Zaffar Baloch’s speech
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
We have gathered here today to pay our respect and tributes to a great son of Balochistan and hero of Baloch liberation struggle, Mir Balaach Marri, martyred by the Pakistani security forces two years ago. Mir Balaach Marri’s dream for an independent Balochistan and the nature of the secular, democratic movement of the Baloch nation today is the answer to the questions of security, crisis and instability in the region. In a nutshell, the very forces of darkness that have enslaved the Baloch nation are the source of turmoil and terrorism, engulfing the geography from the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi to Mumbai and of course Kabul. The struggle to end terrorism and the freedom movements in the region cannot be separated.
Allow me to say it very bluntly, that the very Islamic ideology and the creation of Pakistan planned and executed by the British Raj in 1947 is the root cause of militarism, instability, religious extremism, Talibanization, terrorism, and any future nuclear catastrophe in the region. The idea of Taliban as non-state combatants or non-state-actors as referred by Islamabad is basically a carefully thought out military solution to political disputes based on the greed to occupy and expand. The idea is not new to Pakistan’s military mindset and it did not begin with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; the first batch of 5000 “non-state” tribal militia, led by a Pakistani army major was unleashed upon the horrified people of Kashmir in 1947. The attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008 was an improvised and a bit more sophisticated version of what happened back then in Kashmir Valley, more than six decades ago. The mindset never changed for the Pakistan Army to the present day and what followed as a result is a path of destruction – wars with neighbours and a state at war with itself.
The Durand Line that has divided a people for more than a century has become irrelevant in the post-Cold War world and the global war on terrorism has further dissolved the imaginary demarcation into oblivion. When the realism of history comes to dumping what is imaginary, be it a line in the sand or a modern state, all that shall remain is a bad memory. In terms of historical existence and military strategy, Pakistan’s military mindset thought of two outcomes about the Durand Line – either Afghanistan becomes another province under Islamabad or lose the wild frontier to Kandahar. Of course the Pakistani generals chose the former and again the non-state actors played their part as the Taliban captured Kabul under the supervision and strategic guidance of the military intelligence services of Pakistan. The capture of Kabul in 1993 by the Taliban resolved two key issues for Islamabad – end of debate on the Durand Line and accessibility to post-Soviet Central Asian states. A weak and instable Afghanistan meant a secure western front for the Pakistani defense strategists where as stability on the other side of the Durand Line was always seen as a threat to the ideology of Pakistan.
September 11 has reversed the gains made by Pakistan on its western front and its tribal areas have become a safe haven to Al-Qaeda and terror groups with networks extending into the heart of the urban centres including the capital Islamabad. If the ISI is functioning as a state within the state, then it would be fair enough to say that the jihadist network is the third state in Pakistan. This third force has a global agenda and sees the state of Pakistan simply as a resource to further their goals of world domination or destruction of it. What they cannot capture – they will destroy.
The question is how the Pakistan Army is handling this crisis? Does the army have the will to fight the jihadist groups? And most importantly, can the army survive as an institution once this conflict becomes urban guerilla warfare, especially in Punjab?
Talibanization of Pakistan is no longer a myth – it is an everyday reality. The zone of conflict is no longer limited to the remote tribal areas of South Waziristan, the jihadist groups in Punjab, dubbed as Punjabi Taliban have the potential to shift the theater of war to the major cities and attack sensitive locations such as military and intelligence headquarters and nuclear facilities any where in the country.
The groups trained by their handlers in the Pakistan Army as low cost non-state actors for attacks in the Indian cities of New Delhi and Mumbai have developed links with Al-Qaeda and have grown into a global network of terror. Pakistan Army’s proxy wars abroad have converged into battles of control over territories inside Pakistan with the ultimate goal of control or collapse of the state itself.
In conclusion, the military institution of Pakistan lacks the will and the capability to fight a protracted war stretched from the remote mountainous regions to the urban centres, especially when it does not want to lose focus of its eastern borders with India. At some point, the Pakistani military leaders will go for another round of agreements and compromises or will have to risk the danger of dissent within the rank and file of the army. So far, Pakistan has shown complete lack of cooperation with the US Administration’s demand to fight the Afghan Taliban and its Quetta Shoora, which they consider as an asset with a future role in Afghanistan.
