Khalid Baloch, the leader of Baloch Republican Students' Organization, thinks that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mentioning of Balochistan people in his address from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15th August 2016, has placed the struggle of Balochistan on a global centre stage.
Calling India’s help for the Baloch struggle, Khalid Baloch says: “We openly call India to help our freedom movement like India did in 1971 and saved Bengalis from Pakistani brutalities. The same support we want.”
In an exclusive interview to newsbharati.com, the Baloch student leader said, “The recent military operation was started in 2002, since then about 25000 Baloch political and human rights activists, journalists, teachers, lawyers and professors have been killed and abducted by Pakistani military and secret agencies but there were no media courage, no one knew that what’s happening in Balochistan. But after the recent speech of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi entire India and the world come to know that what’s happening in Balochistan and what the Baloch people want.”
The Baloch leader acknowledged that after PM Modi mentioned about Balochistan in his independence day address, the cause of Baloch people got highlighted worldwide and now the people are talking about Balochistan.
Khalid Baloch said that India is the biggest democratic country in the world and also our neighbour, it’s duty of India to support Baloch cause. “We have been waiting for last many decades to see the Indian stand over Balochistan issue,” he asserts.
In an attempt to understand the current status of the Baloch issue, its struggle and the way of thinking of its leadership, newsbharati.com talked to this Baloch leader on various aspects of their struggle.
Here is the full text of the interview:
Q.: Recently the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned about Balochistan people in his speech on Indian Independence Day; how significant is this for your cause?
A: We have been waiting for last many decades to see Indian stand over Balochistan issue, India is the biggest democratic country in the world and also our neighbour. It is the duty of India to support the Baloch cause. Now I’ll come to the question, Baloch people are struggling for their rights for Freedom of their land which was occupied by the Pakistani state.
This is the fifth military operation in Balochistan. In each and every military operation they have killed thousands of peaceful Baloch political and human rights activists. The recent military operation was started in 2002, since then about 25000 Baloch political and human rights activists, journalists, teachers, lawyers and professors have been killed and abducted by Pakistani military and secret agencies but there were no media courage, no one knew that what’s happening in Balochistan, but after the recent speech of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi whole India and the world come to know that what’s happening in Balochistan and what Baloch people want.
Q.: After so many years of struggle, where do you find the Baloch movement stands?
A: I can’t say that we are very near to get our Freedom back, but we are struggling for it. Maybe within 5 years or 50 years but we will get our Freedom back. If India will support Baloch Freedom Movement then the journey will be shorter.
Q.: What change it make when Modi voiced your fight before international fora?
A.: After PM Modi mentioned about Balochistan during his Independence Day speech, our cause got highlighted worldwide, people are now talking about Balochistan.
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: We, the Baloch people, believe in peace and equality, we were struggling from last many years for our rights, thousands of Baloch were killed in this struggle and thousands went missing but the problem is that the world didn’t know what Baloch people want?
We openly call India to help our Freedom movement like India did in 1971 and saved Bengalis from Pakistani brutalities. Same thing we want.
The problem of our struggle is we don’t have Press and Electronic media, we are using social media to highlight the situation in Balochistan, but there is no internet access in many areas of Balochistan that’s why we are facing difficulties. But now we can see Indian media is playing a very good role to highlight the Balochistan issue.
But we are still not sure about Indian stand on Balochistan, we want India to make Balochistan issue a part of Indian foreign policy and support our cause in every possible forum. And we want India to open its door for Baloch people.
Q.: What kind of suppression tactics is being adopted by the Pakistani Army right now?
A: They are repeating the same story what they did in Bangladesh in 1971. They are crushing every voice which is raised for Balochistan and Baloch people. Even we don’t have rights to demonstrate against state policies. They are bombing our villages, killing our people and dumping their mutilated bodies in Mass Graves.
A large number of people from Balochistan are missing and they might be killed and dumped like others. Pakistani forces are using drone and jets to bomb civil populated areas of Balochistan. Recently Pakistani forces killed more than 50 people including children, women, and elders in Dera Bugti.
After the all-party meeting and BJP and speech of Indian Prime Minister on Balochistan, Pakistani forces and its spy agencies are showing more quality in Balochistan. The most senior leaders of Baloch Republican Party and Baloch Republican Students’ Organization have been abducted and killed.
Recently Pakistani forces abducted the Deputy general secretary of Baloch Republican Students’ Organization Faizan Baloch, after extreme torture, they released his video during a press conference organised by Interior Minister of Balochistan. In the video, they showed him as a terrorist. Pakistani state is using very cheap tactics to counter Baloch freedom movement.
Q.: What kinds of pressure are you facing especially after the Baloch leadership praised the Indian PM?
A: I think after the speech of Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi Pakistani state is facing pressure, because we were already being abducted and killed and the same thing still continues, the difference is Pakistani army is now using more power against Baloch people.
Q.: What kind of dialogue process undergoing between the Baloch leadership and Pakistan government?
A: I don’t see any dialogue between Baloch leaders and Pakistani government, but we don’t deny the peaceful solution of Balochistan, we are a political people and will never deny peaceful solution of the issue and we are ready to talk on Free Balochistan, but first they should withdraw their forces from Balochistan and then we will be ready to talk under the supervision of United Nations, India and other world powers because we can’t believe Pakistani state.
Q.: What are your concerns about rising Chinese stronghold in the Balochistan region? How it affects the people there?
A: We equally consider both China and Pakistan, both the countries are looting our resources. Baloch people will never allow any country to loot their resources. All Pakistani projects will benefit Punjab like a so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. It’s a project to convert Baloch people in the minority in their own homeland.
Pakistani politicians call Gwadar a Megacity, but the fact is the people of Gwadar don’t have proper drinking water, they don’t have gas, electric, schools, colleges, and universities. Iran is providing electricity to this so called megacity. And people are being forced to move out to other cities. They have converted Gwadar into no entry zone for Baloch people. When we travel to Gwadar Pakistani forces check our luggage, pockets, mobiles and even they frisk our women and children, we don’t want this kind of Megacity.
Q.: Do you agree to Pakistan’s repetitive alleging that Indian agencies stirring up nuisance in Balochistan?
A: I don't think so, If India supports Baloch Freedom Movement then the situation was different.
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: I can’t say anything about it, but we can see that how Pakistani state is creating Islamic extremists and sending them to Jammu and Kashmir to fight against Indian forces. Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar are best examples to understand the mentality of the Pakistani establishment.
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: They all are silence on human rights violations in Balochistan. They work for their interest and maybe they don’t find their interest in Balochistan. We have discussed many times with Amnesty international and other human rights organisations but they say they cannot do anything except writing Pakistan to stop human rights violations.
Q.: Have you approached United Nations or United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner (UNHCR)? What is the response from those agencies?
A: Of course, from last many years in every session of UNHRC representative of Baloch Republican Party, highlighted the human rights situation in Balochistan. And during the session Baloch Republican Party held demonstrations and also spread awareness about HR violations in Balochistan.
Q.: Coming back to support by India and PM Modi, what actually changed for you after the PM Modi mentioned about Balochistan people?
A: Baloch nation really appreciate the stand of Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi and we hope India will continue it and make it as its foreign policy. After the PM Modi speech, there’s a hope in every Baloch’s heart that India will support our cause in every possible forum. We were looking for Indian support for many years.
*Text of what PM 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 crore countrymen, it is respect of my 125 crore 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.”)