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Balochistan Hears a Resounding Echo


Aneeta Chakrabarty

There is clamor in the streets of Balochistan – a clamor of joy that their long silenced voices have suddenly rung with a booming echo. It resonated from a place beyond their brooding land,and from the ramparts of the Red Fort heralding an awakening to its own soul and marching to its own tune.

On the 70th anniversary of India's Independence Day celebration, Prime Minister Modi burst into an elegant ode to the oppressed – “Pakistan forgets that it bombs its own citizens using fighter planes. The time has come when Pakistan shall have to answer to the for the atrocities committed by it against the people of Balochistan and POK,” and “In the last few days the way the people of Balochistan, Gilgit, and POK (Pakistan Occupied ) have thanked me! It is the honor of 1.25 billion people of India. I thank those people of Balochistan, Gilgit and POK.”

Defying the bootlicking “secularists”, Modi's iconic statement in support of theses territories feeling the stinging pain of the Pakistani scorpion, set the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons. The peace brigade was up in “arms.” Modi had waded into forbidden waters and uttered the taboo phrase, “Balochistan and Gilgit and POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir)”. Ruffled feathers flew far and wide for treading roughshod on the holy grail of appeasement, of abandoning the much touted policy of “butter versus guns,” even though it had resulted in the loss of both.

For, it is obvious even to the dimwits of the high-sounding media that the much touted“economic growth”under the UPA regime headed by the puppet Prime Minister Manmohan Singhhas ensured more loot than growth and the policy of not retaliating has left the army bereft of guns.”

Predictably, NDTV led the pack of attack-dogs with their banner, “Balochistan was Waiting to be Used as Propaganda. Modi Seized It.” The anything-but-Hindu newspaper “The Hindu” made their staid comments that it would affect India regaining POK – a connection obvious only to the “The Hindu”. Some “enlightened” analysts voiced the opinion that India has lost the moral high ground in Kashmir.

Such debilitating distortions have ensured the mirage of being on the high ground of quicksand. Sustained by the histrionics and optics of the peace brigade, the fantasy resulted in India cutting a bad deal with a bad bully. Results are obvious – the vengeance prone jihadis did not bat an eyelid as they willfully pounded and beat up our army jawans, or hounded crores of Kashmiri pundits out of their homes like animals, or gleefully watched an apathetic nation being cooked in the heated fire of terrorism. In spite of all the pampering and toe-touching appeasement, the Kashmir valley is still burning due to the Pakistani penchant of lighting a fire under the land, relentlessly day in and day out.

The overwhelming support from Balochistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh and the public of India has put the moribund Congress in a silent mode. Even their bumbling musketeers, Salman Kurshid, Digvijay Singh and Chidambaram have been reigned in. The idea of retaliation which was floating around among the nationalists, has finally found its bullet. It will target Pakistan at its weakest point, riveting the world's attention on the horrendous human rights problems in Baluchistan, Gilgit, and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (BGPOK).

The message was clear. “You light a fire in Kashmir, be prepared when we light a fire in BGPOK. You scream about Kashmir in the UN, be prepared when we do the same about BGPOK.” The presiding deity of Pakistan, the Pakistani army, predictably issued their usual spiel that Pakistan will respond. But the Pakistani media is huffing and puffing about the political juggernaut under Modi crafting a new reality – the reality of India aiming to expose the hypocrisy of Pakistan in ignoring the genocide in Baluchistan, while using the international megaphone in decrying human rights of the Kashmir valley.

The wheel has turned on “keep being hit on Kashmir” to let's “hit back at BGPOK.” The snake's dead skin has been shed and a new India wriggled out with a muscular game changing mantra to set right the greatest geopolitical blunder of the century – that of allowing Balochistan to be swallowed by Pakistan, and to claw back the borders to reclaim the lost lands of POKgiven away to Pakistan under the false king Nehru. It's going to change a lot of things.

The immediate effect is euphoria from Balochistan. Accolades poured in from several activists. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remark that Pakistan must answer for its atrocities in Balochistan, Ahmar Mustikhan, a Baloch activist reacted in gusto, “Bharat Mata ki Jai, Har Har Modi Ghar Ghar Modi.” During a debate on Times Now, Mustikhan said, “Let me say please that Bharat Mata ki Jai. I am extremely indebted to Narendra Modi for saying what we have been waiting for seven decades. India has a responsibility to come to the rescue of the Baloch people.”

