Balochistan: An undeclared war zone

The war between Balochistan-Pakistan raging for years now but it is not visible in the media because there is no media in Balochistan

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A screenshot from a video released by the BLA-supported media wing—"Hakkal Media”,

by Mir Khan Baloch

The schools have been turned into carrions, villages into concentration camps. Houses-to-house search operations have become a daily routine. University and college students are harassed and intimidated on campuses. Women being raped, and female students are sexually molested. Journalists are picked up by the Pakistan army and forces, and later their mutilated dead bodies are thrown on roadsides and barren land across Balochistan. This is what Balochistan looks like today.

Baloch youth are facing dire consequences not over charges of drugs or weapons but for having books which are  punishable sins in occupied Balochistan. We watch the Hamas-Israel war on TV and media but the war between Balochistan and Pakistan is not visible in the media because there is hardly a single Baloch media outlet in Balochistan. Balochistan is a black hole for information. Smuggling of narcotics and weapons are easy because Pakistan supports it but writing on human rights violations and the ongoing Balochistan war is not easy, Baloch are smuggling the news and publishing them on social media. If any Baloch is found writing on Pakistan’s war crimes, he/she is taken away and killed after some time.

On 16 November, Pakistan’s military and police opened fire on Baloch students of Lasbela Uthal Agricultural University for Water and Marine Science. Dozens of students were injured and the remaining were arrested and taken to undisclosed locations. Video footage of the incident sparked fear, and anger among the people of the area who came to protest on the streets of Lasbela.  

On 19 November 2023, Pakistan ISI took three Baloch hostages namely Adil, Shahjahan and Nabi Dad, tied their hands with rope, put them inside an explosive-loaded vehicle and detonated the car killing all of them in the Hoshab area of Turbat. Two of them were brothers. Three of them belong to the same family who were abducted on 22 August 2023 from Turbat at 3:00 pm city by the Pakistan military during a raid on their homes.

This seems a new tactic of the Pakistan army but in the past, there were numerous instances of Baloch hostages thrown out of low altitude flying helicopters.

Balochistan needs world attention

It is the need of the hour that a debate on national and international levels must be resumed. The academic think tanks and institutions of friends of occupied Balochistan should involve Baloch leadership and people to participate and chalk policies towards getting closer to each other and work on unified goals.

Let’s break the rhetoric of Pakistan’s deep state and the army about Balochistan that can’t be discussed globally. After the partition of the subcontinent, we have seen India facing border infiltration from Pakistan and China. Beijing’s growing aggressive policies towards India indicate that the PLA is not willing to abandon its policy of bleeding India, for the last many decades. China is leaving no stone unturned to encircle India from all fronts. Delhi is not only facing threats from the border but also is being deliberately engaged in internal conflicts where China is providing all sorts of support to militants who are fighting against Indian national interests. The non-state actors funded by China often get diplomatic backing from Beijing even at the forums of the UN Security Council.

Balochistan deserves India’s attention. Many people are working tirelessly to this end. The efforts by the overseas diplomatic leadership of occupied Balochistan are bearing fruits and now there are indicators that in coming years Balochistan is heading towards taking a centre point for global powers. India should take advantage of the Balochistan uprising on global forums and lend her full diplomatic, political and other support to help the Baloch for their liberation.

To chalk a long-term 100-year policy to secure India’s energy needs, and stability and disperse threats to its economy, it is needed that Delhi should open an official channel with Balochistan to pave the way for future cooperation. If India supports Balochistan, it will no longer rely on oil imports from Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela because Balochistan has more oil than the gulf and Venezuela.

India’s 42% of liquefied natural gas (LNG) requirements were fulfilled from Qatar till 2021 but with Doha’s recent court decision to sentence to 8 former Naval personnel, the import of the energy may get disrupted. At this point, India has the option to buy LNG from Balochistan as it has huge reserves of natural gas. Balochistan is highly rich in minerals and once it is liberated, that would give a boost to India’s economy, national security, defence, and global position.

The issue of Balochistan is not a political issue. It is the issue of the invasion of Pakistan. We can’t accept the false narrative of Pakistan that Balochistan willingly joined Pakistan. No substantial or legal evidence proves Pakistan’s claim on Balochistan.

I have researched and come to know that Balochistan before the withdrawal of the British from the subcontinent was ruled under the British in a similar way to India was under British occupation. When the British decided to withdraw from the subcontinent, the King of Balochistan’s Kalat State announced its independence on 11 August 1947.

It is a well-documented fact that Balochistan remained independent for about 7- 8 months. In this period the founder of Pakistan, Mr. M.A Jinnah kept pressurizing the Khan of Kalat Mir Amed Yar Khan that Balochistan should join Pakistan but he refused to join his country into Pakistan. Both the houses (House of Lords and House of Common) of Balochistan unanimously rejected the proposal of Jinnah to join Pakistan.

