The shifting policy on Balochistan must be continued further
Balochistan under the Pakistan`s control is much richer in terms of natural resources and far larger (in terms of area) than any part of Pakistan . But irony is that Baluchistan is the least developed region of Pakistan. The people in the region also faces wrath of Pakistani establishment. Human Rights Watch`s world report 2015 states “The human rights situation in Baluchistan remains abysmal. Despite the May 2013 election of a civilian government, the military retains all key decision-making functions in the southwestern province and has blocked efforts by civil society organizations and media to cover ongoing violence there.”
The ( Human Rights Watch`s world report 2015) report is based on events occurred in 2014. The report further said “Enforced disappearances of Baloch who are opposing Pakistan`s atrocities linked to the security forces continued with impunity. On March 18, plainclothes gunmen later identified as belonging to Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps allegedly abducted Zahid Baloch, chairperson of the Baloch Student Organization-Azad in the provincial capital, Quetta. Baloch’s whereabouts and safety remained unknown at time of writing.”
Farzana Majeed, a Baloch, has painted the same picture of cruelty and human rights` violation against Baloch people. In Karachi delivering lecture on “Baloch Missing persons and the Role of State and Society” he says, “History of disappearances is as old as the history of colonization of my motherland. It goes back to illegal occupation of Balochistan by British Empire in 1839. But the worst tragic episode of state enforced disappearances in Balochistan began from 1948 onwards. It was when the newly formed state of Pakistan invaded independent Balochistan and forcefully annexed it to its territory.
He adds “The truth is increasing number of disappeared Baloch political and human rights activists is a reflection of Baloch resistance against colonialism and occupation. Only and only for this reason, Pakistan has carried out five major military operations in Balochistan since 1948. In each of these catastrophic operations thousands of Baloch people including women and children have been killed and hundreds of thousands more were forced to flee their native towns and villages. Among these victims are those many thousands who disappeared without any trace. The inhumane act of disappearances, target killing and kill and dump of Baloch activists by state functionaries continues.”
The Pakistani establishment`s atrocities is not only being committed against Baloch people, their atrocities are also rampant in Balochistan against the Hindus, the Christians, the Hazaras and the Pashtuns.The Hindu was ruler of Balochistan region before the invasion of Arab in 712AD. A Columnist Muhammad Akbar Notezai of the Daily Times(A Pakistan daily news paper) says in his column “The Balochistan Hindus` dilemma” that under the Yar Muhammad Khan (the chief ruler of Kalat State) Hindus were getting their due respect and economic & religious freedom. That is why Hindu did not leave Balochistan during partition. The columnist expressed shock on dangerously living condition of Hindus in Balochistan. Even they can`t perform their religious practices. IANS reported referring to a Pakistan`s Private Channel, Nearly 35 Hindus were killed when dictatorial rule of General Pervez Musharraf launched operation against Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti a former governor of Balochistan & head of Bugti tribe. The report disclosing the reason says Bugti used to keep the Hindus in proximity to his legendary fort in Dera Bugti to safeguard them from criminal elements. That is why many children, women were killed.
When Prime Minister Narendra condemned the human right violations in Balochistan in all party meeting, the world-wide Balochs started giving thanks to PM Modi and hoped his further support. Increasing atrocities by Pakistani army on Baloch and rising involvement of China with the help of Pakistan government for exploiting rich natural resources and strategic location of Balochistan, have forced Baloch to see towards India with hopeful eyes. Earlier the Baloch are being labeled by Pakistan`s army as agents of Afghanistan and Iran. Now, Pak army harasses Baloch by labeling them as Hindu (Indian) agent. A report in caravan (July, 2014) by Mahvish Ahmad, a Pakistani writer, explains the story of atrocities being done to Baloch. On the suspense of a Hindu agent hiding in a remote village of Balochistan named ‘Mai’Pak army shelled the mud houses of the village. Mahvish reported ““It was as if the earth was on fire, and the sky was raining bullets.”
The root of the atrocities by Pakistani army goes back to March 27, 1948. Kalat(most of the Balochistan then known as Kalat) a princely state of Balochistan after independent of nearly seven and half months lost its independents to Pakistan as first Indian prime Minister Nehru denied King of Kalat`s request to accede Kalat to India. As a result Pakistan forcedly occupied Kalat. Kalat`s king (Mir Ahmadyar Khan) had sought help from Nehru and expressed desire to accede the state to India to avoid Pakistan occupation. London based think tank’ The Foreign Policy Center’ cited an AIR broadcasting on march 27,1948 that VP Menon in press conference stated that the Khan of Kalat had been pressing India to accept Kalat`s accession. When Pakistan forcibly occupied the region, King of Kalat (Balochistan) under Pak military pressure denied that he had proposed such deal to India. And Pt. Nehru also denied such proposal. May be Pt. Nehru denied as he could not take decision on time and wanted to save his face from criticism inside India. When Britishers were leaving India, King of Kalat argued referring to 1867 treaty that Kalat was different from 560 princely states of India. It had direct relations with Whitehall (London).Actually Balochistan wanted status like Nepal. But Pakistan`s forced annexation and Indian leadership`s silence shattered the dream of Baloch. Unlike Modi`s ‘Neighbor first’ policy Nehruvian foreign policy always preferred neighbor last. He never took frontiers issues seriously.
China, under the guise of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, started intrusion in Balochistan. Under CPEC, Pakistan surrendered approximately 2,000 acres of land in Balochistan to the Chinese government for the development of Gwadar port. The port was officially leased to China for 43 years, until 2059. The objective of this port and corridor is to exploit rich natural resources and with the help of China, to crush the brutally aspiration of Baloch people. For China, apart from exploitation of natural resources, gas, it is also strategic location to counter the Indian influence in Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Central Asia.
Recently India is shifting policy on Balochistan & PoK should not be limited to India. The Indian leadership must raise the issue on all international forums.
(The writer is on Editorial Board of Kamal Sandesh)