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Baluchistan At The Cross Roads

28 July, 2006

By Farzana Shah


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Pakistan is increasingly becoming a focal point of the regional economy with the development of Gwadar Port and other mega projects in its Baluchitsan province. This coupled with its strategic location is the main reason for getting the attraction of the world and regional powers. Its critical importance can be gauged from the fact that the port of Gwadar could provide the ‘window’ to monitor the entire Persian Gulf, which according to the analysts is being used by many countries of the West, Middle East, Far East, China and India.

 

Due to the ever increasing needs of energy resources the world powers are watching keenly and looking for ways and means to control the oil and gas supply from Central Asia, for which Gwadar again could become a major outlet.  However, Chinese interest and presence in the region has not only caused great concern to them but also to our next door neighbour – India. 

A political turmoil causing unrest in Baluchistan could serve their designs to a great extent, where by funding and arming the rebels and miscreants could provide them with the foothold in the region. Baluchis being mostly a feudal and tribal society, the task of misleading them against the legit authorities becomes easier as only a handful of their tribal chiefs (Sardars) are to be inculcated.  The media war, seminars, discussions at various fora of the world and similar other ‘intellectual’ activity is a pre-requisite to lend credence to such insurgency and ‘freedom’ struggles.

In this regard the Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) United Kingdom arranged a seminar on Baluchistan province of Pakistan in collaboration with the so-called Baluchistan Rights Movement on 27th June 2006 in the House of Commons, London. It was highly disappointing as it was abashedly a one-sided cheap propaganda rather than discussing the real situation. By a mere look at the panel of the participants of the seminar one could easily figure out that it consisted of only anti-Pakistan elements and some self-styled activists advocating terrorism in the province. There were no representatives from government of Pakistan or even from the elected provincial government of Baluchistan in the seminar. It is just unfortunate that the Foreign Policy Centre which is expected to present fair suggestions to the British government to engage a country of their concern for important issues, indulged in such a blatant one-sided propaganda against Pakistan through the said seminar.

The seminar seemed to focus only at propagating the views of the rebels and miscreants active in Baluchistan at targeting the civilians and vital government installation to halt the development projects in the province.

It certainly put the credibility of the Foreign Policy Centre in doubt, although Hugh Barnes who chaired the event claimed FPC to be an ‘independent’ think tank committed to holding events of such nature with speakers and audience members from each side of the debate. He fell much short of the claim as in the said seminar there were many sides missing and only those opposed to the government advocating the cause of the miscreants were invited to it. Had there been any representative from the Government of Pakistan or from the elected government of Baluchistan, the centre would have been justified in its such claim.

FPC’s credibility becomes further questionable when one finds Pro-Israel Stephen Twiggs as its chairman and influencing its activities cleverly. He joined the Foreign Policy Centre as Director in August 2005. He is involved with the FPC from its conception in 1998 and since then as a Member of the Board from 1998 to 2006. He also chairs the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) a Westminster based pro-Israel lobby group working within the British Labour party. It is considered one of the most prestigious groupings in the party and is seen as a stepping stone to ministerial ranks by the Labour MPs.  The committee wields considerable influence in Westminster and is also consulted routinely by the Foreign Office and Downing Street on matters relating to the Middle East. Tony Blair is known to consult its members over Middle East policy. 

Very strangely, according to one Mir Azad Khan Baluch, at his blog http://governmentofbalochistan.blogspot.com, the Baloch Diaspora in April 2006 established the newly formed "democratic, liberal and secular" Government of Balochistan (GOB) in Exile in Jerusalem, Israel.

The address of which is as under

The World Baloch Jewish Alliance Building

PO Box 5631

Jerusalem, 91000

ISRAEL

No wonder the formation of the above GOB confirms the anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam role of the chair of the FPC, in misleading the British government and the audience through such seminar.

An other speaker, Dr Naseer Dashti, a relatively unknown entity of  Baluchistan mostly delved at maligning the non-Baluchis and trying to convince the British audience that if the UK sided with the miscreants fomenting trouble in the province, all the problems will be solved there. Interestingly he had altogether negated the entire ideology of the country

and that of Balochis. No one in Pakistan is in any way against the lifestyle of the Baluchs or their languages or culture as propagated by Dr Dashti.

