In a quest to track the Balochistan struggle and the immense atrocities and alarming state of human rights violations against the Baloch people, NewsBharati is trying to give a voice to the Baloch freedom struggle by publishing unaltered interviews of the apex Baloch leadership.
Emphasising about the huge military and financial aid that Pakistan is getting from westerns nations and especially the United States of America, The Baloch spokesperson appealed the financiers to Pakistan to immediately stop the aid. He underlined that the Pakistan has been receiving billions of dollars in aid from US and western countries in the name of war against terrorism but all that money and military equipment are being used to crush the peaceful political struggle of Baloch people in Balochistan.
Exclusive Interview of
Ensuring that India had never given any kind of support to the Baloch struggle until the recent statement by PM Modi, one of the esteemed leader of Baloch freedom struggle Sher Mohammad Bugti says that now, the Baloch people hope that India will lead the international community in support of their freedom struggle and help them achieve their freedom.
Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his kind words about the people in Balochistan, Sher Mohammad candidly admitted that the world knew more about the plight of Baloch people after Indian PM highlighted their issue.
Sher Mohammad Bugti says that the rattled Pakistani state intensified atrocities across Balochistan. More than 50 Baloch civilians were killed within two weeks in Dera Bugti.
“State forces held fake protests in Balochistan and threatened families of abducted Baloch to join the protest & burn pictures of Indian PM and Baloch leader Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti or else they would have collected the dead bodies of their loved ones,” confirms the Baloch leader.
Sher Mohammad Bugti also highlighted the fact that Pakistan has always been blaming foreign hand to hide their war crimes in Balochistan.
Condemning Pakistan’s “Goebbels-like” propaganda to vilify India for provoking Baloch struggle, Sher Mohammad says, “One may ask: was it India or any other country that ask you to forcefully occupy Balochistan? Was it India that asked you to loot the Baloch resources and keep them below the poverty line? Was it India that asked you to carry out a systematic genocide of the Baloch people and deny them their basic human rights? If not, then how can India be blamed if the Baloch people rise to demand their rights through all means possible.
Q. Recently the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned* about Baluchistan people in his speech on Indian Independence Day; how significant is this for your cause
A. The speech of Mr Narendra Modi on Independence Day of India is of great importance for the Baloch cause. It has spread a lot of awareness about the Baloch struggle, Pakistani state atrocities and human rights violations by Pakistani forces in Balochistan. We have been trying to draw international attention towards the Baloch plight for so long but this one statement by Indian Prime Minister has drawn so much attention that today not only Indians but also people all over the world have started talking about this issue which is a really great achievement for us and we are grateful to Mr Modi for highlighting the Balochistan freedom movement
Q. After so many years of bloodied struggle, where do you find the Baloch movement stands?
A. During the past 69 years, the Baloch struggle has gone through different phases and it has now come to stage where it has become practically impossible for the Pakistani state to crush it through the use of force.
The Baloch national struggle has evolved to become an undefeatable force and the resolve of the Baloch masses for regaining their freedom and sovereignty is growing even after the intensification of Pakistani atrocities, human rights violation and war crimes by Pakistani forces with every passing day in Balochistan.
Q. What change it make when Modi voiced your fight before international fora?
A. The statement of PM Narendra Modi has echoed the voice of Baloch masses in the international fora and it would indeed help the Baloch cause gain global recognition. The way neighbouring countries like Afghanistan and Bangladesh have come forth to endorse the stance of Indian PM is a very encouraging example.
We hope all the civilised countries of the world will follow the suit and raise their voice in support of the oppressed Baloch people, who have been facing a systematic genocide at the hands of the terrorist state of Pakistan.
Q. What are the main points of concern of the entire Baloch movement; what do you want to happen? Can you elaborate point wise?
A. The Baloch movement is for the basic right to freedom for the Baloch people. Balochistan has been under illegal and forceful occupation by Pakistani state since 1948. To undo this historic injustice to a peace loving nation like Baloch, there are several points or steps that international community need to take.
