EXCLUSIVE | Shun the rhetoric, walk the talk on Balochistan: Rebel leader Hyrbyair Marri tells Modi govt

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Updated: September 3, 2019 10:41:33 AM

Pakistan's obsession with unfounded human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir brought back the focus on atrocities committed by its army on the people of PoK and Balochistan. Hyrbyair Marri says that Pakistan will cease to exist once Balochistan attains independence from it.

balochistan, freedom, Balochi cause, balochistan issue, balochistan pakistan, balochistan liberation army, Pok, Balochistan freedom, baloch independence, balochistan news, Hyrbyair Marri, Modi balochistan, gilgit baltistan, UN, human rights pok, human rights violations, human rights balochistan, human rights pok, xinjiang, uighurs, baloch, baloch movementsFree Balochistan Movement leader Hyrbyair Marri. (Pic: Facebook)

Balochistan latest news: Pakistan’s attempts to internationalise the Kashmir issue appears to have triggered a tsunami of emotions here in India. Expectations from the Narendra Modi government are high that India backs the Baloch freedom movement and raise the issue of Pakistan Army’s continuing atrocities in the region at the United Nations. Balochistan did figure in Prime Minister Modi’s Independence Day speech in 2016, where he thanked the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir for their greetings, nothing has moved beyond. In an exclusive interaction with Financial Express Online, leader of Free Balochistan Movement, Hyrbyair Marri says that contrary to their expectations of a change in the Indian policy in favour of Balochistan, nothing positive has happened so far. He says Prime Minister Modi’s I-Day speech created more problems for the Baloch people as Pakistani Army increased its atrocities. He said that the Modi government was limited to rhetoric and that did not help.

“Pakistan might have thought at that time that India now might completely support Balochistan’s struggle, so they intensified their atrocities in Balochistan but as I have already said nothing happened after the speech from the Indian side, so it was not helpful for Balochistan’s liberation struggle and it benefited Pakistan army. Modi government was limited to rhetoric in the first term regarding Balochistan and still, we haven’t seen any concrete policy on Balochistan in his second term,” he says.

Pakistan’s obsession with unfounded human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir brought back the focus on atrocities committed by its army on the people of PoK and Balochistan. But why is it that we don’t hear much about the illegal occupation of Pakistan of Balochistan or PoK at the United Nations? Why is it that the biggest human rights violator is allowed to masquerade as a human rights champion at the UN? And should India lend its support to Balochistan in its endeavor to achieve its rightful claim? Marri says that Pakistan will cease to exist once Balochistan attains independence from it. He says United Nations has ignored the issue of Balochistan which is a truly international issue.

Edited excerpts from an exclusive interaction:

1- Pakistan has been accusing India of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. It has raised this issue at the United Nations. While any country can raise human rights issue, Pakistan and China certainly have no locus standi given their own records in Balochistan and Xinjiang. In the backdrop of their own record in Balochistan or Xinjiang, why do you think is the UN not discussing them?

Answer: United Nations is not an impartial institution. It is an exclusive club for nation-states. It is highly influenced by the engagement of its member states because they make policies, run UN’s institutions and chair committees. Pakistan since 1947 has been using the United Nations as a political tool and utilizing every institution and committee for her benefit. China also influences the United Nations and therefore other states rarely criticise China because of the military and economic relations they have with her.

Balochistan is an occupied country and in a rule-based world, Pakistan should have been stripped of UN membership because it clearly violated the UN’s Charter when it forcibly and illegally invaded Balochistan. I have time and again said that that UN Charter’s Article 2, sub-article 4, refrain member states from using force against political independence of any state. Pakistan occupied Balochistan with military force and we have evidence that Jinnah ordered Pakistani Army to invade Balochistan. Balochistan is a genuine international issue that has been ignored by the United Nations whereas Kashmir has been discussed several times.

Some Indians argue that it is because of Nehru who approached the United Nations when Pakistan invaded Kashmir. However, it could be one of the several reasons, but I strongly believe that Kashmir issue is still alive at the international level because Pakistan has spent a huge amount of energy and money to make it an international issue. Each member state has power and influence in the United Nations and Pakistan has been using that influence systematically against India since 1947. On the other hand, Indian governments have failed to make an effective long-term strategy against Pakistan.

