Baloch Canadians Observe March 27 Black Day

 Pakistan Military Invaded Independent Balochistan in 1948

Toronto, March 25: Baloch National Movement – North America’s call to observe March 27 as black day was attended by Pakhtuns, Sindhis, Kurds and enlightened elements of the Canadian society at a Toronto meeting. Sovereign Balochistan was invaded and occupied by the Pakistani military in 1948. The public gathering was attended by people from all walks of life sharing democratic values and respect for freedoms and rights.

Mr. Tarek Fatah, guest of honour at the event spoke on the importance of understanding the history and the evil nature of the state of Pakistan. In his speech, Mr. Fatah described the events at Dacca University on March 25, 1971 when Pakistan Army soldiers massacred more than 200 students and teachers at the university dorms and hung their bodies from the poles and trees.

The carnage that began at midnight is known in the annals of Pakistan military as “Operation Searchlight” and rapidly progressed toward a full-blown genocide of the Bengali people. Three million Bengali civilians were brutally murdered and 200,000 women were raped by the jihadist army of Pakistan.

Mr. Fatah stated that people of Balochistan have fought many battles against the state of Pakistan and its military since 1948 following the invasion of the Kalat State. He emphasized that the military in Pakistan is the only ruling power that is calling the shots and is the fundamental link to the global terror networks. Pakistan army is specially trained for massacring civilians, sponsoring terror outfits and toppling civilian governments. He emphasized that independent Balochistan is the only future for the Baloch people and that the Pakhtuns today are marching against the forces of darkness and obscurantism.

Mr. Zaffar Baloch, President, Baloch National Movement – North America: (Full-Text of the speech).

Ms. Karima Baloch, Chairperson, Baloch Students Organization – Azad: (Full-Text of the speech).

Mr. Shir Abidian, spokesperson for the Baluchistan Peoples Party (western Balochistan under Iranian occupation) briefly spoke about the Iranian state atrocities in western Balochistan and the repressive measures Baloch people are facing under the theocratic state. Mr. Abidian recited a Balochi patriotic verses about the love of the land Baloch people have in their hearts and the significance of freedom without which we as a people do not have a future.

Mr. Mumtaz Khan, representative of the Kashmir movement spoke on this occasion and expressed solidarity with the people of Balochistan in their struggle against Pakistani military occupation. He strongly condemned the gross human rights violations and atrocities committed by the state against Baloch civilians. Mr. Khan said that the people of Kashmir are suffering the same fate at the hands of terror outfits sponsored by Pakistan.

Mr. Andrew, human rights advocate represented World Sindhi Congress and expressed his solidarity with the Baloch struggle for freedom and rights. Explaining the dire human rights situation, he said, religious minorities are being targeted in Sindh and minor Hindu girls are being abducted, forcefully converted to Islam and married off to criminal elements. Mr. Andrew emphasized the need of unity between Baloch and Sindhi people toward a common cause.

Mr. Keyvan Soltany, representative of the Kurdish community in Canada spoke at the Toronto gathering and expressed his solidarity with the Baloch struggle for independence. He stated that Kurds and Baloch are victims of historic injustice done to our people. Mr. Soltany informed the participants about the Turkish military atrocities in Afrin against Kurdish civilians in which a large number of casualties took place while the NATO allies of Turkey in the West silently watched the carnage happen. Mr. Keyvan described how Turkish jet fighters bombed Afrin for 50 days while the Erdogan-backed Islamic State terrorists massacred women and children indiscriminately.

Mr. Siraj Khan, representing the Pashtun community in Toronto spoke at the gathering and expressed his solidarity with the people of Balochistan in their struggle for rights and freedoms. Mr. Khan condemned in the strongest words the gross human rights violations committed by the Pakistani military against innocent civilians in Balochistan. He informed the audience about the ongoing Pashtun movement for rights and the long march to spread awareness about the humanitarian difficulties they were facing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Today, Balochistan’s invasion and occupation by the Pakistan military is 70 years old, and since 1948, the Baloch nation has gone through various phases of revolts and political struggles to regain their independence and the rightful place in the world among the civilized nations. The seven decades of Baloch struggle has witnessed worst forms of military operations under military and civilian rulers; General Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamization of society to counter secular politics; rise of Taliban and the jihadist terror outfits; and of course the Chinese military and economic expansion in the coastal Balochistan and the Arabian Sea.

