Monday February 18, 2019

Free Balochistan: Understanding its struggle movement against the oppressive Pakistan Rule

Read to know more details about Baloch people's relentless struggle against the regime since 69 years

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Map of Pakistan. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Balochistan constitutes almost half of Pakistan (44%) and is home to around 14 million people
  • By virtue of its strong natural resource reserve, it is a key energy supplier to many regions
  • There have been mass killings, rape and blood baths in the region which have made Balochistan call for International intervention

Sipping on some coffee, I watch an anchor from a leading portal interview Naela Qadri Baloch, the face of the Baloch struggle. She makes a rookie mistake by calling her a Pakistani. Tch Tch. The rage isn’t visible on her unreadable face but her words, “Humein Pakistani kehna hamare liye takhleef ki baat hai (It’s painful hearing someone call us a Pakistani)” elicits an apology from the interviewer. In a matter of minutes, Naela pours her heart out and talks about the struggle of the entire Balochistan. From the rapes to the 25,000 missing cases to the bodies found chopped off for Organ trafficking, her blow-by-blow account of what goes on in Balochistan will give you goosebumps and will definitely send chills down your spine.

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Naela Quadri Baloch. Image source: Twitter.com
Naela Quadri Baloch. Image source: Twitter.com

Activists fighting for a cause are usually backed up by a single group, but in this case, Ms. Quadri says, she has the support of an entire nation. Here are the principal facts of a soon to be an independent nation, has been penned down-

History-

On March 27,1948, the Pakistan Army was ordered to make its move of aggression towards the coastal regions of Balochistan. There’s a lot that went about leading to that day of conquest, from Jinnah accepting the accession under the barrel of a gun to the Balochistan parliament rejecting the accession as the British Empire had given an Independent status to the then country under the Kalat reign even before India. Unfortunately, the Pakistan military occupied Balochistan and their independence lasted for about 227 days after the British withdrawal.

Understanding Balochistan’s Importance-

The land mass named Balochistan is of the size of Texas, constituting almost half of Pakistan i.e. 44 percent. Amongst a myriad of reasons, there are three well-talked areas that make Balochistan economically and strategically, an important resource for Pakistan.

https://twitter.com/India4Baloch/status/766830219126771720

I. Natural Resources

By virtue of its strong natural resource reserve, it is a key energy supplier to many regions in Pakistan. Large quantities of minerals such as copper and iron ore are found in the reservoirs. The Geographical Survey has discovered reserves of 200 million tonnes.

II. Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline

Balochistan shares its border with Iran, a major gas and oil producer and this fact has been leveraged by Pakistan. There has been a proposed 2,100km long Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline part of which will pass through Balochistan, which is estimated to be around 1500km.

III. Gwadar Port

The Gwadar port is expected to generate billions of dollars in revenue due to its strategic value. It’s the shortest route for oil supplies to China and passes more than 13 million barrel oil per day.

Current Day Balochistan-

Exploitation of its natural wealth and military atrocities has led Balochistan to follow the path of Independence like Bangladesh. Naela Qadri in her recent interview with a leading news portal said that the Pakistan army has wiped many villages by killing men or torturing them after their abduction leading to a land filled with thrown corpses. On the other hand, the Baloch women are victims of Army rape cells.

Even in the face of such horror, Balochistan’s struggle against the Pakistan rule has been relentless. 

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India’s take
Hue and cry about Balochistan’s plight is all over social media. With support from the Indian mass and PM Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech on August 15, the future of Balochistan seems to be optimistic. Modi said, “Today from the ramparts of Red Fort, I want to greet and express my thanks to some people. In the last few days, people of Balochistan, Gilgit, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir have thanked me, have expressed gratitude, and expressed good wishes for me. The people who are living far away, whom I have never seen, never met – such people have expressed appreciation for Prime Minister of India, for 125 crore countrymen. This is an honour for our countrymen.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan has been wrongfully accusing India; the Pakistan government reported a case of an Indian spy entering Balochistan with a fake Iranian passport but these claims have been refuted by Ms. Quadri.

– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

 

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  • Rustam

    How long can India stoop. Thank God the mask Is coming off for the world to see. This isnt Gandhis India. This is RSS Hindu India showing its true colors. Bunch of clowns. Go ask the people of Kashmir, Nagaland, Assam, Punjab (i can go on and on) about “freedom” from India. U have 600 million people without toilets and you stick your nose in other countries business. What a joke. Im Balochi, we are Pakistani stop trying to create division in our land. The Pakistan china economic corridor will be built NO MATTER WHAT. Keep sending spies, terrorists and the lot, we baloch and Pashtun of this area know how to handle invaders. Please come.

    • pravth

      hahhahahha…Porkistan is now crying…hahahhaha… dont worry, we will take back POK…we will surely free baloch…In Kashmir..onlt muslims are crying…plz take them to porkistan as mujahhirs…. Naga Assam and Punjab…heehe.. no one wants freedom… you know nothing Baby..hahhah

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  • Rustam

    How long can India stoop. Thank God the mask Is coming off for the world to see. This isnt Gandhis India. This is RSS Hindu India showing its true colors. Bunch of clowns. Go ask the people of Kashmir, Nagaland, Assam, Punjab (i can go on and on) about “freedom” from India. U have 600 million people without toilets and you stick your nose in other countries business. What a joke. Im Balochi, we are Pakistani stop trying to create division in our land. The Pakistan china economic corridor will be built NO MATTER WHAT. Keep sending spies, terrorists and the lot, we baloch and Pashtun of this area know how to handle invaders. Please come.