First, all kinds of military and financial aid to Pakistani be immediately stopped or at least conditioned with halt in atrocities in Balochistan because Pakistan has been receiving billions of dollars in aid from US and western countries in the name of war against terrorism but all that money and military equipment are being used to crush the peaceful political struggle of Baloch people in Balochistan.
On the other hand, Pakistan is now fully exposed as a terrorist-sponsoring state that not only gives safe havens to terrorists but also facilitates, train and exports them to attack neighbouring countries like India and Afghanistan and to fight against the very western forces Pakistan gets aid from.
The second step should be to pressurise Pakistan to allow international media and human rights groups to visit and investigate gross human rights violations by Pakistani forces there. Thirdly, the Baloch should be given the right under the international law to decide their fate. One way could be holding an independence referendum in the supervision of United Nations.
Q. What kind of suppression tactics is being adopted by the Pakistani Army right now?
A. To get you idea about what Pakistan is doing in Balochistan, one should study the independence struggle of Bangladesh and war crimes by Pakistani Army to suppress their voice of Bengali people. Pakistan is basically repeating the same in Balochistan and carrying out a systematic genocide of Baloch people. Military operations against the civil populace, bombardments by fighter jets and gunship helicopters on houses, enforced disappearances; torture, extrajudicial killings and burying the dead in mass graves are among the war crimes Pakistani forces are committing in Balochistan.
Twenty-five thousand Baloch civilians, students, teachers, political activists, intellectuals and basically people from all walks of life have been abducted and two thousands of them have been tortured, killed and dumped on roadsides or buried in mass graves in past 6 years.
The victims also include women and children & the main target of such ‘kill and dump’ operations is the educated class of the Baloch society which is a tactic of the Pakistani state to deprive the Baloch nation of its cream and hence make them unable to raise their voice against state oppression. Pakistani genocidal policies have backfired and the Baloch struggle is gaining momentum with every passing moment and one day they will have to face a disgraceful defeat like they faced in Bangladesh.
Q. What kinds of pressure are you facing especially after the Baloch leadership praised the Indian PM?
A. The pressure in the shape of Pakistani atrocities has always been there but after top Baloch leader and president of Baloch Republican Party, Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti welcomed the statement of Indian PM on Balochistan, the rattled Pakistani state intensified atrocities across Balochistan. More than 50 Baloch civilians were killed within two weeks in Dera Bugti.
State forces held fake protests in Balochistan and threatened families of abducted Baloch to join the protest & burn pictures of Indian PM and Baloch leader Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti or else they would have collected the dead bodies of their loved ones. Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti and other Baloch activists were booked on sedition charges while the Pakistani government also announced to issue a red warrant to arrest Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti through Interpol. This all shows how frustrated the Pakistani government and security establishment are on the international developments in favour of Baloch struggle, especially after the statement of Mr Narendra Modi.
Q. What kind of dialogue process undergoing between the Baloch leadership and Pakistan government?
A. There is no dialogue process undergoing between the Baloch leadership and Pakistani state. It has been a tactic of Pakistan to play the negotiation card in order to divide the Baloch struggle and create confusion about the Baloch movement internationally. Last year, the Pakistani government announced to hold negotiations with the Baloch leadership as a well-planned strategy that the Baloch would refuse to sit for talks and then they, the Pakistani government, would try to label the Baloch struggle as an undemocratic and terrorist movement through propaganda on international fora.
Their plan backfired when Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti foreseeing their plan agreed for talks and held some meetings with the former Pakistani CM in Balochistan last year. The CM is on record in his interview that the Pakistan Army leadership was never sincere for negotiation with the Baloch. We are democratic people and believe in peaceful resolution of the Baloch-Pakistan conflict. We want the international community to mediate negotiations between the Pakistani state and the Baloch nation to negotiate the peaceful withdrawal of Pakistani forces from Balochistan.