West’s sole reliance on the institution of the army or a corrupt civilian government in Islamabad will not be very fruitful in the long term. Western democracies have to understand the nature of the state of Pakistan, its ideological identity based on Islamic jihad, and the military institution that has its vested interests in political power, which it will never give up.
The future of the region and its peaceful progress as a democratic society is possible only with the freedom of the people from the military state of Pakistan and its ideology of Islamic jihad. Balochistan is showing you the way and hopefully the international community will act before it is too late. The very army that claims to be fighting the Taliban in South Waziristan is busy crushing the secular forces in Balochistan and promoting the Taliban by granting them land to build religious madarisas and militant training centres in the province. West should act now and support the genuine demand for the freedom of Balochistan.
US conference calls for independent Baluchistan
Baluch meet accuses Pakistan & Iran of genocide
DUBAI (Al Arabiya)
As the Pakistani government hastily presented a Baluchistan package in parliament in its last ditch effort to appease the estranged people of the insurgency-hit province, a group of Baluchi officials held a conference in Washington, where they demanded an end to occupation by Pakistan and Iran.
The conference, organized by the American Friends of Baluchistan, who called for the establishment of an independent Baluchistan state protected by the United Nations for an interim period, was attended by several prominent Baluch leaders from Pakistan and Iran as well as activists for the cause of Kashmiris and Sindhis.
A resolution adopted by the conference charged that both Pakistan and Iran were committing systematic genocide of Baluch people and appealed to the world community to force Pakistan and Iran to announce a timetable for withdrawing their.
The resolution claimed that thousands of Baluchi men, women and children had been murdered, while thousands of others were abducted and put in jails, where they disappeared without a trace. The group demanded those responsible to be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Other people in attendance at the conference were Selig Harrison, the Asia Director at the Center for International Policy, former US government officials, second secretary of Norwegian embassy in Washington and former leader of Mukti Bahini, the guerilla movement that fought a war of independence for Bangladesh, former East Pakistan.
Founder of American Friends of Baluchistan, Ahmar Masti Khan, expressed his joy over the fact that the conference proved far more successful than he expected.
Herbiyar Marri, a Baluch separatist leader, also addressed the conference through video link.
Other prominent speakers at the conference included former president of Baluch Students Federation, Aziz Baluch, the supplier of stinger missiles to Afghan Mujahedin on CIA’s insistence, Andrew Iva and the former president of World Sindhi Congress, Sagheer Sheikh.
’پاکستان اور ایران بلوچوں کو آزاد کریں‘
واشنگٹن میں ہونے والی بلوچوں کی ایک کانفرنس میں مطالبہ کیا گیا ہے کہ پاکستان اور ایران کے زیرِ کنٹرول بلوچ سرزمین پر سےمبینہ قبضے کو ختم کراکے ایک آزاد بلوچستان ملک تشکیل دیا جائے اور عبوری وقت کےلیےخطے میں اقوام متحدہ کی امن فوج تعینات کی جائے۔
امریکن فرینڈز آف بلوچستان نامی تنظیم کے زیر انتظام ہونے والی اس کانفرنس میں پاکستان اور ایران کے متعدد بلوچوں کے علاوہ معروف امریکی دانشور سلیگ ہیریسن، امریکی حکومت کے بعض سابق اہلکاروں، ناروے کے سفارتخانے کے سیکنڈ سیکرٹری، بنگلہ دیش کی جنگ آزادی کی گوریلا تنظیم مکتی باہنی کے ایک سابق کارکن اور سندھی اور کشمیری حقوق کے بعض کارکنوں نے شرکت کی۔