Senator Dr Sanaullah Baloch, one of the anti-government elements in Pakistan, mostly focused on spitting venom against Pakistan Army through baseless allegations. Putting a cursory look at his comments one can only shake his/her head in disappointment as he even did not spare the development projects initiated by the government of Pakistan for the uplift of Balochs.

Similarly the speech by Mehran Baloch of the Baluchistan Rights Movement was one-sided opinion of an individual mainly focused on advocating insurgency in Pakistan just to benefit few Sardars for subjugating the common Baluchs.

Mr Laku Luhana, World Sindhi Congress was also no different from others only focusing on criticism of the Army. Although an ethnic body’s head has nothing to do with the situation in Baluchistan, however he was being given chance to speak and add to hatred against Pakistan.

Ryszard Czarnecki, a member of European Parliament from Poland, also spoke against Pak Army. He said “Pakistan came into existence through restrictive voting and is being ruled by the Punjabi army. Baluchs are a distinct ethnic group and not part of Pakistan.” It is laughable as every province of Pakistan has the population consisting of different ethnic groups. Does it mean that all the provinces are not part of Pakistan?

 All the above speakers seemed to have been assigned the task of speaking against the army and none of them for once mentioned the atrocities being committed by a few (read only three) Sardars against the common Baluchs.

None of them even mentioned how Nawab Akbar Bugti has subjected his own very people to torture and humiliation. He has not even spared his own relatives who are against his arbitrary rule. He expelled the Kalpars and Masuries (Baluchi) tribes from their own land compelling them to live in Punjab until the army restored peace in the province and they could return to their ancestral homelands. The FPC should have noted the fact that very recently about 600 commanders of Nawab Akbar Bugti surrendered voluntarily to the government. Bangan Khan Bugti, one of his commanders, is on record to have clearly revealed that Nawab Bugti had used all the funds provided to him by the government of Pakistan for his own personal interest and for buying the arms to wage war against the government and to subjugate his own tribesmen.

 

If these Sardars were so interested in the welfare of the Baluchs, why did not  Nawab Akbar Bugti carry out any development in the province when he was the Chief Minister of Baluchistan?  What stopped him from doing that?

Did the FPC try to peep into hundreds of ‘Farari’ camps established by the Sardars and Nawab Bugti which were being used as torture cells committing great Human Rights violation against the common Baluchs. Why did Mehran Baloch the great Human Rights activists over looked it?

Daily attacks by scores of missile were a routine matter during the last year and  the beginning of this year against the common Baluchs and the government installations by the terrorists, mainly comprising the  Bugti terrorists and the so called  Balochitsan Liberation Army which, incidentally,  has been banned recently by the British government as a terrorist Organisation,  which is indeed a commendable step.

However, despite the fact that terrorism is the biggest concern for the western world and insurgencies and political struggle in Kashmir, Chechnya and Palestine have been condemned and dubbed as terrorism, UK had led FPC to hold such a seminar wherein supporters of the trouble makers were advocating terrorism in the name of so called liberation urging British government to side with the terrorist against Pakistan.

An institution like FPC is expected to work towards education, information and better awareness about political and foreign policy issues to help them  resolve and not to provide prestigious platform for one-sided propaganda, hateful speeches and misinformation against a sovereign country.

Solution to the turmoil in Baluchistan lies in dialogue, greater democracy at grassroots level, and end to the aged-old primitive tribal system where powerful Sardars hold their private armies, have prisons, hold subservient courts and dispense justice as they wish. Unfortunately the selected participants in the seminar never addressed such any such issues and mainly seemed bent upon supporting the Sardari rule.

In the Pakistani mindset a feeling already exists  that Balochistan trouble is being fomented from outside with help and funding from western sources to destabilise the Pakistani state, to thwart Chinese strategic investment in the area, to compel Pakistan to co-operate in (the ensuing) operation against Iran and to divert attention from India’s problems in Kashmir. Such patently unbalanced and flawed seminar panels only add to such suspicions.

The End.

Reader Comments:

Baluchistan

It was good and well focused article. It has created awarness in the minds of general reader. I somehow agree to the contents of the articles. The writer has put her best efforts in the article and its shows her professionalism.

