Whenever the bouts of pains of infested wounds forced Baloch to raise their voice, Pakistan resorted Blame Game calling them agents of external powers thereby downplaying the importance of the struggle. India and Afghanistan are its permanent targets of the blame game, besides America Russia and Israel for destabilising Pakistan by inciting insurgency in Balochistan.
The reality, however, is that Baloch freedom movement started in 1839 when the British attacked and subsequently divided the sovereign state of Balochistan into three Parts. The Baloch liberation struggle never ceased since then also it is important to remember that there was no sign of Pakistan on the world map at that time. In response to the Pakistani allegations, both India and Afghanistan resorted to a defensive position and denied any involvement in Balochistan’s insurgency. In fact, both leadership of India and Afghanistan should have realized their historical blunder and should rectify it by openly supporting Baloch freedom struggle on the moral and diplomatic ground because the British, India and Afghanistan are equally responsible for the instability of this region.
Had they made the correct decision and supported free Balochistan state during the partition of the subcontinent and British departure from the region, Pakistan would not have wreaked havoc in Afghanistan. The Bombay carnage would not have taken place in India, nor would the genocide and rape of hundred thousands of Bangali people have taken place in the region, neither would Pakistan be the safe haven for international terrorist groups.
It is necessary to bring forth the historical fact that Baloch have been striving to reintegrate their divided historical geography to pre 1839 state, after the British departure. Baloch geography was dissected against their will and it has damaged Baloch national cohesion beyond repair. At that time, the conditions were in favour of Baloch and Pakistan could not have occupied their country, had Afghanistan, India and even the British been foresighted and supported Baloch.
The Indian leadership based their decision for not supporting Baloch freedom on Moulana Abul Kalam’s assertion that Baloch cannot sustain their freedom; they might have to strike a defence deal with the British for their security which was totally unacceptable to the Indian leaders to another imperial presence in the region. The British also withdrew from the region silently forgetting that it had a few defence pacts with the Baloch. Though, the British was bound by the 1876 defence agreement’s article 3 which stipulated British to render defence support to Baloch sovereignty in case of foreign aggression, but it failed to honour this agreement and played the role of a silent spectator when Pakistan attacked and illegally occupied Balochistan in 1948.
On the other hand, the Afghans come to the aid of the Baloch at a time when Baloch needed their support the most though Afghanistan had friendly relations with Balochistan besides several old mutual treaties related to their security issues. In the past, they had supported each other on several occasions. Prince Agha Abdul Kareem, the younger brother of the Khan of Kalat, Mir Ahmed Yar Khan, was the first Baloch leader who started resistance movement against Balochistan’s illegal occupation by Pakistan. He asked Afghanistan for support but the Afghan response was rather disappointing. In 1948, it was the same Afghanistan that abandoned Baloch and favoured the new born Islamic country Pakistan, but today the peace, prosperity and stability of Afghanistan is ruined by non-other than Pakistan and its establishment. The same India, that pushed Baloch to become part of Pakistan, is facing Pakistan’s 68 years nefarious designs, now forced to spend billions of dollars in defence expenditure leaving its public in the lurch of abject poverty.
In future, until Pakistan is intact with the same disputed geography; India continues to face the same extra defence expenditures and instability, created by Pakistan. The same can be said about western countries’ headache in the region. Though, the Western countries have pushed the wars far away across their borders by social and economic development, yet whenever there occurs a terror event in those peaceful countries, the traces can be related to Pakistan either directly or indirectly.
Another power that failed the Baloch was the Soviet Union because it did not develop a correct policy – a pro free Balochistan policy – as a result, it faced a fateful defeat in Afghanistan. Instead of devising a pro-Baloch strategy based on ground realities related to Baloch freedom movement, Soviet adopted a policy that propagated Pakistan Communist Party’s policies and other so called leftist intellectuals’ elucidations that sought to build a theoretical state, (socialist Pakistan) by the amalgamation of Baloch and other nationalities.
Pakistan could not become a communist country; instead, it helped all elements that forced Soviet to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan. The Soviet Union despite making a forceful entry and spending a staggering amount of sources returned home empty handed and met an exemplary defeat that resulted in its own collapse. Its collapse left a vacuum of balance of power in the world.
It is pertinent here to say that had the Soviet and Afghan leadership regarded Baloch as an ally in 80s second revulsion of the region’s geopolitics and helped them regain their lost sovereignty instead of regarding them as a mercenary force, they could have become a strong peace partner in the region rather than a silent spectator. There was no doubt that Baloch fight was to regain their lost sovereignty, but it would greatly benefit Afghanistan and its allies.
Conclusion: The latest two statements of prominent Baloch national leader, Hyrbyair Marri, are worth considering objectively in Baloch perspective in the light of current geopolitics of the region. In his first statement, he reminded British of its obligations to 1876 treaty which bounds it to protect Baloch sovereignty. In the second statement he asked India to adopt an outright clear cut policy regarding Balochistan crisis exactly the same way as Pakistan does about Kashmir. Baloch leader issued these policy statements at a time when world peace is facing gravest danger and it has created a great opportunity for the world powers to correct their past mistakes. Despite being volatile, the situation is still under control in the region.
Despite its barbarism and indiscriminate atrocities Pakistan could not succeed in creating a Kobani like the situation in Mountainous Marri area, Dera Bugti and Awaran areas. But if the world continues to be the silent spectator, there is no doubt that there comes a day when the Pakistani forces in the name of ISIS (Daaesh) or by other names would carry out the damned carnage of other sects in the richest land of this region. Then the world might adopt the same policy in support of Baloch as they have for Kurdistan today but at the time the Baloch may not able to protect themselves or to contribute to the world peace. Because, despite playing the key role against terrorism, Baloch are stranded in isolation and facing barbarity of an atomic bomb wielding military power on their ancestral country. The regional and world powers should help the Baloch before it is too late and the human tragedy in Balochistan turns into a human catastrophe.
Hafeez Hassanabadi currently works for Baloch Human Rights and also a Research Fellow at the Strategic Center for International Relations and a member of Editorial Board of its quarterly publication.
The Afghan Tribune | Hafeez Hassanabadi | Published: November 08, 2015 10:32 AM
Translated by Archen Baloch