By all measures, this is the longest single conflict Balochistan is currently going through and also the most widely acknowledged one in Balochistan’s modern history. We are fighting a country that has become the epicenter of global network of terrorism, threatening the international community and the political stability, security of economic development in the region.

Balochistan’s invasion on March 27, 1948 by Pakistan wasn’t simply territorial; it was this newly founded jihadist state’s first assault on democracy and the democratic will of a people. The bicameral legislative assembly of Kalat State had unanimously decided for Balochistan to be an independent country as of August 11, 1947. The military invasion of Balochistan in 1948 and that of Kashmir a year earlier marked the beginning of successive military dictatorships and Talibanization phenomenon in South Asia.

Twin evils of Pakistan state – military and the mullah – has now a new strategic partner, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the $54 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor with control over Gwadar port providing access to the Arabian Sea. Balochistan won a hundred-year-war with the British colonial powers, only to be handed over to Pakistan and seventy years later Islamabad is selling it off to China as a colony.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or simply Pakhtunistan is another example of being victim to the 19th century “Great Game” policies of European colonialism. An imaginary line in the sand has destroyed a nation’s free choice to be rulers on their own lands and develop a society with cultural values that may evolve into a modern political system. The 1893 Durand Line or its later version, the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919 signed in Rawalpindi that ironically symbolizes Pakistan Army today are basically the classical examples of revenge of geography – how a sovereign Afghan nation’s culture, economics and political integrity were shattered into chaos by redrawing artificial boundaries and maps to serve foreign interests.

Similarly, Sindh’s culture of Sufism and religious tolerance is being systematically eroded by state policy of Blasphemy Law, which along with the Hindu community is also targeting the Christians in Punjab. Extrajudicial murders of Sindhi nationalist leaders and activists are now on the rise in Sindh where state forces have the impunity to abduct and torture the voices of dissent.

Today, West needs to understand the basics about Pakistan, the country they chose as their ally during the cold war period. The three most important features of Pakistan are:

  1. Pakistan Ideology based on the “Two Nation Theory” referring to Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent as a nation and thus fundamentally defining the Islamic state according to the principles of Muslim Brotherhood.
  2. Occupation of sovereign nations and their lands by military invasions and claiming it as Pakistan, the land of the pure in the name of God. Balochistan, Pakhtunistan and Kashmir are prime examples of occupied lands. The official moto of Pakistan Army – “Jihad-fi-Sabilillah” spells out very clearly the motive behind all the wars it fought since 1947 and the ones this state supports today in the name of Islam.
  3. The third important feature of Pakistan is its jihadist army, the main force behind its foreign and defense policies. It is the “holy glue” that sticks together the occupied lands and the jihadist ideology as an entity called Pakistan.

Balochistan chose independence on August 11, 1947 when Pakistan did not exist. Therefore, the accusations that Baloch struggle is a separatist movement is a joke with history. Actually, Pakistan’s foundation is in fact the first separatist state in the Indian Subcontinent supported by a fake ideology based on religion.

Today, Baloch are defending their land and sea coast from invading foreign armies:

  1. We want a peaceful end to the Pakistani military occupation of Balochistan that took place on March 27, 1948.
  2. We demand an end to the genocidal military operation in Balochistan that has claimed thousands of innocent lives.
  3. We demand an end to the testing of nuclear bombs and weapons of mass destruction in Balochistan. And all such weapons testing sites made accessible to international observers.
  4. We demand an end to all China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects in Balochistan that are basically designed by the Pakistani military to plunder natural wealth and build settlers colonies to further marginalize indigenous population through demographic changes.
  5. We demand complete halt to Chinese control of Gwadar port and withdrawal of all the Chinese personnel from the area.
  6. We demand Balochistan be made accessible to international media and human rights bodies for independent investigations into genocide, mass graves, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
  7. We demand dismantling of all Pakistani state sponsored structures of terror and death squads in Balochistan.
  8. We ask the western democracies, economic powers and experts on international law to recognize Balochistan’s plight to end Pakistani military occupation and restoration of its sovereignty to August 11, 1947 status.

Zaffar Baloch, President, Baloch National Movement – North America

Ladies and gentlemen

I thank you for taking out time for this event.

