I am often confronted with a question about how to create global awareness about the Balochistan movement. Common answers would be that India, Afghanistan, United States and friendly countries should initiate a debate and chalk out a long-term policy to work with Balochistan in order to maintain durable peace and prosperity of the region. Recognizing Balochistan as an occupied territory will pave the way for it to become a sovereign state.
India should make a concrete policy for assisting the Baloch people. The Indian government should give asylum/citizenship to us so that the Baloch diaspora can carry their movement for independence without being intimidated by anyone. If Baloch pro-independence parties can have their offices in the UK, US and other European countries, then why can’t they have a political office in India?
Delhi should take a leading role in exposing the gross human rights violation being perpetrated by the Pakistan Army in occupied Balochistan. India should train the Baloch patriots and help them raise an army of about 50,000 soldiers who should be sent to defend the borders of Balochistan. It would play a vital role in thwarting the Pakistani and Chinese exploitation and also dismantle Chinese military projects including naval bases in Jiwani, Ormara and Pasni.
A strong Baloch army will prevent the loot and plunder of Balochistan’s rich resources like gold, copper, natural gas, coal and other rare minerals. China and Pakistan are trying hard to exploit the region, especially like Kohistan Marri.
New roads are being constructed and there are reports of heavy troop deployment forcing the locals from Bambor, Kahan, Rakni and the adjoining areas of district Kohlu to migrate. Levies (a paramilitary force) has been deployed to guard the logistics but the drilling sites are secured by the Pakistani army and Frontier Corps, controlled directly from Islamabad.
Last week, the ISI and Military Intelligence (MI) organized a rally in Kohlu city where former senator Mohbat Khan Zindozai Marri, Bahar Khan Bijarani (a local collaborator of Pakistan Army) and Inayaullah Zarkoon (head, Zarkoon tribe) gave speeches and offered full support to the government to start drilling for oil, gas, coal and other minerals.
The drilling of oil wells was started by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1973 but due to fierce resistance put up by some Balochs, it was not possible to install the machinery in mountainous areas of Kahan and Jhandaran region of Kohlu. Leaders like Hyrbyair Marri and his father, late Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, led the fight against the exploitation of region’s resources.
The Baloch armed group, Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), had also been targeting Pakistan Army cantonments, outposts and state-run exploration companies for a long time. BLA’s spokesperson Azad Baloch had issued a stern warning to the Army asking them to stay away from the mineral-rich region.
A huge economic crisis in the country has made the Pakistani leaders in Islamabad to accelerate usurpation of Balochistan’s minerals. Meanwhile, China is building underground naval bases and military installations in Jewani and Sonmiani region of Gawadar. A strong Baloch army can dismantle the Chinese military installations. These projects will be used against India and the US in future. India should approach EU, USA, Africa and the gulf countries to build a collective approach against the economic and military terrorism initiated by China in Balochistan, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and other areas.
India enjoys an overwhelming support of the global powers and can offer its expertise to build a global consensus for the Baloch cause. America and Islamic countries should invite Balochistan as a regional stakeholder. It is obvious that a weak Balochistan will only strengthen Pakistan and China.
We are also witnessing turmoil and proxy war against Afghanistan which has been orchestrated and supervised by the ISI. Baloch leader Hyrbyair Marri, president of Free Balochistan Movement, had in an interview last year, also revealed how Pakistan is creating riots, disturbing internal security, law and order in India.
China, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey have joined hands against India. Balochistan will however stand with its reliable and true friends. Balochs, just like the Kurds, deserve global attention and recognition and will always remain a trustworthy allay and friend of India, USA, Afghanistan and Israel.
(Sobdar Baloch is a journalist and a human rights activist who associated with the Free Balochistan Movement)