The Afghan Tribune: Some Baloch leaders have recently shown interest to hold negotiation with the Pakistani establishment. Don’t you think such retreat would damage the Baloch Liberation Movement?
The most important factor to remember in any liberation movement is that the movement does not advance uniformly. There are and there will be difficulties in the movement, and most certainly, those who are taking part in the freedom struggle will be impacted by the changes in the temperature of the movement. The momentary, so called leaders, come and go. Having said that, no liberation movement has been terminated because of a few seasonal leaders.
I would like to make four vital points as part of my answer to your question. The first one is that people leave the liberation struggle for one of three main reasons. Primarily, there are people who fear to stand up for their inherent democratic rights and pretend that these rights do not exist. Therefore, they unwillingly accept tyranny. Next, there are people who for relatively insignificant economic interest accept colonial rules and then justify it as being legitimate. Lastly, some people are simply are uninformed of their democratic rights and see colonialism or any other form of subjugation as natural. Irrespective of which of these categories one may fall into, the result is the same. They all act against their own and their nation’s interest.
It is really misfortunate when one of these people happens to be a public figure, and accepts the terms that are set by his/her colonisers, out of fear, interest or ignorance. The options that are open to those who favour submission to resistance are limited. They are immediately put in between two impossible traps. In the first instance, the colonial rulers use those who repented from their past struggle for freedom against their own people. Soon after, these individuals will become a liability to the colonial system. They no longer will be of any use to the system. As a result, the colonial rulers would then get rid of them, one way or another. The best scenario under such circumstances is that these individuals eventually will become part of the colonial establishment and will share their crimes against the Baloch people. It has happened with all those pseudo-Baloch leaders that have accepted the yoke of colonialism in the past and the present, and will probably also happen to those who show any sign of weakness in the future. This situation is not unique to Baloch liberation movement alone. It has occurred during all major liberation movements. There is not any example of a long-lasting freedom movement where the colonial rulers have not employed sinister methods to weaken the effort.
The Baloch struggle for independence is not something that depends on one or two individuals. The fact of matter is that it is a mass movement. If one person compromises with the occupiers there will be hundreds more who will be ready to carry the torch of freedom. The struggle for freedom is instinctive. It is slavery that is unnatural. People everywhere struggle for their inherent rights, the right to be free, to determine their own future, to live in dignity and peace. These issues are beyond any individuals’ wish or control. At the end of the day, the Baloch people will determine their own destiny. Hence, no informed and democrat Baloch would prefer subjugation to freedom. To my knowledge, the number of individuals joining the march to freedom, whether they are ordinary Baloch or well- recognised figures, is not just dwindling but is increasingly by day. Therefore, in my view, these colonial theocratic states do not have any future. The future belongs to those who are struggling for freedom, and a humane and peaceful life. Certainly, greater unity among leadership will help the movement to get to its destination quicker, but if a few individuals drop out of the effort, the movement will not stop.
The Afghan Tribune: As one of the most consistent Baloch political leaders who has been calling for Balochistan’s independence, what do you think about China-Pakistan economic Corridor (CPEC)?
The term ‘Pakistan’ is a meaningless designation. There is not such a nation as Pakistani nation. Those who are hiding behind this futile name are Punjabi military, political, commercial and religious establishment. I have to mention here that the entire establishment with all their cronies is relatively a small fraction of population of even Punjabi population, my estimate is about four to five million.
These are the people who own what they call Pakistan. The vast majority of Punjabis live in extreme poverty like most of other people within this fake boundary. This establishment, in particular, the Punjabi army, have used all the tricks in the world to extend their ownership and monopoly over the entire area (which they now refer to as Pakistan) since the creation of Pakistan. But now they find it much harder to fool the west and the rich Arab countries to finance their lavish lifestyle and military expenditures. They are truly depredated for other sources of finance. Islamic fundamentalism has now mutated into a very nasty and cheap commodity that cannot find any buyer in the west and the Arab world. That is why the Punjabi rulers of Pakistan have turned to their once ideological enemy China for help.
In my assessment, the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor does not work for several reasons. China cannot be a long term friend of Punjabi colonial establishment. Their interests and worldviews are a gulf apart. Chinese are not interested in and have no genuine sympathy towards one of the most corrupt, violent and Islamic fundamentalist establishment in the world, but they want access to the cheap raw materials of Balochistan and other nations under Punjabi control.
We have to also remember that China is not a stable country. Just a couple of decades of economic growth is not an indication that China is moving to long term stability. China is an Empire with some kind of distorted Marxist ideology. There are nations in China that are calling for their freedom. Above all in the last three decades, because of massive economic growth, a section of Chinese population has been lifted from abject poverty into middle income classes. Literally millions of them gained their higher educations in several developed democratic countries. These individuals are finding it increasingly difficult to follow the strict rules that are dictated by the communist party of China. Therefore, China is bound to change and unless it adopts a democratic system that allows freedom of expression and association and rule of law, China will never be a stable country. There will be massive social and political upheavals in China sooner or later. China siding with Pakistani army and government can only be regarded as an erratic behaviour of an arrogant empire. No sensible and rational state can ally with a rogue state like Pakistan.
