The Balochistan issue is not a simple case of deprivation. It is a veritable imbaroglio that hides within itself foreign interference, that lends it a grave dimension. The Foreign Office is, apparently, in possession of credible evidence of outside interference in destabilising the province. Its spokesman Abdul Basit, replying to question at his media briefing on Friday, said that Foreign Minister Khar had raised the issue with her British counterpart.
According to various international laws and declarations, the principle of non-intervention involves the right of every sovereign state to conduct its affairs without outside interference. In this regard, Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter prohibits “interference in the internal affairs” of a state.
But setting aside international laws, and the UN Charter, Dana Rohrabacher introduced a House Concurrent Resolution in the US House of Representatives on February 17 this year, calling upon Pakistan to “recognise the right of self-determination for Balochistan.” The resolution has noted that “Baloch people are subjected to violence and extrajudicial killings.” Earlier, the US Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs convened unprecedented hearing which was attended by the supporters of Baloch separtism and American scholars including human rights activists. It was chaired by Rohrabacher who allegedly said, “Balochistan is a turbulent land, marred by human rights violations”, requiring urgent attention. Recently, he has also co-authored an article, favouring an independent Balochistan. While other speakers accused that Pakistan’s security forces and its intelligence agencies were involved in extrajudicial killings and the forced disappearance of ethnic Baloch.
However, the Pakistan government has lodged a strong protest against the resolution on Balochistan. In this respect, Pakistan’s Foreign Office termed, the US Congress bill as violation of international laws, calling it as a clear interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani remarked that the US Congress resolution on Balochistan is against Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Meanwhile, members of the Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh Assemblies also condemned the Congress resolution. Besides, other political and religious leaders including members of the civil societies and political analysts have strongly condemned the US Congress resolution as a “conspiracy against Pakistan”, “provocative”, and “intervention in country’s internal matters.”
It is notable that Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Sherry Rehman has stated, “It is deeply regrettable that the legislature of a country that calls itself a friend of Pakistan should allow itself to be used as a platform by those advocating the dismemberment of Pakistan and provide justification to terrorists attempting to hold Balochistan, and Pakistan, hostage.” She added that this “will add to suspicions in Pakistan about American motives.”
In this connection, American motives have openly been exposed after this resolution. Notably, on August 14, 2009, Financial Times (online) had reported “Settlers from other parts of Pakistan, especially Punjab, have been given deadlines to leave.” As a matter of fact, this is what US-led India and Israel wanted by inciting the general masses of Balochistan to openly speak against the federation of Pakistan and the Punjabis for all the injustices, created by the Baloch feudal lords (Sardars) who have been fighting for their own so-called status, prestige and influence. They were running their own private jails and farrari camps, and resisted the government development projects as they did not want to give up the old system of feudal lords, while working on the American agenda.
Although Pakistan’s security forces have successfully been coping with the Taliban militants in the tribal areas, yet situation has deteriorated in Balochistan where subversive events and human rights violations have intensified. In fact, the US-led India and Israel have been supporting feudal lords of Balochistan to oppose country’s federation, providing arms and ammunition to the Baloch separatists.
It is noteworthy that the agents of American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mosssad are well-penetrated in various NGOs and human rights organisations which are being used for vile propaganda against Pakistan’s security forces. In this respect, on July 31, 2011, a rally was organized by Baloch Human Rights Council in UK in front of the US Embassy in London, which raised false allegations such as inhuman torture and extrajudicial murder of the Baloch intellectuals by the Pakistani army and ISI.
On August 3, 2011, ISPR spokesman, Maj-Gen Athar Abbas, while rejecting human rights groups’ reports about Balochistan as a conspiracy against Pakistan, called for probing the funding of these organisations as this could be traced back to those forces which want to destabilise Pakistan.
It is notable that Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and an another group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have been fighting for secession of the province gets logistic support from RAW and CIA, and are also trying to sabotage Pakistan’s relationship with China and Iran. In the past few years, their militants kidnapped and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan. Jundollah also arranged a number of suicide attacks in Iran, while Tehran had directly named CIA for assisting those terrorist attacks.
In fact, these militant groups which are responsible for extrajudicial killings also kidnapped and murdered many innocent people of Pakistan and the security personnel in the province. On a number of occasions, these insurgent groups claimed responsibility for subversive acts and forced abductions. Besides, many missing persons of Balochistan were murdered by foreign secret agencies in order to implicate Pak Army and ISI. But media and so-called NGOs including human rights groups not only exaggerate the figures of the disappeared persons, but also accuse Pak Army and ISI for extrajudicial killings. These entities have failed to provide details about the missing persons, spreading sensationalism and conducting press conferences without obtaining real facts.
Particularly, Balochistan’s geo-strategic location with Gwadar seaport, connecting rest of the world with Central Asia has irked the eyes of America and India because China has already invested billion of dollars to develop this seaport. However, it is due to multiple strategic designs that the US which signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008, seeks to control Balochistan in containing China and subduing Iran. Balochistan has also shifted the Great Game to Pakistan. This is also owing to the mineral resources of Balochistan—especially gold and copper that US-led India and Israel have accelerated their subversive acts such as target killings, hostage-takings, suicide attacks, fueling sectarian and ethnic violence in Balochistan by assisting their affiliated insurgent groups. In this context, CIA, RAW and Mossad which have well-established their network in Afghanistan to weaken Pakistan have been sending highly trained militants to Balochistan, who commit various acts of sabotage on regular basis. Their main aim is the dismemberment of Pakistan by separating the province of Balochistan.
Notably, on April 23, 2009 in the in-camera sitting of the Senate, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had displayed documentary evidence of foreign-backed militants’ infiltration from Afghanistan to Balochistan. The main aim of the in-camera session was also to show the engagement of American CIA in the province.
It is worth-mentioning that in August, 2011, US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter had requested Pakistan government for opening a US consulate in Balochistan. But knowing the real intentions of America, Islamabad had flatly rejected the offer.
In the recent years, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has made strenuous efforts to develop the infrastructure in Balochistan, providing the people employment opportunities to bring the Balochis in the mainstream of the country. In this regard, Pak Army has not only established schools and colleges, but also set up technical and industrial institutes in the province, besides giving military training to the youth.
On October 11, 2011, Prime Minister Gilani highlighted the major development projects in Balochistan, aimed at the socio-economic uplift of its people so as to bring about a positive change in the area. He disclosed that the federal government would provide 30 percent of its shares of the Saindak Project to the Balochistan government, and planned to provide jobs to 20,000 youth from Balochistan, adding that under the NFC award, fund transferring has been increased. While Prime Minister Gilani who stated on February 15 that the government would soon convene an All Parties Conference (APC) to address the issues of Balochistan, has already declared 2012 the ‘Year of Balochistan.’
Nevertheless, this is the right time for the government that its announced policy for political, social and economic reforms must be implemented so as to remove sense of deprivation among the Balochis. And our politicians and media must convince the people, especially the youth that their Sardars want to restore old system of feudalism in the province, and are playing in the hands of foreign enemies, especially the US.
Nonetheless, Balochistan is an integral part of the Pakistan, with an elected government, so the US resolution is an insult to the mandate of masses of Balochistan. No doubt, hearing on Balochistan by the US Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs has clearly exposed the US blatant intervention in the province and support to the Baloch separatists.
By Sajjad Shaukat
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (KashmirWatch)