By Mohammad Jamil
Dana Rohrabacher has tabled a resolution in the US House of Reprehensive, calling for right of self-determination for the Balochi people. The bill states that Balochistan is currently divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan with no sovereign rights of its own. Some American writers have already indicated in the world map about Pakistan’s province of Balocshistan, joining with Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan region becoming a Greater Balochistan. As part of the Great Game, the US strategic map-makers have been playing with our Balochistan province, while America have been sending dollar in to further accelerate insurgency and purchasing the loyalties of influential Baloch. However, American leadership had underestimated Pakistan’s present civil and military leadership. After Kerry-Lugar law, Raymond Davis episode and attack by US Navy Seals at Abbottabad compound, government had initially fumbled, but then picked up the courage to resist America’s devious plans.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has condemned the resolution stating: “This resolution violates our sovereignty and we condemn it.” UN charter binds all the states to fully respect other sovereign countries’sovereignty and integrity. However, the US has a long history of flouting all laws and treaties of international engagement. The present move seems to be the reaction to the Trilateral Summit in which President Asif Ali Zardari that Pakistan would not accept foreign pressure for abandoning the Pak-Iran gas pipeline, adding that Pakistan would not allow America to use of its bases if it attacked Iran. America is averse to the idea that Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan should have say in the reconciliation process in Afghanistan, and wants to go alone with the Taliban. Anyhow, at this point in time, when Iran is being targeted by the US, Israel and European countries, and the US has imposed sanctions on Iran, Pakistan’s decision to go ahead with Pak-Iran gas pipeline is bold, which has irritated the super power. It is an established fact that Pakistan is energy-starved more than India or any other country in the region, and is likely to suffer most by dropping Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. Anyhow, Pakistan is not obliged to abide by US sanctions and is committed to abide by UN sanctions only. India has also told America that India would not abide by the US sanctions; and in fact a high-powered delegation is to visit Iran soon to ink agreements for about $20 billion. Russia and China have stakes in Iran, the former eyes Iran’s defence purchases, and China imports oil from Iran, and they are likely to veto any resolution that could result in conflagration of the region or compromise their interests. Preamble of the UN resolution 1929 reads: “Adopting resolution 1929 (2010) by a vote of 12 in favour to 2 against (Brazil, Turkey), with 1 abstention (Lebanon), the Council also requested the Secretary-General to create a panel of experts to monitor implementation of the sanctions”.
The Council had decided that Iran should not acquire interests in any commercial activity relating to uranium enrichment and other nuclear materials or technology in other States, and that all States should prevent the transfer to Iran of any tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, attack helicopters, or missiles and related systems or parts. The resolution also contains provisions to help block Iran’s use of the international financial system, particularly its banks when they may be used to fund proliferation and nuclear activities. By going through the entire text of the resolution, one can conclude that Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline does not fall within the ambit of resolution 1929, or earlier resolutions passed by the UNSC. Anyhow, America is mounting pressure on Pakistan to abandon Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. America made many promises but it has been procrastinating on providing immediate financial help and wasting time on creating groups on various subjects, and nothing concrete has come out so far.
So far as Balochistan is concerned, it has remained in vortex of violence and insurgencies from time to time, but it was relatively peaceful till after US invaded Afghanistan. From 2007 onwards thousands of Punjabis were killed, over a million non-Baloch residents migrated to Karachi and Punjab. US did not raise a voice then. America has been supporting kings and military dictators and turned a blind to their brutalities and atrocities on their people. Only, when it fits into its strategic designs that America raises the issue of human rights. With Pakistan’s defiance after US troops killed 28 Pakistani soldiers at Salalah border posts and as a consequence stoppage of NATO supplies by Pakistan, incidence of insurgency in Baloch areas has increased. It is against this backdrop that the US is courting Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, firstly to ensure NATO supplies and secondly to marginalize Russia and China. But Russia is somewhat alarmed and is trying to keep the American influence from expanding in the region. It appears that the Great Game is being revisited.
It is an open secret that Brahmdagh Bugti was protected by US in Afghanistan, and provided safe haven next to Karzai’s palace from where he, with professional support of CIA/RAW, directed insurgency in Baloch areas of Balochistan. He managed to have John Solecki, UNHCR’s Head in Balochistan kidnapped. He reportedly got $ 25 million from Anne Patterson, the then US Ambassador, and the US reportedly shifted Brahmdagh to Switzerland, where he now lives in comfort but still carries on militancy in Baloch areas. Not only he, but also two sons of Khair Bakhsh Marri and Suleman Ahmadzai, so-called Khan of Kalat, have also been given asylum in Switzerland and London. David Cameron, like Tony Blair, is always willing to do America’s biddings. The US is reported to have facilitated opening of several anti-Pakistan Baloch-Websites in Jerusalem and New York and these are being updated to spread venomous propaganda against Pakistan. Yet it is being claimed that the resolution in the US Congress does not reflect US administration’s policy. Anyhow, Balochistan is not where only Baloch live. More than half of Balochistan is peaceful where Pashtuns, Hazaras, Kurds, Sindhis and settlers live. Only elements from components of three tribes, Marri, Bugti and Mengal have been carrying out insurgency. The militants go on roving “missions” duly briefed by their handlers, and kill innocent people and security personnel, and throw some explosives and mines. For every killing they are paid. It is unfortunate that some Pakistani politicians, anchorpersons, analysts and panelists have joined the chorus with the US, and they accuse Pakistan military and intelligence agencies for the situation in Balochistan. When Punjabis or those belonging to other ethnic group are targeted by insurgents, they keep mum, and again criticizing agencies for their inability to stop bloodshed. On the other hand, if they act against murderers, they cry hoarse for human rights violations. They suggest that the government should talk to dissident sardars, not realizing that Harbyar Marri and Brahamdagh Bugti have their own agenda i.e. independent Balochistan. Can anybody in his right sense enter into dialogue for disintegration of the motherland?
The writer is Lahore-based senior journalist.