Hamood, Pakistan - 28 July, 2006

This is all progaganda

I was at ceminar in the houses of commons as well, there was a large number of pakistani reporters, journalists, and even people for pakistani's ambassy and ISI. They had full freedom to ask whatever questions they could ask. Sardars are not cruel of someth, and these accusations of Private jails are all nothing but lies. All pakistani medai and govt agents are trying to fool the people of Punjab and creating hatred among Baloch and Punjabis. Where as we Baloch have no hatred for Punjabis except those who are in Army and killing our innocent people in Marri and Bugti areas.

Fianlly this article has not a single true word in it, i'm very mush disappointed that Pak tribute has published such a baseless article.

Imran Baluch, United Arab Emirates - 28 July, 2006

dont through stones at others while living in glass-house all along.

Hello there,The space here is limited to give a comprehensive answer.1.Your a religious fanatic since yu mentioned words anti-islamic FPC.2there is no such thing as Pakistani govt.in reality,it's a army thug and his henchmen.3.If yu dig deep into your ancestry you are not a muslim but a convert from different religion which comes by birh . yu dont look like a Arab ,persian or Turkish.A convert is in reality an oppurtunist who says or does what suits the situation.4.You've accused everyone left,right and centre but reading your article gives a impression yu are on pay roll of your heart throb Musharoff.Having followed your venom&vitriol in your letters abovt India and kashmir i would not comment on since anything i say in my opinion is stooping to your level. remember the article yu've written on Bush's visit to India and Pakistan.Good-luck and get rid of viewing the world (esp India)with jaundiced eyes of Islamic fanaticism & raising fundamentalism.Thanks,N.S.Rao.

navlururao, Pakistan - 29 July, 2006

"Baluchistan At The Cross Roads"

response to Ms. Farazan Shah article "Baluchistan At The Cross Roads"

Seems she is intentionally ignoring the whole current crisis of Balochistan and unwilling to bring up the roots causes of issues in her article. I am surprised she shifted 100% blame on Baloch speakers. Whom are well aware and knowedgable personalities who tried to inform the audience about the root causes of issue in Balochistan, therefore they were invited to speak, they simply presented the facts such as naked exploitation of rich natural resources of Balochistan by central government of Pakistan (Islamabad) they exposed the lack of political rights of their people (Baloch) along with solid supporting ideas plus they explained the current brutal regimes and massive human rights voilations, which has been going in Balochistan.

Pleasing dictators, and being bias is a pattern of many Pakistani generalists who have one sided view. Neither bring any positve outcome or neither convince the readers whom are always trying to make score to please the regimes of the times inseated respecting their professional generalism rules. Ms Farzana Shah failed to balance her views which is nothing new for many of us.

Aziz Baloch


Aziz Baloch, Canada - 29 July, 2006

non-academic article

The aim of this article is nothing but to outline the one sided view of the government. It talks of internationalisation of Balochistan issue, and referring to the seminar in London, first of all it is a recognized institute, and its opinion is more significant than of the Pakistan Government ,which has no credibilty especially in handling Balochistan issue where its bombing its own people. about development, not even a single university, health care centre has been established by the current regime.The claims that the FPC was one sided conference, well the government gives its view everyday on TV ,media, and this seminar was to highlight opinion of Baloch people, .In pakistan, the regime stops every news about this region. Is realities are lies than why all this?

Ansa, Norway - 29 July, 2006

Hey

its time now for Great Baluchi Nation to returns its right from the iran-pki occuipairs its time know for Great Baluchi nation to rise and rule its own mother-Land Baluchistan u'll never stop us we will fight untill the end of the days give my libarity or give me death

Shaith, Uzbekistan - 29 July, 2006

udhu

its nice


hassan, Pakistan - 29 July, 2006

Not a Journalist

From reading this article its not a fair journalism but its a fail journalism, Balochistan will survive and you oppertunist so called journalist will end of sucking
your thumb Inshallah.
Long Live Balochistan

JK Jakrani, Pakistan - 30 July, 2006

Kill her

i urge upon all the baloch nationals to condemn this author.
She is becoming headach for us this is her second article against us i urge you to just kill her.
The article is against the balochs and it is your duty my baloch brothers all arround the world to come forward and crticise this author as much as you can.
you all can use the multi Ids yahoo group to condemn her.
I had already mailed many members.
Long Live Balochistan