The so-called corridor mainly the concerns the Baloch, but Baloch have not been a party to this contract. Punjabi army and rulers signed the contract with their Chinese counterpart. Therefore, to Baloch, it has no legal legitimacy. We will do our best to revoke and do away with such illegal action.
To Baloch this is a corridor of death and destruction. Not only the Punjabi and their counterpart, the Chinese, exploit our resources but they will destroy our environment and expel our people from their homeland.
The Afghan Tribune: What do you say about the ongoing Pakistan military operations and their effort to turn the Baloch into a minority in their own homeland, to what extent will it weaken the Baloch freedom struggle?
The Pakistani military forcibly entered into Baloch territory and illegally occupied Balochistan in 1948 and since then Pakistan has been trying to change the demography of Balochistan. It has flooded Balochistan with hundreds of thousands of people from Punjab and other areas of Pakistan in an effort to change the Baloch into a minority in their own homeland. This is what all colonial states do. They destroy the occupied nation’s national identity, national language, culture, moral codes and their way of life. They replace their language with the language of the colonisers. They want to destroy the subjugated nation in every sense of the word. If oppressed people do not resist and fight for their rights, they would be destroyed like the Native Americans or the aborigines. We are aware of the predicament that we are in and we will not allow the same thing happen to us.
The Pakistani military operations cannot weaken the Baloch national struggle to regain their freedom because it is a just cause, but the more military operations and more atrocities Pakistan commits in
Balochistan, it will make Baloch more determined to resist the occupation and free themselves from the bondage of colonisation.
The Afghan Tribune: What is the reason that the International Community is not showing interest in Baloch issue, and what is the responsibility of International Community in resolving the Baloch Issue, especially in the matter of Baloch missing persons and extra-judicial killing of the Baloch political workers in Balochistan?
It is our responsibility to inform the international community about Pakistani state’s crimes against humanity in Balochistan. Just as it is the duty of UN and international democratic states to check Pakistan’s human rights record before giving any kind of support to the state of Pakistan or its military.
One of the weaknesses of Baloch liberation struggle in the past has been the lack of active engagement with the international community. We are still weak in this area, but there have been many attempts to improve our engagement with the outside world and the world is beginning to recognise Pakistan’s double standard. Perhaps that is why Pakistan was voted out from UN Human Rights Council some time ago. We, the Baloch, as a direct victim of Pakistani state terrorism appreciate this positive step by all those nations who voted against Pakistan. The occupying states have tried their best to turn Balochistan to a Black hole. Journalists, human rights organisations or independent researchers and scholars are not allowed to go to Balochistan. The world, by and large, is unaware of many atrocities of these states in Balochistan. So long as they get their information about Baloch people and Balochistan from the occupying states sources, they would not react to the crimes that these states commit against Baloch people.
So we are now presenting the other side of the story to the world by informing them about Pakistani and Iranian state atrocities in Balochistan, and that is exactly one of the biggest fears of these states, because they do not want to be exposed to the world. For example, since year 2000, Punjabi army and security forces have abducted and disappeared about 20,000 Baloch political and human rights activists from all walks of life. Out of this number, more than 2,500 of them have been killed in custody by Pakistani forces.
Not many people outside Balochistan know about that, for the reasons that I have referred to earlier. For those who came to know about these crimes, it is because of Baloch activists abroad and on social media. These individuals and organizations have shown much sympathy and desire to help. One thing that needs to be remembered is; that the international community does not and will not bring freedom to any subjugated people. Our freedom is in our hands and if we stand up for our rights and inform the
international community about our democratic and basic rights then we are sure they will be on our side.
The Afghan Tribune: Many writers and historians argue that the Baloch tribal elders have kept Baloch away from education. How will you response to this assertion and address this problem when Balochistan regains her independence?
I am not aware of the writers and historians you are referring to, and where they have got their information from. One cannot deny the fact that when Balochistan is occupied, the colonial rulers use the petty sardars and Mullahs (clergy) against the Baloch nation. They use these pro-establishment individuals to stop Baloch people from progressing in all fields of human development, especially in education. As for Baloch general public and their political leaders, they have always been demanding more comprehensive and effective education for their people. From 1920s, one of the key demands of Baloch political leaders has been establishing a proper system of education. We Baloch are secular people. We value learning and critical thinking. That is why we do not accept colonialism and we have never accepted it. It is the colonial states that: target our most educated and conscientious people, using criminal gangs in nexus with religious extremist groups to attack educational institutions in Balochistan. Hence, it is the colonial states and their cronies who have stopped us from getting the education and from utilizing our full potential. If we had a free and democratic Balochistan, the state of education surely would not be the same.
We regard education as one of the most basic human rights. Education is on top of our list and our top priority in an independent Balochistan for both our girls and boys.