کانفرنس کی قرارداد میں کہا گیا ہے کہ پاکستان اور ایران میں بلوچوں کی منظم انداز سے نسل کشی کی جا رہی ہے اور بین الاقوامی برادری خاص طور پر امریکہ، یورپی یونین، روس، چین اور ہندوستان سے اپیل کی گئی ہے کہ وہ پاکستان اور ایران سے کہیں کہ وہ دونوں بلوچ علاقوں سے اپنی فوجیں اور سیکورٹی ایجنسیوں کے انخلاء کے اوقات کار کا اعلان کریں۔
کانفرنس نے مبینہ قابض پاکستانی اور ایرانی فوجوں پر زور دیا کہ بلوچ عوام پر تشدد کا سلسلہ بند کریں اور اقوام متحدہ اور انسانی حقوق کے بین الاقوامی اداروں سے کہا کہ وہ بلوچ عوام کو بچانے کے لئے موثر اقدامات کریں۔
قرار داد میں الزام لگایا کہ ہزاروں بلوچ مرد، عورتوں اور بچوں کو ماورائے عدالت قتل کیا گیا ہے اور ہزاروں کو اغوا کرکے جیلوں میں بند کردیا گیا ہے جن کا نام و نشان بھی نہیں مل رہا۔ قرارداد مطالبہ کیا گیا کہ قتل کی ان وارداتوں میں ملوث افراد کے خلاف بین الاقوامی عدالت انصاف میں مقدمات چلائے جائیں۔
فرینڈز آف بلوچستان کے بانی احمر مستی خان کا کہنا تھا کہ کانفرنس ان کی توقعات سے کہیں زیادہ کامیاب تھی اور اس کانفرنس کےلئے انہیں نواب خیر بخش مری کے بیٹے حربیار مری اور نواب اکبر بگٹی کے بیٹے براہمداغ بگٹی کی حمایت اور معاونت حاصل تھی۔
کانفرنس سے حیربیار مری نے وڈیو لنک کے ذریعے خطاب کیا جبکہ دیگر مقررین میں بلوچ سٹوڈنٹس فیڈریشن کے سابق سربراہ عزیز بلوچ، افغان مجاہدین کو سی آئی اے کی ایما پر سٹنگر میزائل مہیا کرنے والے والے اینڈریو ایوا، ورلڈ سندھی کانگریس کے سابق صدر صغیر شیخ، دی بلوچ ڈاکومینٹری کی پروڈیوسر وینڈی جانسن اور اینی نوچینتی، ظفر بلوچ، پروفیسر گل آغا، ورلڈ سندھی انسٹی ٹیوٹ کی جنرل سیکرٹری حمیرہ رحمان ، جئے سندھ سٹوڈنٹس فیڈریشن کے بانی صدر اقبال ترین اور پاکستان میں مبینہ طور پر سرکاری حکام کی جانب سے اغوا کئے جانے والے ناروے کے شہری بلوچ احسان ارجمندی کے بھائی موسیٰ ارجمندی نے بھی خطاب کیا۔
Source: BBC Urdu
Baluch make a passionate plea for Independence at Washington DC International Conference
By: Khalid Hashmani
The “American Friends of Baluchistan” organized an International Conference On November 21, 2009 in Washington DC. According to organizers, the main purposes of the conference were to highlight issues in Eastern and Western Baluchistan that organizers and to pay tribute to Baluch leader Balaach Marri, who was slain two years ago. This all-day conference was very well attended with many standing in the back of the meeting room. The venue of the conference was National Press Club in downtown Washington, DC.
The list of persons who addressed or presented papers was long and covered a variety of topics from history of Balochistan to happenings as recent as three days ago.
The presenters included Selig Harrison (Asia Director at the Center for International Policy), Aziz Baloch (British Columbia representative of Baloch Human Rights Council and former General Secretary of Baloch Student Organization), Andrew Eva (an expert on resistance warfare fighting for his homeland Lithuania to regain independence), Saghir Shaikh (a Sindhi Rights activist and former Chair of World Sindhi Congress), Wendy Johnson and Annie Nocenti (co-producers of well-known “The Baluch” documentary), Zafar Baloch (A Baloch Rights activist from Toronto, Canada), T. Kumar (Advisory Director for International Issues for Amnesty International), Gul Agha (A Computer Scientist and a well-known speaker on Sindhi Rights), Musa Arjemandi (brother of Norwegian Ehhan Arjemandi, who recently disappeared in Pakistan), Humaira Rahman (A Sindhi Rights activist and the General Secretary of World Sindhi Institute) and others. The session moderator was Ahmer Mustikhan. More details about the presenters can be viewed at http://mustikhan.newsvine.com/_news/2009/11/02/3452978-panel-assembled-for-baluch-international-moot.