Mehran Baloch, United Arab Emirates - 30 July, 2006

I agree with mehran baloch. Brother do not worry we are with you.
indians are with out balochi brothers and we will support you in your struggle for freedom from Pakistan.
i ask all the hindu balochs to come forward for helping your baloch brothers in paksitan

Arjun, Hungary - 30 July, 2006

Baluchistan

There is no good reason to give so much adverse publicity to this issue which is of course an internal problem of Pakistan. People should try to understand that Sirdars had played enough with governments of the past and also with the property and lives of people in Baluchistan. Blasting of Gas pipelines and properties is not justifed. If there is an action that is against the terrorist or those who are involved in subversive activities and trying to make a law of their own and surely Pakistan Government or any other government around the world would not tolerate such action of few individuals. Those involved must be brought to justice and tried in courts and if found guilty harsh punishment be given to them. Credit goes to Gen. Musharaf who is working hard to raise the standard of living of thet province which was ignored by previous government. Gwadar port and other progress in pipelines are going to bring lot of properity and jobs to the people there and majority will think differently when they have jobs and more opportunities for themselves.
There was no political solution as it was not a politicial and it has been dealt rightly by Gen. Musharaf. No one is above the law To maintain law and order in Pakistan is the first and foremost duty of the government of Pakistan. Thats what they have done. Siution is normal unless there are some blasts again, which I hope not. All people of Pakistan are Pakistanis and they have a right to live or work anywhere in Pakistan. Sirdars are anti Pakistan and must be taught good lesson.

mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 30 July, 2006

Balpchistan will emrge as a shining province of Pakistan

Balochistan's fate is tied to Pakistan. It is a landlocked province and has been under the thumb of mainly three tribal Sardars -- Bugti, Murree and Mangel. Bugti's back is being broken first. Next will be Murree and Mangel will be the last target.
The so-called Azad Balochistan has no future as the three Sardars have kept their people in complete illiteracy, ignorance and poverty. The funds that the miscreants are receiving are spent on destroying the province's installations through bomb blasts. The people by and large would suffer still more by this terrorism. As for foreign interference, India's case is the weakest. India's fate is sealed with Pakistan in neighbourhood. India, too, has its internal trouble spots. Luckily, Pakistan is keeping itself out of stoking fires in India's big trouble spots.
Our media has started visiting the interior of Balochistan. The footage shown on the TV portrays a pathetic picture. The Sardars have kept the province from progress for half a century. The developing multinational companies would never like to negotiate with the three main Sardars. The resources are too big to be chewed by the Sardars -- world's largest copper and gold mines.
The Army is doing the right thing and very soon the Bugtis, Murrees and the Mangels would either bow down or flee the province.

Sher Mohammad.


