The speech of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2016, from New Delhi’s Red Fort, had something which triggered a wave of discussions in the international media. The recent reference of Narendra Modi about Balochistan from Red Fort has suddenly surfaced the dirtiest secret of Pakistan which was lying covered from a long time. Some Indians also might have tried to locate Balochistan on the world map after Narendra Modi’s reference to the Pakistan’s troubled province last Monday. While the words mentioning Balochistan were very well crafted by PM but they proved to be a curtain raiser of the most controversial human acts violation in the world’s history by Pakistan, which has been successfully kept covered from everyone.
Pakistan has always been targeting India over the issue of Kashmir and tried to demean India’s democratic image on the international platforms like United Nations. It has always probed the people of Kashmir by referring it as an independent nation which is occupied by India. But the mention of the word ‘B’ before the whole world and foreign diplomatic corps by Narendra Modi has caught the attention of entire world over the atrocities and brutal conflicts that Pakistan has been continuously imposing on Balochistan. Narendra Modi, through his speech, has strategized to fulfill two tasks which are at present crucial to India:
Firstly, he had countered Pakistan over her repetitive propaganda of Kashmir issue by drawing the attention of world over the war imposed by Pakistan on Balochistan.
Secondly, it is a well-planned masterstroke for the world to know of Pakistan’s atrocities in Balochistan. It was intended to uncover Pakistan’s dirtiest secret which left Islamabad red-faced and foaming at the mouth.
However, some political strategists also think that it would be a threat to India’s image of high moral values and might backfire someday.
But, there is an untold story to this political scenario and the Prime Minister of world’s largest democracy has given voice to the people of Balochistan fighting from a long time for self-determination. PM’s mere mention of “thanking Baloch people for their good wishes”, may not be concentrated on the game of one-upmanship between the two South Asian neighboring countries and India have just breathed new life into Baloch people by giving them recognition on the international stage.
History of Balochistan
The root of this entire conflict lies in 1947 during the independence era and when British were on the path of dividing India on the religious and racial fault lines. Balochistan was entirely different from Pakistan as Pakistan has no justification in history. It doesn’t have its own language or civilization whereas; Balochistan has always possessed all the ingredients of a separate nation-state. The people of Baloch were and remained fiercely independent, carrying their own cultural and social identity.
As quoted by AK Mengal, Nationalist Leader and former chief minister (1972-73) of Balochistan province in 1987, “Baloch has a history of a different identity. It has all the qualities of a separate nation. It has got its own language, it has got its own culture, own heroes and it has got its own land.”
The boundaries of Balochistan are stretched till Iran to the west and Afghanistan to the North, being the fourth Kurdish state formed in 1410. It was attacked and conquered by British in 1839. British rule was very struggling and unfortunate for Baluch people as it sliced Balochistan into three pieces. British distributed northern Balochistan and western Balochistan to Iran and Afghanistan respectively, and eastern Balochistan (occupied by Pakistan controversially) remained independent and maintained treaty relations with the British back then.
It was later at the time of formation of Pakistan that it’s Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah initiated military march into Balochistan and annexed it in March 1948.
Atrocities by Pakistan
From all these years, the state is under the yoke of oppression by the Pakistani army, resulting in a large number of Human rights violation and untold barbarities for over seven decades. It is reported that the last 15 years were remarkably tough for the Baloch people to survive the cultural hegemony and military excesses of Pakistani forces.
A self-exiled Baloch rights activist, Naela Quadri Baloch, based in Canada, who is fighting Pakistan’s presence in her land says, “For the last 15 years, we are facing war imposed on us by Pakistan, human rights violations, and their kill-and-dump policy. (Around) 25,000 people including women and children are missing… abducted by Pakistan Army. It has reached the level of genocide. There are a hundred mass graves in Balochistan. It is a war situation. They fire indiscriminately, they kill anything — one-year-old babies, girls, women and even our cattle. They abduct and take Baloch women into their rape cells. There are official torture cells. They have abducted thousands of women— no one knows their whereabouts. They are using rape and dishonor as an instrument to crush a nation.”
Similar reports from various other media houses like The Guardian, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), BBC, The Times of India, LiveLeak, and NDTV, etc. have tried to draw continuous attention of International Human Rights experts and world leaders over the oppression of Baloch people, especially women. There are unreasonable arbitrary arrests and unreasonable torture by Pakistan’s police, military, security and intelligence forces. Baloch women are captivated and used as sex slaves. They are kept in separate torture cells and sexually abused to live into conditions which are worse than death.
India’s role in the unrest in Balochistan
As far as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is concerned, he has highlighted the freedom struggle of Baloch people by extending them moral support. The World is yet to react on the issue but several Baloch activists and nationalist leaders have applauded for PM and welcomed Modi’s gesture with open arms. On one hand, Naela Baloch urged Modi to be their voice at the United Nation in September, Karima Baloch who is a young student leader has expressed her gratitude towards Modi on the occasion of Modi by posting a video on YouTube.
She urged PM to be a brother to the Baloch women and catch the attention of world over the atrocities inflicted by Pakistan Army over the nation.
She didn’t ask Modi to fight a war for Balochistan rather be their voice over the International Platforms and aware them about the genocide and human rights violations in Balochistan.
It is yet to see India’s reaction and take on the Balochistan issue. The equation of Baloch struggle could be only used as leverage against Pakistan to counter her over Kashmir matter or the political leaders of India decide to internationalize it in future to create more pressure on Islamabad?