortured to death by the Pakistan occupation army, end up in ditches. Others, still alive, are thrown from helicopters into the arms of the rough mountain terrain below. Yet, not a single western journalist covers this ongoing, slow-motion genocide of the Baloch people,” said Tarek Fatah, a noted Canada-based Pakistani columnist and thinker while addressing a seminar on “Baloch Nationality: Internal Colonization of Baluchistan by Pakistan” in New Delhi.
There have even been reports of the Pakistani army committing genocide so as to facilitate the implementation of the China-Pak economic corridor. Additionally, Pakistan has also been trying to inject Islamic extremism into the secular cultural fabric of the world’s oldest civilization of Baluchistan.
However, recently the spokesman of USA state department, John Kirby said US respects the unity and territorial integrity of Pakistan and does not support independence for Baluchistan. But in 2012, a resolution was moved by a group of US Congressmen calling for right to self-determination for the Baloch people, which drove Pakistan to hysteria, with its leaders from the Prime Minister down questioning Washington’s commitment to the country’s sovereignty.
Starting from the Mahabharat period, when Lord Krishna opposed the cruelty of Kouravs against Pandavas, Bharat has a long tradition of standing for the oppressed nationalities and masses. India helped Bangladesh get freedom from undemocratic regime of Pakistan. India stands tall against the subjugation of China in Tibet. Naturally enriched, Baluchistan has been illegally occupied by the Pakistani regime. Their culture, traditions, philosophies etc. are completely different from Pakistan.
Interestingly, organization like Amnesty International which claims to be the vanguard of the victims of human right violation, remained deaf and dumb on the question of open oppression of Baloch. West including the USA in particular deliberately maintains silences on the issue. But India has raised the voice for Balochs legitimate rights in the past but it was a passive approach, but 2016 will be marked as a defining moment for the Baluchistan’s freedom movement.
The Baloch have a long history of struggle against impositions by the Pakistani state. The Baloch lay claim to a history reaching back 2000 years. In the 12th century, Mir Jalal Khan united 44 Baloch tribes; in the 15th century the Confederation of Rind Laskhari was established and the Khanate of Balochistan in the 17th.
During the British Raj, Britain annexed a strip of land adjoining Afghanistan (“British Balochistan”) but beyond that did not interfere in the affairs of Balochistan so long as the Baloch allowed the British Army access to Afghanistan. The Baloch campaigned for independence during the final decades of the British Raj but were compelled to join Pakistan in 1947.
The government in Islamabad sought to subsume Baloch identity into a larger Pakistani identity. Part of its strategy was an attempt to destroy the power of the tribal chiefs and concentrate all authority in the central government. This strategy continues to this day. Even the first two constitutions of Pakistan did not recognise the Baloch as a distinct group.
Since independence, Islamabad has come into open conflict with the Baloch on four occasions — 1948, 1958, 1962, and, most bloodily, from 1973 to 1977, when a growing guerrilla movement led to an armed insurrection that ravaged the province. There are distinct similarities between the period immediately prior to the 1973 insurrection and the current situation. After the 1962 conflict Baloch nationalists began planning a movement capable of defending their national interests.
In, 2005, Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) Chief and Baloch strongman Nawab Akabar Bugti developed differences with military regime due to rampant loot of Baluchistan natural researches. The military government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf reacted with high handedness and a brutal army operation of Pakistan Army killed most revered figure among Baloch, Nawab Akbar Bugti in broad daylight. The assanination of Nawab Bugti triggered furious armed retaliation from Baloch, which is still continued.
Mazdak Dilshad Baloch, a Baloch Freeedom activist, revealed about the ‘Kill and Dump’ policy of Pakistan in a recent India Policy Foundation event in New Delhi. He said that more than 20000 Balcoh people have been abducted, killed and dumped. Women are mistreated, tortured in the camps, kids are butchered for showing their solidarity with leaders of Baloch movement. He mentioned about the internal colonisation of Baluchistan by Pakistan and how they have been successful till now to suppress the Baloch voice. He showed the determination to continue to fight till independence of all Baloch including kids, women and young and elderly people. He requested India to continue its support for Baluchistan on grounds of cultural, historical reasons and on humanity grounds. He said confidently that repression cannot deter the birth of Baluchistan.
Many Baloch leaders also say that to counter the largely secular independence struggle led by left-wing revolutionaries, the Pakistan army introduced Islamic right-wing jihadi death squads to carry out assassinations of the Baloch intelligentsia, the political leadership, journalists, lawyers and academics. The spectre of ISIS in Baluchistan is a scary development; they claim many attacks may have been staged by the Pakistan military to extract American and Chinese funds.
In the meantime, All India Radio (AIR) launched a website and a mobile application of a Balochi radio service on September 16, 2016. Although the radio service was launched way back in 1974 by AIR’s external services division, the website and application are aimed at reaching out to the Baloch diaspora settled in different parts of the world. The development of an email facility, which will help the audience send their feedback, is in progress. World must unite to end internal colonization of Baluchistan and it is hoped its birth as a new nation will be soon a reality. Struggle of Baluchistan people will not go in vain.
by Sanjay k bissoyi
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