Another activist Haidar Baloch said, “This is the first time ever that an Indian PM has expressed his wish to support the Baloch people. This is a very crucial decision. We welcome PM Modi's statement to support the freedom movement of Balochistan.” Naila Qadri Baloch thanked PM Modi for his support, saying, “We the people of Balochistan, Pakistan and POK thank you (PM Modi) for your support. We are suffering and we hope that you (PM Modi) will raise this issue in the UN session in September,” she said. Brahumdagh Bugti, President of the Baloch Republican Party welcomed India's claim on Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

A prominent Western academic and analyst voiced her opinion – “Pakistan has been unusually assertive about India's current Kashmir crisis,” said Christine Fair, an associate professor at Georgetown University. “I think reminding Pakistan to mind its own business is refreshing. I think Modi has been overly accommodating of Pakistani hijinks. Such a move is well overdue, in my view.” She also commented that “There is no way forward, the Pakistani army does not want peace. Indian ‘mombattiwallah' and ‘aman ki asha' types need to understand this.”

For the longest time, red has been the color of Balochistan – red as in bleeding blood. A proud and despairing people have been savagely hunted, drained of their resources, lashed to bondage and starved to death. Naela Qadri Baloch, an activist from Balochistan, recently spoke to the Times of India: “For the last 15 years, we are facing war imposed on us by Pakistan, human rights violations and their kill-and-dump policy. Twenty-five thousand people including women and children are missing. They are abducted by the Pakistan Army and abducted in front of the people. There are testimonies and witnesses to these abductions. But this is not a simple human rights violations or missing person's issue. It has reached the level of genocide.” She also alleges widespread rape and abuse of women and massacre of children as young as a year old.

Balochistan National Party (BNP) leader Sardar Abdul Rauf Mengel unleashed the anguish of the Baluchis when he alleged in the October thirty-first publication of Dawn, “that in the past 18 months 162 mutilated bodies had been found and 218 people were killed in targeted attacks. About 3000 people were still missing.”
Vikram Sood, the former chief of RAW (Research and Analysis Wing), writes, “The 2014 annual report of the New York-based Human Rights Watch refers to the crimes against humanity by the Pakistan Army in Balochistan since 1948. The report says that these acts include indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial abduction of Baloch activists and political prisoners, and targeted killing of most learned and educated members of Baloch society.”

The life of Kachkol Ali, 57, encapsulates the vortex of injustice that eventually would create a powder-keg in the impoverished deserts of Balochistan. Forced to a life of exile in Oslo, the former opposition leader and fisheries minister from Balochistan, had to flee his hometown in Turbat, when threats from the ISI (Pakistan's notorious spy agency) came thick and fast, for refusing to take back a case registered against them. The case was regarding his three clients, who sought to liberate Balochistan from the agony of oppression by the Pakistani forces. On April 3, 2009, as per Ali, the three leaders were taken away, tortured and killed and their bodies thrown from military helicopters. In spring 2010, he sought asylum in Norway leaving a promising political career. Ali also mentioned that in accordance with the new norms of humanitarian international laws and the R2P (Responsibility to Protect) Principle, it was the US, UN, NATO duty to launch an intervention without further delay, so the slaughter of the Baloch nation could be stopped.

Forced to live in the shadows due to the arrogant overreach of Pakistan, and yearning for decades for their voices to be heard, the Balochis have finally found succor in the amplifying voice of Modi's India. It gladdened their sore hearts to listen to Prime Minister Modi's speech which pivoted the world's attention on their humongous struggle.

This was supposed to have happened 70 years ago had the Congress leaders of the time obtained a collective reality check. For, at that time, in August 1947, Balochistan was an independent nation ruled by the Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmadyar Khan, who wanted to join India. The morally fuzzy, VP Menon, the secretary in the Ministry of States revealed that the Khan of Kalat was pressing India to accept Kalat's accession, but added that India would have nothing to do with it.

The statement was denied by Sardar Patel, the very next day, who said that no such request was received from the Khan of Kalat. On March 30, 1948 Nehru denied what Khan had said. There were more denials and counter denials. By the time the gang that couldn't shoot straight found its aim, the target had disappeared under Pakistani guns. And the mournful tale of the province of Balochistan began.