2- Pakistan’s brutalities in Balochistan are known to the whole world. Considering its record in the south-western region, can Pakistan claim to be a country concerned about human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir?

Answer: Pakistan was created in name of Islam by Indian Muslims but it has nothing to do with Islam and Pakistani Muslim Punjabi establishment always used Islam for their political ends. Pakistan occupied Kashmir is called Azad Kashmir (independent Kashmir). There are almost 200 countries in the world, but none of them put ‘independent’ with their official country name. Calling Pakistani occupied Kashmir, Azad Kashmir, makes it more doubtful — whether it’s Azad? Why would anyone put Azad (independent) with their country’s name? Do they call Afghanistan, Azad Afghanistan or Tajikistan, Azad Tajikistan? Pakistan shedding crocodile tears over Kashmir is nothing but skimble-scamble.

If they had any regards for human rights or even any respect or sympathy for fellow Muslims, they would have never occupied Balochistan and started genocide. They would have never raped and killed millions of Muslim Bengalis. They would have never helped Jordan to kill Palestinians. They would have never waged a war against Afghan people and killed millions of them in a so-called Jihad. They would have never called China their ‘Iron brother’ who put millions of Uighur Muslims in concentration camps. Pakistan is a by-product of British colonial shenanigans. Pakistan cannot be called a normal state and it never acted as one. It has a colonial mentality that’s why its words are a world apart from its deeds.

3- Pakistan has been projecting that it is concerned about Kashmiris, but what does the slogan of ‘Kashmir Banega Pakistan’ truly reveal about its intention? If it’s concerned about the concept of self-determination, why does it not act on the demands of Balochistan?

Answer: The very slogan of Pakistan that ‘Kashmir Banega Pakistan’ exposes Pakistan’s real intention that it wants to occupy entire Kashmir like it occupied Balochistan in 1948. Pakistan will never cease its attempts to occupy the remaining Kashmir because Kashmir is a strategic location and has huge water resources. One of the effective tools Pakistan has been using for its evil intentions has always been religion. As for not giving freedom to Balochistan, it is obvious because Pakistan’s survival depends on Baloch resources and present-day occupied Balochistan amount for 50 percent of their land. Colonial and occupying states never give freedom to their colonies, the occupied and colonised nations have to unite and resist against their oppressor and break the shackles of slavery to regain their freedom. That is what Baloch are doing and soon we will have our country back.

Once Balochistan is liberated that will be the end of Pakistan. The Baloch, the Pashtun and the Sindhis are fed up of Pakistan and all these occupied nations want freedom. Punjab and Sindh are breakaway part of India, Pashtun areas were part of Afghanistan and Balochistan was an independent state. When Balochistan gets freedom, Pakistan automatically will cease to exist because Afghanistan will reclaim its territory and remaining Pakistan would include only pre-partition Indian territories i.e. Sindh and landlocked western Punjab, as their historical territories India can reclaim its pre-partitioned parts.

4) In 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to the Baloch freedom struggle while addressing the nation on Independence Day. But nothing much has moved since. What do the Baloch leaders expect from Prime Minister Modi?

Answer: Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned Balochistan in his speech in 2016 and I understand that there were some contacts among Baloch organisations and some Indian institutions long before Modi’s Balochistan speech. However, after Narendra Modi’s speech, line of communications between Baloch organisations and Indian institutions were also cut off. We expected a change in the Indian policy in favour of Balochistan which would have also secured Indian national interests in the region. Though nothing positive happened and Modi’s speech created more problems for the Baloch people. After the speech, more atrocities were committed, and more people were enforced disappeared. Several military operations were conducted by the Pakistani army in Balochistan soon after his speech. Pakistan might have thought at that time that India now might completely support Balochistan’s struggle, so they intensified their atrocities in Balochistan but as I have already said nothing happened after the speech from the Indian side, so it was not helpful for Balochistan’s liberation struggle and it benefited Pakistan army. Modi government was limited to rhetoric in the first term regarding Balochistan and still, we haven’t seen any concrete policy on Balochistan in his second term.

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