What Baluch say about their Situation?
Baluch say they had never wanted to be part of Pakistan.
Baluch claim that they were duped by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who is considered father of Pakistan and engaged by Baluch to negotiate sovereignty and autonomy from British.
Baluch argue that instead of negotiations and redressing their complaints, successive Pakistani governments have engaged in brutal force and unleashed their tyranny through five military operations since 1948.
Baluch point out that in spite of the 1973 constitution that says that complete autonomy within ten years (that is by 1983), not only that provision remains forgotten but more and more centralization has been imposed by strengthening the central government at expense of provinces.
Baluch cite statistics that Balochistan is ruled as colony with 88% of Baluch living under the poverty line, 78% has no access to safe drinking water or electricity, and 79% has no access to gas and their gas is taken to provide to households and industries in other provinces.
Baluch cry that Balochistan has been discriminated and exploited so much that in spite of its immense natural resources they are at the bottom of indices compared to other provinces in literacy rate, school enrollment ratio, education attainment index, and health index.
Baluch articulate that there is a slow-motion genocide going on against them and want the world to help them free themselves.
What do Baluch want?
Baluch want immediate and complete cessation of military actions, withdrawal of all Pakistani armed forces, and no more military cantonments in Balochistan. They want the world to ask Pakistan to provide a firm timetable for the pullout of their troops and intelligence agencies from Balochistan. They called upon the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan to broaden its terms of reference and send peace keeping forces in Balochistan. They want Pakistan to dismantle its nuclear weapons program and stop any nuclear tests in Balochistan.
Baluch demand immediate end to torture, murders and disappearances and unconditional release of Baloch activists.
Baluch want immediate enactment of the autonomy provisions of the 1973 constitution and passing immediate control over all areas except Defense, Communications, Currency, and Foreign Affairs.
Baluch ask that all lands secured in Baluchistan for so called the “Military strategic” reasons be released to the provincial government.
Baluch support the appeal by Beglar Begi Mir Suleman Daud (Khan of Kalat)’s appeal to the International Court of Justice against Pakistan that it has annexed Baluchistan by force.
Baluch appealed to multi-national companies to halt exploration work on disputed projects until the dispute between Pakistanb and Balochistan is resolved. They say they will welcome these companies to restart work in the building of a new Balochistan when they are free and a sovereign nation.
Baluch want the world recognize their right of self-determination in accordance with the provisions of the UN Charter on the International Covenant of Human Rights. Baluch say that by virtue of this right, they are free to determine their political status to pursue their cultural, social and economic development without any external interference.
Other important Take-aways from Conference?
Baluch expressed sympathy and solidarity with all victims of urban terrorism in Karachi (Sindh) and condemned killing of social activist Nisar Baloch and demanded immediate arrest of his killers, who are believed to be supported by a government allied party called MQM.
Baluch pledged allegiance to the Baloch sarmachars (freedom fighters) and called upon all Baloch people to rally behind them to regain Baloch national sovereignty and protect their language, culture, and national survival.
Baluch demanded from UN Human Rights Council to investigate the extra-judicial killing of innocent Baloch leaders, political activists and others.
Baluch expressed opinion that people of Baluchistan and their pro-independence leaders must be involved in any decision about the future of the region in the context of Afghanistan-Pakistan Crisis.
Baluch resolved that the people of Balochistan should be the first beneficiaries of their resources – oil, gas, copper, silver, and gold.
Baluch want a comprehensive infrastructure building program in Balochistan and want special attention to be given to the training and hiring of local Baluch to assume professional responsibilities in the rebuilding program.
A document circulated at the conference expressed solidarity with the struggle of Sindhis, Seraikis, and Pushtuns in Pakistan and expressed support for Kurds, Ahwazis, Turkmen in Iran.