Anwarul Haq Kakar was a senator in the Balochistan assembly before resuming office as Prime Minister of Pakistan. ISI has given him special instructions to pursue the narrative of Islamabad to counter the ongoing Balochistan freedom movement. His NGO, ‘Voice of Balochistan’ publishes content on social media and YouTube.  He is head of well-known state-sponsored death squads whose prime objectives are to facilitate Pakistan ISI, MI (Military Intelligence) and the army to locate the Baloch activists and freedom-loving patriots and later kill them in fake encounters. He often can be seen with Sarfaraz Bugti who is another cabinet member of the current government but he runs dozens of death squads in Sui, Dera Bugti, Pirkoh, Loti, Sibi and adjoining areas of Dera Bugti. His most active death squad militia is the Bugti Aman Force which openly confesses to killing patriot Baloch fighting against Pakistani illegal occupation of Balochistan.

Sarfaraz Bugti had countless meetings with another notorious radical death squad Shafiq Mengal involved in the abductions, and killings of Baloch in district Khuzdar, Wadh, Sorab, and Kalat areas. His proxy militia is also involved in sectarian violence such as targeting Shia communities living in Balochistan, he enjoys the full support of the Pakistan army. Pakistan army distributed ministries to all of its proxy assets, one of them is Jamal Raisani 20 years 20-year-old boy, who is the son of Siraj Raisani who openly advocated assassinations of pro-independent seeking leadership and activists. He was killed in a suicide attack in Mastung along with his 100+ party members. Islamabad had given them ministries as compensation to acknowledge their contribution to facilitating the army and the ISI.

Pakistan is repeating the Bangladesh style of Baloch genocide and hiring death squads like Al Shams and Al Badr who were used against Mukti Bahini the freedom fighters of Bangladesh in 1971.It is very sad that on 27 March 1948, Jinnah ordered its army to invade Balochistan in a similar fashion Russia invaded Ukraine. They attacked the Palace of Balochistan’s King, they fired artillery shells and opened indiscriminate firing. The mosque of the King of Kalat still bears the marks of bombing. Hence the instrument of annexation was signed by force with the Prince of Balochistan. The people of Balochistan did not join Pakistan willingly and they reserve the right to regain their independence. After the invasion of Pakistan, they kept resisting on various occasions but unfortunately, none gave any heed to their suffering and problems.China is exploiting the resources of Balochistan For many decades China made entry into Balochistan and extracted minerals of Balochistan such as Gold, Copper, Silver, and Uranium from Balochistan’s Rekodet, Saindak and other areas.

Pakistan is brutally suppressing the voices of ordinary Baloch people. Baloch people are demanding a peaceful future free of fear, they want complete independence and good relations with India and the rest of the world.Reports are emerging that Pakistan and China are abducting Baloch civilians, among them are women being rapped, children being terrorized, and students being made victims of enforced disappearances. Pakistan under the nose of the United Nations and civilized world, is repeating the atrocities its army perpetrated against Bengalis in 1971.

Baloch people are being butchered and bombed which must be a matter of worry for the civilized world. How can we sleep when humanity in Balochistan is under constant threat and Baloch people are facing heinous crimes by the Pakistan army? To quell their liberation movement, the Pakistan establishment is using air force to bomb ordinary unarmed Baloch people which is against the international laws. About 30,000 Baloch prisoners are being kept in secret detention centers and 2 lakh Baloch have been killed since 1948. This is a huge ratio of ethnic cleansing and it must be recognized genocide of Baloch people.Pakistan is repeating the same cruelty that its army did in Bangladesh in 1971.

Today  Baloch people are being butchered, their land is being occupied and their resources are being exploited. If Balochistan becomes independent I believe there will be peace because they are not radicals, they are not against India, they are not against peace, and they are not pursuing any sort of policy to invade any country.I urge the government of India to speak about the massive scale of the Baloch genocide taking place and how people over there are deprived of fundamental rights to independence.

There is no harm in inviting pro-independent Baloch leadership to India because Balochistan historically is not part of Pakistan and they don’t accept Pakistan’s occupation. We must listen to them and accept the genuine stance of the Baloch people rather than relying on Pakistan’s fabricated lies and illegal rule of Balochistan. Our leadership of both countries must sit together and help their cause so we can have a friendly country of Balochistan to end Pakistan’s day-to-day border infiltration, terrorism, proxy wars, and use of other anti-India elements.Balochistan is not an internal issue of Pakistan and we have the right to talk about Balochistan in the open, in parliament, in the media and globally. India is a strong country it has the guts to take a strong position to help Balochistan get its liberation. Liberating Balochistan is tantamount to solving many problems internally and internationally at a time. The situation in occupied Balochistan is pathetic and deserves international attention. The aspiration of 1.4 billion Indians echoes the current government to make appropriate decisions by giving a helping hand to support the aspirations of millions of Baloch people.Who Leads the Balochistan Movement?

In the world liberation movements are led by one leader who has the vision, and background of not compromising on a national cause and people trust him/her. Balochistan liberation movement is led by Baloch nationalist leader Hyrbyair Marri who from his childhood is attached to Balochistan cause. He is the son of Baloch veteran leader late Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri.

He enjoys the full support of his people from Balochistan and the overseas population. He had never accepted the slavery of Pakistan. His determination and commitment to his people are adorable.

Marri is an international calibre leader and the world community has always given him immense respect and space. He urged the Baloch community to join hands and work for the independence of united Balochistan. 

The writer is a Baloch human rights activist covering Balochistan, Central Asia and the Middle East. This article was originally published in The Daily Pioneer, India

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