    • pravth

      hahhahahha…Porkistan is now crying…hahahhaha… dont worry, we will take back POK…we will surely free baloch…In Kashmir..onlt muslims are crying…plz take them to porkistan as mujahhirs…. Naga Assam and Punjab…heehe.. no one wants freedom… you know nothing Baby..hahhah

Next Story

Activists In Myanmar Push To End Police Brutality

The European Union is spending 30 million euros on a five-year project launched in 2016 to help Myanmar’s police become a “modern” force

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Myanmar, Police
Police officers stand in position to block activists during a rally in Yangon, Myanmar, May 12, 2018. VOA

Aung Soe Htike tried to ask for an explanation when police in Yangon handcuffed him and put him in a car one evening in November of last year.

But instead of answering, the small business owner said the officers told him to shut up.

He told VOA he was taken to a police station, where two or three men waiting for him in a back room locked him in.

It was only when they showed him CCTV footage of a man stealing a phone that he understood why he was there. The thief in the video looked similar to him; he and the thief were wearing shorts.

He said he told the officers they had the wrong man, but it was of no use.

For about four hours, Aung Soe Htike alleged, uniformed and plain-clothed police subjected him to violent interrogation techniques that he described as torture.

Myanmar, Police
Defendants look out from a police truck as they arrive at a district court, in Yangon, Myanmar, Dec. 15, 2017. VOA

Aung Soe Htike’s case is one of dozens in the past year that have revealed the methods Myanmar’s military-controlled police force uses to extract confessions.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a local rights group, said “physical and mental torture” is “systematic” across Myanmar’s interrogation centers.

“They made me sit in a stress position, they accused me of theft, they swore at me, they beat me,” said Aung Soe Htike. At one point, he added, an interrogator held him in a choke hold and told him “you will die tonight” before forcing him to confess.

His wife and some friends came looking for him at the station, and finally managed to secure his release after convincing the township police colonel that he had been wrongfully arrested.

Police at Yangon’s Ahlone township station declined to comment on the incident when contacted by VOA.

Colonel Myo Thu Soe, a spokesperson at Myanmar Police Force headquarters, said he was unaware of Aung Soe Htike’s case but that police interrogations were “transparent” and interrogation rooms were monitored with CCTV cameras.

Myanmar, Police
Daw Aye holds a photo of her son, who died after being taken into police custody last year (J. Carroll/VOA)

“Torturing suspects is not allowed under police regulations,” he said.

The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, a nominally independent body tasked with investigating abuses, handled 29 allegations of torture by police last year, including five where suspects died in custody.

Commissioner Yu Lwin Aung said he has passed Aung Soe Htike’s case to the home affairs ministry, which oversees the police force, with a recommendation that they take action against the officers involved. The ministry’s spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

But Aung Soe Htike said there has been little progress, and is not confident an internal investigation will deliver justice.

Daw Aye is still waiting for answers after her son, Aung Aung, died in police custody in September last year.

When she visited him in prison before his court hearing, she told VOA, he recounted officers kicking him in the chest and back and Tasering him during interrogation.

Police
Activists gather at a rally, calling for the release of imprisoned Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, one year after they were arrested, in Yangon, Myanmar, Dec.12, 2018. (VOA)

He was arrested on suspicion of stealing a car battery, a crime she says he was innocent of. Then as he emerged from a police van at court two weeks later, he collapsed and was dead within hours.

Yu Lwin Aung said the human rights commission has referred this case to the home affairs ministry but has yet to receive a response.

It’s a similar story for Tin Tin Aye, who said she watched as a group of police beat her son, Khaing Min Wai, when they arrested him in June.

They took him to a police station, and the next morning she saw his dead body at the hospital, with marks and cuts on his face, she told VOA.

Mon Mon Cho, a lawyer who is advising Tin Tin Aye, said accountability is key to preventing more cases like this in the future.

“The government must take action against these violent people,” she said.

Even though a civilian government came to power for the first time in decades following a huge electoral victory in 2015, the country’s military-drafted constitution still puts the generals in charge of three key ministries, including home affairs.

Journalists appeal got rejected
Reuters journalists Wa Lone, left, and Kyaw Soe Oo, who are based in Myanmar, pose for a picture at the Reuters office in Yangon, Myanmar, Dec. 11, 2017. (VOA)

For Aung Soe Htike, ending the military’s grip on the police is key to tackling a culture of violence and impunity. Until that happens, efforts to train officers in human rights will fall flat, he said.

Also Read: 1,700 Child Soldiers Reunite With Their Parents In Myanmar

The European Union is spending 30 million euros on a five-year project launched in 2016 to help Myanmar’s police become a “modern” force that “adheres to international standards, respects human rights and maintains gender awareness.”

But Aung Soe Htike said, “It doesn’t matter how much money the EU spends on them, it won’t make a difference unless the Myanmar Police Force is separated from the military.” (VOA)