Written by Sajjad Shaukat
Located on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, Balochistan’s Gwadar deep-seaport is close to the Strait of Hormuz from where more than 17 million barrels of oil passes every day. Its ideal location among three key regions, South Asia, the oil-rich Middle East, and oil and gas-resourced Central Asia has further increased its strategic significance. Its development with Chinese assistance and latter’s bilateral agreements with Islamabad has shifted the great game of Central Asia to Pakistan.
Besides, Balochistan’s abundant mineral resources like gas, coal and gold, entailing Pakistan’s close ties with China pinches the eyes of the US, India, Israel and some western countries which intend to destabilize Pakistan for their collective aims. These hostile powers are trying to create fissures between Islamabad and Beijing so as to sabotage their strategic alliance.
In this regard, Balochistan’s business and trade opportunities have also made it important for US, EU, Russia, China, India, Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics to play the great game, while anti-Pakistan powers are secretly working to create conditions to control and influence the resource-rich zones, disregarding the compulsions of mainland integration.
While terror-acts and human rights violations are already keep on going in Balochistan, but without grasping reality, and using the existing political predicament in the province as a pretext to encourage separatism, external enemies raise voice on human rights violations over projection of mass graves which were found in Tootak area of Khuzdar on January 25, 2014. And Baloch Sub Nationalists (BSNs) have unleashed false allegations against Pakistan by purporting fabricated figures of bodies over 150 and declaring these bodies as missing Persons—articulated voices of external enemies to alleged enforced disappearances, holding Pakistan’s security forces and law-enforcing agencies responsible for every wrong which takes place in Balochistan. It seems ridiculous when some of them allegedly say that security agencies are behind terrorist activities in Balochistan. Nevertheless, on 30 January 30, 2014, US Congressman Louie Gohmert delivered a highly venomous speech at US House of Representatives on Balochistan Situation, citing his meeting with BSN leadership, which was broadcasted live on Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network in US. Senator Gohmert also read out the article of Tarek Fateh (Canada based BSNs’ sympathizer), published by Toronto “SUN” on January 28, criticizing US for ignoring the mass graves issue during US Senator John Kerry’s meeting with Pakistan’s National and Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz.
Notably, India, US and Israel have been internationalizing the Balochistan issue in accordance with their secret goals. In this respect, in connivance with the Baloch separatist leaders who have taken refuge in Switzerland, Sweden, US and London, these external elements use media, various NGOs and human rights organizations for false propaganda against Pakistan’s security agencies in relation to extrajudicial killings, mutilated bodies and the missing persons.
As regards the deteriorating situation of Balochistan and the missing persons, everyone knows that Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and their affiliated outfits including another group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have been fighting for secession of the province gets logistic support from American CIA and Indian RAW—these militants kidnapped and killed many innocent people and the security personnel in the province. They also massacred many persons through suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings and sectarian violence. Therefore, they are responsible for dumped bodies and extrajudicial killings in the province. On a number of occasions, these insurgent groups claimed responsibility for their subversive acts. A majority of the disappeared individuals are also in the detention centers (Farrari Camps) which are being run by Baloch feudal lords (Sardars) who want to continue old system of feudalism in the province.
Unfortunately, BLA and BSNs are also in collusion with some US Congressmen to get foreign support so as to animate the scheme of separatism in Balochistan. In this context, dissidents like Khan of Kalat Mir Suleman Khan, Hyrbyair Marri, Mehrab Sarjov and others are busy in Europe and US to project Balochistan issue on international level. For the purpose, these leaders and especially, Baloch feudal lord, Khan of Kalat planned to take the issue of Balochistan to International Court of Justice (ICJ) and expected that India would pay $2.4 million lawyers’ fee to contest their case in ICJ. As Indian support did not get materialized, these leaders contacted to US officials to forward their case.
In February 8, 2012, three Republican Congressmen including Dana Rohrabacher, Louie Gohmert and Steve King tabled a bill before US Congress stating, “Balochistan is currently divided between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan with no sovereign rights of its own. In Pakistani Balochistan the people are subjected to violence and extrajudicial killings.” The bill favoured Baloch rights of self-determination, having a sovereign state—and must be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status.
