Sunday February 18, 2018
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Should India openly extend its support to Baloch nationalists?

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Balochistan separatists
Balochistan separatists
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  • Yajush Gupta

Balochistan is currently a part of Pakistan, comprising 46 % of the total land of the country and is blessed with great natural resources. But the demand for ‘azadi’ (independence) has been intensifying.

Credit: TheLineoffreedom.com
Credit: TheLineoffreedom.com

Balochistan has always been on India’s mind when it comes to Pakistan. However, more than ever, Balochistan can now be much more than India’s negotiating card to contain Pakistani proxy terrorism. For the first time, leaders and activists of Baloch independence are seeking for tactful, diplomatic and moral support from India undisguised.

Baloch leaders- in pursuit of their freedom movement-  have tried to highlight Pakistan’s “genocide” in Balochistan and have stepped up Publicly seeking support from New Delhi. They have also tried to push the theory that supporting Balochistan is also in India’s interest: a free and independent Balochistan will act as an antidote for the Pakistan-China anti-India coalition.

In a recent write-up, a political commentator Mr. Kanchan Gupta explains why India must stand by Balochistan in its struggle for freedom. He argues:

“Great nations and rising powers have to be risk-takers. The inevitable backlash of supporting Balochistan’s liberation war will no doubt be huge. But if Mrs Gandhi, prime minister of an impoverished nation, could turn up her nose at what the world thought, surely Narendra Modi, prime minister of the fastest growing economy, can do likewise”

Although apart from a flimsy evidence of a youtube video, allegedly claiming an individual to be an Indian spy operating at Balochistan and few other evidence of youtube links where a Baloch rebel declares India as an ally, there is not much of a confirmation about India’s involvement in Balochistan.

Mr. Kanchan Gupta further states:

India’s position on Balochistan has been, at best, ambivalent. Notwithstanding the arrest of an Indian national (Pakistan claims he is a “RAW agent” and was arrested on its side of the Goldsmith Line; there are credible claims he was arrested by the Iranians and handed over to the ISI), it would be silly to imagine a grand Indian conspiracy in action. New Delhi has long been incapable of doing what Mrs. Indira Gandhi did in 1970-71″

Pakistan’s largest province of Balochistan was comprised of 4 princely states – Kharan, Makran, Las Bela and Kalat. The leader of the most powerful unit of Balochistan was The khan of Kalat who attempted to declare sovereignty from the Pakistan’s gruesome regime in 1948. Since then there have been several attempts by the Balochistan liberation army for greater regional autonomy for the province of Balochistan (also referred to Baluchistan).

The decision by India to get into a MoU with Iran for the development of the strategically important Chabahar port can be very useful for India. This gives India presence around Balochistan, literally encircling Pakistan. If India decides to support Balochistan cause openly, it would distract Pakistan from interfering in Kashmir.

Another important question that arises is the kind of approach India should hold on to safeguard its own economic and security interests. Should India Openly acknowledge it or keep it discreet and support it tactfully. On this, Kanchan says:

One possible option is for India to declare moral and diplomatic support for the freedom movement in Balochistan, while calling for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. A successful Balochistan policy premised on India’s historical association with just causes would also lead to the forging of a successful Pakistan policy”

As far as Human rights abuses in Balochistan, India should look to incline towards diplomatic methods and backend support, the same way Pakistan is endorsing movement in Indian Kashmir.

There is no denying the fact, that supporting Balochistan would be a huge step for Modi’s government and shaping its foreign policy towards its closest neighbor Pakistan.

  • Prepared by Yajush Gupta of NewsGram. Twitter @yajush_gupta

 

 

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  • S. SUBRAMANIAM BALAJI

    how about logistics ? giving moral support would not work on ground….bullet has to match bullets …nothing else will….given pakistan’s corrupt administration we need to exploit it too for undermining pakistan in all spheres …

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American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump’s Tough stand on Pak

The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) issued a statement Monday welcoming Donald Trump's stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

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Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons
Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons

Washington, D.C.– The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) Executive Committee issued a statement Monday welcoming the President’s stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

The AFB said President Donald J. Trump has called out Pakistan’s constant bluffs with the US and pointed out a big chunk of American assistance was used against people of Balochistan in a secret, dirty war instead of the Taliban.

Khwaja Wali Kirani in Balochistan. Wikimedia Commons

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” President Trump first tweet of 2018 reads.

The tweet was loved by nearly quarter-million Americans and retweeted 83,000 times in less than 24 hours.

The AFB executive committee said the US remains Pakistan’s top foreign aid donor, in addition to the money paid in expectation of cooperation in the Global War on Terror. Yet, for many years now, serving officers in the US Armed Forces have repeatedly spoken out about Pakistan’s perfidy in Afghanistan, which has cost the US lives, money and strategic credibility in the world’s eyes. Pakistan also remains a training ground for terrorism and a prime proliferator of nuclear weapons technology.

No country’s development and democracy have suffered more from Pakistan’s interference via state-sponsored terrorism than Afghanistan. US efforts to help the Afghans rebuild their nation are constantly sabotaged by reeling instability. India is another well-known target.

The AFB said Balochistan is a region rich in natural gas. It that has seen several bloody cycles of insurgency ever since Pakistan forcibly annexed the autonomous Baloch state of Kalat in 1948 in violation of a Standstill Agreement. A portion of historical Balochistan also sits on the other side of Pakistan’s border with Iran. Further, it borders Afghanistan to the north-west. Pakistan’s brutal record in this strategically located province that forms the northern lip of the key Straits of Hormuz has spiked in recent years.

“People of Balochistan tried their very best to work with Pakistan’s false promises of integration after forceful accession, but instead gave genocide to Balochs,” said the statement.

The AFB monitors the situation in Balochistan closely and is in touch with freedom and democracy activists on the ground. The AFB reiterated their call to the Pakistani government to cease violating the physical security of Baloch people, their freedom of expression, and end the policy of economic exploitation and genocidal violence.

A slow-motion genocide in Balochistan has claimed the lives of 35,000 Baloch people, 6,000 of whom were buried in mass graves while 21,000 are Victims of Enforced Disappearances, according to the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. “The enforced disappearances situation in Balochistan is no different than what it used to be in Chile and Argentine in the 1970s and 1980s,” the AFB executive committee noted.

The AFB executive committee chimed in with similar sentiments expressed by policy experts in academe, veteran politicians, diplomats, intelligence chiefs, and human rights activists. Among them were former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, leading South Asia expert and former Pakistani ambassador Hussain Haqqani, several Baloch freedom and human rights activists cutting across party lines, former head of Afghanistan’s Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh, and even normally fierce critics of President Trump’s administration such as Prof. Christine Fair, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

The AFB executive committee consists of Jane Eastwood Weisner, Najeeb Khan, Krishna Gudipati, Soumya Chowdhury and Habiba Ashna. The organization was founded by veteran Baloch journalist Ahmar Mustikhan, who is the president.

Hope and doubt have been expressed on whether the US president’s tweet and words will translate into actionable legislation. Mustikhan published a survey of some of these thoughts in an article titled “Wave of joy sweeps across Afghanistan, Balochistan & India over Trump’s first tweet of 2018”.