The same document expressed trust in Hyrbyair Marri, Brahumdagh Bugti and Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch as their national heroes. The document further said that they have full trust, confidence and faith in the leadership of Hyrbyair Marri as the main spokesperson for the Baluchistan independence movement, internationally.
Other Events at Conference
Audio Address by Musa (Ali) Arjemandi (Ali) from Norway
Mr. Arjemandi made a heart-wrenching appeal to the Norwegian government and the world community to help in securing the release of his brother. In his appeal Musa says that his brother Ehsan Arjemandi, a Norwegian citizen, was taken away by Pakistani agencies in July this year. Like in the case of disappearance of Sindhi activist Dr. Safdar Sarki, the witnesses saw Mr. Arjemandi being led away by security personnel, but the Government of Pakistan is now denying any knowledge of his whereabouts. More information on this disappearance and other Baluch-related issues can be found at http://www.thebaluch.com/
Screening of well-known Documentary “The Baluch”
It is often said a picture is worth a thousand words and indeed “The Baluch” documentary, which is only 26-minute long narrated the deploring conditions in Balochistan, the simple lives of its simple people, and interviews with top-most leaders of Balochistan. The Baluch leaders explained history of their country and go into details of why they have been driven into fighting for their rights and independence. The documentary can be viewed at http://www.blip.tv/file/1211472.
The audience were fortunate to have opportunity to listen to both Wendy Johnson and Annie Nocenti (co-producers), who described their trip, their impressions and why they sympathize with Baluch. Ms. Nocenti advised that she appalled at the lack of knowledge about the plight of Baluch among Americans. She advised that Baluch should change their communication strategy by relating their plight with the conditions of native Americans. She said that Americans are aware and feel guilty of what happened to native Americans – pushed to live on reservations with worthless treaties.
They would see the similarities between the wrongs done in the past to the native people and the opportunity to stop the same tragedy happing to Baluch and Sindhis. Ms. Johnson said that making this documentary has been both joyful and sorrowful. She added that she has been impacted so much by the plight of the nomadic Baluch people that she wants to help more and is the webmaster of most comprehensive web site http://www.thebaluch.com/. She talked about her exchange of emails with Balaach Mari and Hyrbyair Marri and what convinced her to become supporters of Baluch people.
Homage to Mir Balaach Marri
The homage to Shaheed Balaach Marri was circulated at the conference with title “A Profile of Courage”. Balaach was born on January 17, 1966 and was killed fighting Pakistani military on November 20, 2007. He was the fourth among six sons of Nawab Khair Bux Marri. After release from Pakistani prison in 1979, Khair Bux Marri and his family went into self-exile ito Afghanistan n 1979. Thus, Balaach completed his secondary education in Afghanistan. It is believed that Balaach was very close to his father and used to call his father as “Ada” (a Balochi and Sindhi word that means “Elder Brother”). Balaach studied “communications engineering” in Moscow. He left his homeland when he was only 14 years old, and returned back at the age of 27 years. Starting in 2003, he started organizational work for Balochistan resistance. One of his greatest achievements is that he played a pivotal role in resolving the long-term feud between Marri and Bugti tribes and worked closely with Nawab Akbar Bugti to lead the Balochistan national cause.
A passionate Plea fom Baluch
Some Baloch came from West coast and some joined from East coast. Others came from Canada, Europe, Baluchistan, Pakistan, India, and other countries. I heard them making presentations and chatted with them during breaks. I presented alternate scenarios and differing point of views. When it was all said and done, it was the first time in my 25 years of activism in the Sindhi Rights movement that I sensed an unshakable resolve of Baluch in fighting for their rights. They were passionate for their cause and angry that many of their brightest have lost their lives. They mourned, they cried, they shouted and asked that Pakistani military to leave their lands. The said again and again that they they want to rebuild their lives and their country without foreign domination. They want the world to help them get rid of the yoke of slavery so that they can build houses for hundreds of thousands who are now refugees, educate their children, and use their natural resources to bring gas, electricity, and economic welfare to their people.
About Author: Mr. Khalid Hashmani is a Washington DC-based veteran human rights activist. He is the founding President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and Chief coordinator of Sindhi Excellence Team (SET) that participates in advocacy activities on behalf of rural Sindhi.