According to human rights defender Waseem Altaf in Viewpoint: “On orders emanating from Mr. Jinnah, Balochistan was forcibly annexed to Pakistan on 28th March 1948, when on 27th March 1948, Lt Colonel Gulzar of the 7th Baluch Regiment under GOC Major General Mohammad Akbar Khan invaded the Khanate of Kalat. General Akbar escorted the Khan of Kalat to Karachi and forced him to sign on the instrument of accession while Pakistan Navy's destroyers reached Pasni and Jiwani (on the Pakistani coast.)”

The Foreign Policy Center (FPC), a London based think-tank, also concurs that the founding fathers of India along with the British let down the Baloch people. India therefore has a moral right to correct the historical wrong which caused untold suffering for the people of Balochistan at the hands of a genocidal nation.

Regarding POK, for centuries, it was part of the princely state of and Kashmir. In 1947, the Indian army had almost vacated the illegal occupation of POK by Pakistan but for the treacherous ceasefire enforced by the whimsical Nehru who took the whole issue to the UN. A plebiscite was proposed by the UN where one of the principal conditions was that it should take place after troops from both countries were vacated. Pakistan refused to vacate its troops from POK and the plebiscite never took place. To make a long story short, Pakistan is illegally occupying POK which includes the restive province of Gilgit.

Human rights violations in POK especially in Gilgit are mounting to a crescendo. Pakistani boots crush rebellion after rebellion and the misery of the people are so huge that a simmering volcano-like eruption is brewing. Both POK and Gilgit are yearning to join India, their old motherland. Prime Minister's Modi's statement comes not a moment sooner.

In an unambiguous statement claiming that the whole of Jammu and Kashmir including POK is part of India, Modi has sent a direct message to Pakistan to lay off. “Today, when we talk of Jammu & Kashmir, we should talk about four parts of the State of Jammu & Kashmir: Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” Modi said. In so doing, he brought to life the almost comatose condition of the unanimous resolution of the Parliament of India of Feb. 22, 1994 (PRI-1994) which states:

  • The state of Jammu and Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means;
  • India has the will and capacity to firmly counter all designs against its unity,sovereignty and territorial integrity ; and demands that;
  • Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir,which they have occupied through aggression ; and resolves that;
  • All attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely.

As expected, the spineless UPA have ignored the Parliamentary resolution enacted under the spunky Narasimha Rao administration, and chose to break bread with foes. By mentioning BGPOK, Modi broke the template of a decade and taken on the system that has kept India weak.

Just like the fabled “Wizard of Oz,” there are several layers and nuances to his defiant stance. First he has sent a message not only to Pakistan but also China that Gilgit is a disputed territory. It has huge implications as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through the Indian territory of Gilgit as per PRI-1994. By opening the forbidden door of PRI-1994, he has signaled the resolve to move on the road of India's frontiers occupied by cold-war-enabled pretenders. The timing is perfect.

China already under fire for muscle flexing in the South China Sea, could be reluctant to open a second front involving the “disputed” land of Gilgit. In addition, CPEC aims to establish a port in Gwadar which is part of Balochistan which is riled with insurrection against the Pakistani army. The Balochis claim that the Pakistanis and the Chinese are exploiting the resources of their mineral rich land comprising 40 percent of the land mass of Pakistan and its largest province.

The security implications for an investment of 46 billion dollars are ominous as the Balochis are virulently opposing CPEC. An article in the Global Times, one of the leading Chinese daily newspaper, stated that Modi raised BGPOK to divert attention from Kashmir, but it made no mention of CPEC. The eloquent silence of the inscrutable Chinese on their landmark project says it all.

Regarding Pakistan, Time has done its merciful work in exposing them as thugs and assassins. Even Americans have been at the receiving end in Afghanistan. The politically correct world has become less squeamish at pointing fingers at the home of the terrorists. And hopefully, the international pressure (read American pressure) to keep talking to the uncrowned Mughals of the Pakistani army is likely to end, as they slowly withdraw into their isolationist mecca.

This is the opportunity of centuries, when a world distracted by China's belligerence, Pakistan's duplicity, Brexit and never ending wars in the Islamic world, would leave space for India to settle its dangerous neighborhood. Modi could use the galvanizing rationale of PRI-1994 to enforce its writ on the territories that belong to it historically, culturally and politically.

This would not only establish the long sought land corridor to Afghanistan and Central Asia, but also prevent the Chinese from parking at Gwadar to control the Arabian Sea and blockade Bombay.

As the Taoists would say, “Nature says only a few words: High winds do not last long, nor does heavy rain.” So does fickle opportunity that could flit away like a butterfly


The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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