Q. What are your concerns about rising Chinese stronghold in the Balochistan region? How it affects the people there?
A. The rising Chinese influence in the region, especially after the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, is not only a threat to the indigenous Baloch people as their partnership with Pakistan has further intensified the Baloch genocide but it is also a threat to all democratic countries including US & India and their interests in the region.
State atrocities against Baloch intensified and Pakistan is using full force to crush the Baloch opposition to the CPEC, which aims to convert the Baloch into a minority in their homeland. It is high time that democratic world supports the Baloch fight their war for survival which is also best for their own interests in the region.
Q. Do you agree to Pakistan’s repetitive alleging that Indian agencies stirring up nuisance in Balochistan?
A. Pakistan has always been blaming foreign hand to hide their war crimes in Balochistan. One may ask: was it India or any other country that ask you to forcefully occupy Balochistan? Was it India that asked you to loot the Baloch resources and keep them below the poverty line? Was it India that asked you to carry out a systematic genocide of the Baloch people and deny them their basic human rights? If not, then how can India be blamed if the Baloch people rise to demand their rights through all means possible.
India has never given any kind of support to the Baloch struggle until the recent statement by PM. Now we hope that India will lead the international community in support of Baloch people and help them achieve their freedom.
Q. What do you think about Pakistan’s role in the region of India’s Jammu and Kashmir which is occupied by the Pakistan?
A. Pakistan’s role in POK is same as its role in Balochistan. We hope that civilised world will come to the rescue of the oppressed people under forceful Pakistani rule. More responsibility lies on India’s shoulder because of being a responsible neighbour, world’s largest democracy and an emerging superpower in the region.
Q. There are many Human Rights organisation groups and organisations on fighting on an international level. What is your experience when it comes to Baloch human rights violation?
A. There have been some reports by human rights organisations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch about the situation in Balochistan but their voices have slowed down in recent years despite growing human rights violations by Pakistani forces in Balochistan. It could be because HR groups and NGOs have been banned from reporting about or even visiting Balochistan by the Pakistani state but then too these groups should highlight this issue internationally and ask the world community to pressurise Pakistan to allow human rights groups and international media to visit and report from Balochistan.
We hope that human rights groups will play an active role to highlight the worst rights abuses in Balochistan and help raise awareness about what's going on there.
Q. Have you approached United Nations or United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner (UNHCR)? What is the response from those agencies?
A. We have indeed tried to approach the United Nations and still working to raise more awareness about the human rights violations in Balochistan. Baloch Republican Party’s representative speaks at the regular sessions of United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva and briefs the member states about the rights violations in Balochistan. We hope that the UN will take the Balochistan issue seriously and intervene to save the Baloch people from the barbarity of Pakistani state and its armed forces.
Q. Coming back to support by India and PM Modi, what actually changed for you after the PM Modi mentioned about Balochistan people?
A. As I have already said, a lot have changed in a sense that there is more awareness about the Baloch struggle and Pakistani atrocities in Balochistan than ever. The world knows more about the plight of Baloch people after Indian PM highlighted their issue. On the other hand, Pakistan has also intensified war crimes in Balochistan as a reaction to Mr Modi’s stance.
It is the time that India formally announces support for the Baloch struggle for independence and strives diplomatically to garner support for the Baloch struggle in the international community.
*Text of what Mr Modi said: “Today I want to specially honour and thank to some people from the ramparts of Red Fort. For the past few days the people of Baluchistan, the people of Gilgit, the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, the way their citizens have heartily thanked me, the way they have acknowledged me, the goodwill they have shown towards me, the people settled far across, the land which I have not seen, the people I have not met ever, but people settled at far across acknowledge the Prime Minister of India, they honour him, so it is an honour of my 125 crores countrymen, it is respect of my 125 crores countrymen and that is why owing to the feeling of this honour, I want to heartily thank the people of Baluchistan, the people of Gilgit, the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for having an expression of thankfulness.”)