The Afghan Tribune: In article 4 of your constitution we read that “The Baloch national struggle is a secular movement. It is for the separation of religion from state and politics. It is for the power of reason and in opposition to any religious and ideological dogma.” Furthermore, in Article 5 we read that “Freedom of religion, belief and expression are among the most fundamental rights of the citizens of Balochistan. Every individual is free to follow any religion or unorthodox belief provided that in so doing they do not impose their religion and belief and hence infringe the liberty of other people to believe the contrary.” With reference to these two articles, my question is what would be your policy towards religious states like; Iran and Pakistan as well as Afghanistan after Balochistan gets her independence?
Please note that what you referred as a constitution, is the Balochistan Liberation Charter, it is not the constitution of Balochistan. It is our roadmap to freedom and is a vision of independent Balochistan. Pakistan and Iran are artificial constructions, and extremism is a consequence of their very basic structure. Be it an effect of a religion, or a right/left ideological influence. Our vision of Balochistan is very much unlike these states. As it is clearly indicated in these articles, we are for separation of state from religion. We are for a secular government in Balochistan. It is in the secular environment that all ideas, views, beliefs and religions can freely operate and coexist. We see religion as a private matter. People are free whatever they wish to believe. In a free and democratic Balochistan we value all human beings regardless of their religious beliefs or political and ideological persuasion.
We believe all our citizens are equal under the law. Furthermore, if the Persian, the Punjabis, and Afghans want religious states, this is not something that we can decide for them. We leave this to the Afghans, Persian and Punjabi people to decide for themselves. As their neighbors, we will have a very cordial relationship with them that will be based on mutual respect and mutual benefits.
The Afghan Tribune: If we look at armed struggle for the self-determination such as the Palestinian; Kashmiri, Afghan, Kurds, Irish, Tamil and of course the Baloch, these movements challenge the constitution and writ of the states – as a politician and a diplomat how would you consider these movements and also how would you see the future of Balochistan?
Firstly, the question implies that these are the only movements. It also suggests that since they are still in progress then they somewhat failed. In the last three hundred years, national liberation movements have been occurring in different continents of the world, in Europe, in America, in Asia and Africa. Almost all modern developed nations are somehow the product of national liberation movements.
Now the question is; how they got their rights? I presume that if one is informed and is a sane person, she/he would not fight simply to be killed. If we can get freedom peacefully there would not be a war. The issue that we should delve into deeper is; who is the instigator of war? The occupying nation or their oppressed victims? National liberation movements emerge because of the imposed violence. The colonial states used and continue to use extreme violence and leave no option to their victims, but to resort to arm struggle against occupation and defend their people against foreign aggression.
In the case of a liberation movement, I believe the right to self-defence should be acknowledged and the victims should be permitted to exercise this right under international law and human rights conventions. The problem does not lie with subjugated nations, it lies with the colonial states and I believe the colonised nations will get their freedom eventually because an illegal occupation has never been permanent. The law imposed on them is a colonial law and this is not the law of the people being
subjugated. Accordingly, challenging the writ of the colonial state is irrelevant here. The occupied and oppressed nations are not challenging their own law and their own representative government. Their call for freedom does not materialize if they give in to the colonial law.
The Afghan Tribune: The Pakistani establishment is exporting numerous religious extremists to Balochistan to encounter Afghanistan and Balochistan democratic movements. How do you see the end of this policy and the international community reaction towards this policy?
It is true that Pakistan has been using religion as a weapon and as a bargaining chip to blackmail the international community and counter the Baloch freedom struggle. Currently, Pakistan has given a free hand to its religious extremist groups to operate in Balochistan to radicalise the Baloch youth. If it was not for the Baloch freedom struggle, Balochistan would have become a hub for religious extremists’ a long time ago. But since the Baloch are secular, they do not allow their society to fall into the hands of these fundamentalist groups. In addition, the Baloch social fabric is so well made that Balochistan has not been negatively influenced by Punjabi indoctrination, and their extremist religious views – despite 68 years worth of attempts to radicalise the Baloch people and change them into mindless jihadists. However, unfortunately, some of the Pashtuns under Pakistani occupation have been radicalised by Punjabi’s, and have resorted to the murder of innocent people and their own people in the interest of Punjab. This has also distracted Pashtuns from their national struggle.
Pakistan has never respected the sovereignty of Afghanistan, and since it is coming into existence, Pakistan has been directly and indirectly interfering in Afghan affairs. Pakistan considers itself a stakeholder in Afghanistan and that in itself, is completely absurd to say the least. If the international community is serious about eradicating the religious fundamentalism, they should look at its sources. Their main base is Pakistan- that is where the religious extremists are incubated, formed and nurtured. The international community should stop supporting Pakistan and its military. Any support given to Pakistan should also be closely monitored.
One of the areas that international community has failed to recognise is: the true nature of Pakistan and its army. This mistake has not yet been put right. They are still making the same mistake. They do not fully understand that all Islamic fundamentalist groups that are operating in Afghanistan and Balochistan are created and sponsored by Punjabi army and security forces. The sooner they realise this fact and take serious measure against it, the quicker Afghanistan will stabilise and the quicker we the Baloch regain our independence.
The Afghan Tribune | Hyrbyair Marri | Published: July 11, 2016, 09:23 AM
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