Earlier, the US subcommittee on ‘Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ convened a hearing on extrajudicial killings and violation of human rights in Baluchistan. Rohrabacher chaired the meeting, while Lt. Col. (R) Ralph Peters testified. Lt. Col. (R) Peters is the architect of infamous 2006—New Middle East map and is an advocator for the disintegration of Muslim states on sectarian and religious lines. His map shows a number of Islamic countries including Pakistan as truncated. While writing in the June 2006 issue of The Armed Forces Journal of the US, he had suggested Washington about the creation of a “Greater Balochistan” which would integrate the Baloch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran—and the Frontier Province (Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa) should be incorporated into Afghanistan.”
Although the US Administration quickly distanced itself from Congressional hearing by Rohrabacher and Peters’ testimony, yet US denial does not augur well with ground reality, as American think tanks, NGOs and websites go on instigating the separatist elements in Baluchistan. US State Department which funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Voice of Baluchistan (VOB) have been instrumental in fomenting dissension and nationalistic feelings in the province. It has been pressurizing Pakistan to allow opening of a US consulate in Quetta. The aim is to execute US covert designs against Islamabad.
It is mentionable that the Tea Party members in US Congress, especially Dana Rohrabacher, Louie Gohmert and Steve King are reportedly working to create an independent Balochistan. Their leaders are angry with Pakistan on the self-created presumption of sheltering Osama-bin-Laden, and intend to teach a lesson to Islamabad by assisting the Baloch separatists. These Tea Party members who currently back the idea of a sovereign Balochistan were in the forefront of Afghan Jihad against the former Russia. They also held meetings with dissidents in London.
As a result of the general elections 2013, the government led by a nationalist leader Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch was established. And on December 7, 2013; local bodies elections were largely held in a peaceful manner in Balochistan. However, these elections proved that majority of the Baloch are loyal to the federation, as they have rejected the case of separatists, being projected by Dana Rohrabacher including other entities.
Now, the right hour has come that Pakistan’s internal entities, particularly media must expose the foreign sinister aims against Balochistan. They must indicate that Baloch dissidents are being supported by external forces which are actually having devouring eyes on Balochistan’s mineral deposits. US Congressmen must also not encourage separatist elements in the province to advance their own agenda to usurp resources of Balochistan. US government must not muddle in the internal affairs of Pakistan, otherwise it will lead to dangerous consequences.
Pakistani media, civil society, political parties and judiciary must realize that Balochistan is being plotted as part of the great game in which US and its allies plan to fulfil their strategic interests at the cost of Pakistan and China. Hence, all Pakistanis must get united to negate and defeat the greedy designs of US, EU and India. Political instability in Balochistan must come to an end and present government in Balochistan must be supported by media, civil society and political parties.
Our media must denounce the intriguing designs of US members of the Tea Party, who are showing their hypocrisy and double face regarding Balochistan. Media should point out that these hostile members draw sanctified reference from British colonial era of the 18the century when a protest in Boston against absurd taxation on Tea (product) was held by a Tea Party as a measure of raising voice for human rights. The situation in Balochistan presents an internal issue of Pakistan which has mainly been addressed by the political leadership.
The issue of mass graves is under court investigations and official findings are being completed through DNA testing. Hostile propaganda by BSNs that actual number of bodies found was much higher than 13, as officially reported, must be countered. Foreign propaganda should not be allowed to encourage the separatists who are in minority.
Media must also indicate that besides protecting mega projects, and promoting other developments works, Pak Army set up a number of institutes in Balochistan, which have been providing especially technical training to thousands of Balochis. Pak Army has also been imparting military training to the Baloch youth. The purpose is to bring the Baloch people in the mainstream of the country.
Particularly, our missions abroad must counter foreign designs and denounce meetings between Baloch dissidents and US Congressmen by exposing the connivance of anti-Pakistan forces against Balochistan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Affairs