We remember March 27 as the day when Balochistan lost its freedom and sovereignty to the occupying Pakistani armed forces in 1948.

Why should we get stuck to a political mishap that occurred 70 years ago? What does it matter if a piece of land is governed by one group of people or the other? Why should not we just accept Pakistani rule and get over it?

We did not just lose our self-rule or a piece of land to Pakistan on March 27. We lost our cultural identity and our language; we lost our right to a peaceful and safe life. Seventy years after that fateful event in 1948, we are forced to think that the occupation was the beginning of a slow-motion genocide of our people and our cultural identity that continues unabated till today.

What if March 27 never happened? What if Pakistan treated us equally after March 27? It is more likely we would not be bothered about remembering this day at all. But history has its own mind. So here we are, commemorating another March 27 for another year.

We usually talk about the political aspect of this historical mishap which is little known to the world. We try to remind the world that Pakistan flouted the international laws by sending its troops to Balochistan. That Balochistan was an independent and sovereign state before the British arrival in 1839. That Balochistan had treaties with British authorities which acknowledged the sovereignty of Balochistan. That Balochistan had never been a part of the sub-continent and it was destined to become an independent state after the British withdrawal. That Pakistani leaders, including Mohammed Ali Jinnah, acknowledged the sovereign status of Balochistan in treaties with British and Baloch authorities.

We never talk about the human side of it. We never talk about the human cost we had pay in the aftermath of March 27, 1948.

The Baloch people who have survived for thousands of years in history are at the verge of extinction because of a slow-motion and systematic genocide that started on that fateful day.

Earlier this month, the world mourned the extinction of northern white rhinos. I have read and heard about extinction of hundreds of animal species in history because of human intervention and manipulation of the eco-system. But witnessing first hand an animal species that has survived for millions of years to go extinct was an awful experience. Our future generations may never be able to see a living northern white rhino.

This reminds me of another unfortunate story that took place in the Island of Tasmania, 320 kilometers off the coast of Australia.

For 10,000 years, the indigenous population of Tasmania lived in the island in complete isolation. They had no contact with the rest of humanity. When the British colonized the island, it was inhabited by around 6,000 indigenous people. The indigenous Tasmanian people became extinct within 73 years of colonisation and the arrival of settlers.

The British not only introduced infectious diseases to the island of which the locals had no immunity, they also carried out a systemic genocide. They were displaced from their farming and hunting grounds. Their women and children were kidnapped. Children were used as domestic servants and women as concubines.

This all went on or carried out by European settlers because they believed the native Tasmanians are inferior creatures sub human uncivilized people this justified their elimination and occupation of others land. I can feel what they were feeling or any people faced with extinction not by the nature but because of the fellow men, men who believe they are somehow better or superior racially, culturally and can terminate other cultures, other people or other species. But believe me the lose is collective and its our loss, its our species’ loss. Today we have lost not only the Tasman people but the accumulated wealth of knowledge and wisdom they acquired through out centuries in their language and culture

Humanity has lost hundreds of people and their cultures due to war, famine and genocide. The clock is now ticking for the Baloch.

For seventy years or more, we, as a people, have been denied all the basic needs for survival. We have been hunted and killed in thousands. We have been displaced in hundreds of thousands. We have been tortured in secret military dungeons. Our villages have been bombarded by military helicopters and jets. Our houses have been burnt as collective punishment for our demand to life. We have been deprived of access to clean drinking water. We have been denied the right to practice our cultural values and use our language.

If we are forced to survive in similar hostile conditions it will not be long that the world would be mourning the extinction of the Baloch people as they photograph the death of the last surviving Baloch in the near future. Thousands of years of human experience and knowledge accumulated in our culture and language would die down with us.

We do not remember March 27 just because we lost our political sovereignty to Pakistan. We remember this day to remind ourselves and the rest of the world that the clock was set ticking on this day seventy years ago for our extinction. We understand that we cannot turn the clock back or unwind the unfortunate events of the past, yet we are prepared to do everything in our power to refuse to die out in silence.

If we want to make the world a better place, we need to make a promise to ourselves that we will not wait to mourn the death of the last northern white rhino. We have to act before the extinction happens.

The Baloch people are not a lost cause yet. We still have some time to save them.

Thank you.

Karima Baloch, Chairperson, Baloch Students Organization – Azad

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