Sher Mohammad, Pakistan - 30 July, 2006

all praises 4 ur xclent article JANA

naseer, Pakistan - 01 August, 2006

the writer is too biased

After reading your hate filled article against Balochs in Paktribune on Friday July 28, 2006, written by Farzana Shah. I am writing my response to her. Though I tried to post my response in the comment section of that website too, but Paktribune seems to be quiet biased and a propaganda website of Pakistani intelligence, they didn't approved my response. Therefore I am sending my response to the writer of the article and some email groups.
If such a seminar was conducted on the Kashmir issue (which is not more a issue of Kashmiri people but is used by Pakistan to blackmail India for proxy war), then I guess the writer of this article must have felt very happy and today instead of condemning and criticism the FPC, she must have been proving the FPC the most democratic and human loving organization on the surface of world. I want to ask the writer of this article a question “isn't it hypocrisy to have different rule's and different principles for different people?” when the question comes on Baloch Freedom fighters you call then miscreants and terrorists while when Pakistan trained afghan militants (Pakistan call the Kashmiri Freedom Fighters) are called terrorists in any discussion Pakistan feels annoyed and irritated on such remarks.
If the writer of this article claims to be the champion of human rights then why can't she raise her voice for those 6000 Baloch Students and political activists kidnapped by the state terrorist group better known to be ISI and MI. most of these missing people are not brought in front of any of the courts in Pakistan. If those people were criminals then Pakistan is supposed to have a constitution (though this constitution worth's not more then a toilet paper), and legislation, these people should be presented in front of courts and the convicts should be given the right to hire lawyers and defend their cases. But nothing as such could be done because who dares to ask the Intelligence agencies of Islamic republic of Pakistan.
The writer seems to be very much pessed off for the one sided seminar, but she doesn't tells us the reason for one sided media onslaught on Baloch leaders showing them monsters and warlords.
The writer says that there is no discrimination towards Balochs in the Islamic republic of Pakistan, but can she explains the abduction and strict action against the staff and director of Baloch Voice TV. The Director of Baloch Voice tv was abducted by MI from Karachi airport in early April this year and he is still missing.
I suggest the writer to give a visit to the press clubs in Karachi, Quetta and Islamabad, she will find the mothers and family members begging and crying for their children who were victim of Pakistani oppression of Baloch people.
I agree Sardars did nothing for Balochs but can you explain that Pakistan had remained under military dictatorship for half of its history, what did the military dictators did for Balochistan and Baloch people. The three Sardars remained in power not more then five years if we count the tenure of all three collectively, in the sixty year (approx) history of Pakistani occupation of Baloch motherland.
The writer tried to link Baloch struggle for autonomy and independence to Israel and Zionist lobbies, by giving the link of a fake organization claiming to be the GOB(exile), an organization not accepted or recognized by any political party, leader or group in any part of Balochistan or Baloch in Iran or Afghanistan. Hence making your argument not only void but showing you quite un mature about political scenario of Balochistan.
The solution to Balochistan 's turmoil lies in the fact to let the people of Balochistan to decide their fate themselves, Punjab or the establishment dominated by Punjab has no right to decide the fate of Baloch nation. The Baloch nation should be given the right to decide if they want to live with Pakistani occupation or want have their own identity. Pakistan should pull out her troops from Balochistan and immediately stop bombing the villages and civilians of Balochistan.
If Pakistani rulers and people didn't acted maturely to Balochistan situation then it is feared that Pakistan will also face suicide bombers and bomb attacks outside Balochistan inside Pakistan's own territory.
Baloch liberation army has so far proved itself to be a sensible freedom fighters by not attacking the civilians and keep their targets only the security forces of Pakistan and those installations of government which were aimed to develop the occupiers and helping the occupied forces to strengthen its grip on Baloch motherland and exploit its resources.
Baloch liberation army didn't attacked the public places in Punjab and Sindh, neither hurt the settlers from Punjab and Sindh in Balochistan, there fore terming Baloch liberation army as a terrorist organization is totally based on the biasness of the writer and Is merely a cheap propaganda by her.



Salar, Pakistan - 03 August, 2006

Typical Punjabi Sooch

Haqeat Talkh Tu Hoti Hai

Bevargh Baloch, Pakistan - 03 August, 2006

I agree with Mr. Navluru Rao. Farzana surely looks like a convert. :-*

nitin, Hungary - 04 August, 2006

another attention consicious female (and pakisthani)...writes rubbish just to get us note some thing in this section. has no knowledge what so ever. worth ignored!!!

indian, Hungary - 09 August, 2006

go & visit Balochistan

go & visit 1st, then writer fever of ur account, when ur army killing kids & women where r u that time? revolation revolation till Freedom

Mah Baloch, Pakistan - 09 August, 2006

salute to baluch brother

Dear brother Mehran,
Calm brother Calm brother,Do not kill any body it is a sin, the butcherer of baluch people will punished severely.The atrocities going on in Baluchisthan by Pakisthan Army is well known to the world.Just wait and watch therising sun of indepedent Baluchisthan.Countries are ready, they will strike when it is hot (iron).Baluchisthan will be the second Bangladesh but this time not India somebody else will act may be some big power. So brother encourage Farzana to write more and more you will get global publicity.All the best Baluch brothers.

Indian brother, Hungary - 09 August, 2006

Finally some light shed

Well it has been known how the Sardars ruthlessly ruled the province but I donot blame them also. They have these excuses because of the governments also. But it doesnot mean they are right in waging a shameless terrorist war. I give credit to Gen.Musharraf for taking a bold step and going after all the root causes. In the name of freedom these Sardars have actually done a service to foreign anti Pakistan elements. Here is where it all stops. Even though their brainwashed elements will create trouble for quite a while. But it will Inshallah end and Baluchistan with its people involved ,will become a prosperous province.

MOHSIN, Canada - 10 August, 2006

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