Before India’s independence and Pakistan’s creation, on 11 August 1947, Balochistan got independence. But it lasted only nine months as Pakistan occupied Balochistan on 27 March 1948. Since then, Balochistan has been fighting for its independence and for more than two decades one person–Dr Allah Nazar Baloch has been fighting tooth and nail against the Pakistani Army.
In an exclusive interview, Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) leader Dr Allah Nazar Baloch speaks with Mark Kinra about his journey in the field of politics, torture in Pakistani dungeons, the newly created BRAS group, the Iran connection, Barrick Gold, Baloch expectations from India and much more.
Faced with mounting challenges, it remains unclear whether Islamabad and Beijing will reassess their policies and intentions.
by Divyanshu Jindal
Due to years of policymaking blunders, sponsorship of terrorism, suppressing ethnic minorities’ human rights, and asymmetrical political-military relations, Pakistan is facing more challenges today than it can handle.
Pakistan’s woes are multi-fold. First, just six months after massive protests against China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Balochistan, the region is again brimming with discontent. On the economic front, Islamabad is desperately courting friendly countries and looking to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to rescue the country from a debt default. Meanwhile, recent attacks on Chinese workers and concerns over the slow progress of BRI-related projects have put foreign investment issues back in the news.
The first thing that strikes you about Dr Naseer Dashti—foremost Baloch intellectual and author, is his carefree and cheerful nature. He loves to laugh at his banter. He starts a conversation with ease, even with a stranger, even if he must be playfully sarcastic.
Outside the London Bridge train station, under the shade of the Shard, our conversation starts with, “I know you Indians have an obsession with Turko-Mongols, so I will take you to a Turkish restaurant to eat”. Finding no good reason to find favour with Turks, given today’s tumultuous geopolitics, I question him on his statement.
Baloch pro-independent leader Dr. Allah Nizar Baloch, expressing his views on the foreign investments in Balochistan on the social networking website Twitter said they are doomed to sink.
On 30 May he tweeted “If the #Chinese, along with other investors, want to invest in Balochistan, can never safeguard their interests without the consent of Baloch. Again, we warn all international investors to abstain unless the Baloch people are the guarantors.
Gwadar with deeper Chinese involvement will become the new battleground of Baloch nationalism versus the Pakistani establishment and Chinese interests
Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
When a person, in his opening lines, terms the May 28, 1998 Chaghai nuclear explosion as historic, it creates misgivings about the purpose of that write up. Mr Usama Nizamani in his article “Gwadar: an emerging paradigm for Pakistan and the region” (Daily Times, March 19, 2013) did just that. Celebrating any nuclear explosion as historic is a downright insult to the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s victims. It is analogous to celebrating ‘small pox’ and ‘Black Death’ as a blessing for mankind. A nuclear explosion that killed a mountain and adversely affects those living there can only be trumpeted as historic by those bent on destroying the world.
Baloch anger is not against the ethnic mix, it is rooted in poverty and the systematic denial of opportunities by the Pakistani establishment.
The November 23 attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi by Baloch separatists brought into global view, once more, the Baloch trauma. The Balochistan Liberation Army, which claimed responsibility for the attack, had warned the Chinese authorities against “exploitation of Balochistan’s mineral wealth and occupation of the Baloch territory”.
Regrettable as violence in any form is, this incident is an unfortunate reminder that Baloch complaints cannot forever be ignored. In fact, the constant refrain through Pakistan’s 70-year history is this: Balochistan appears to be on the boil again.
What’s new? Pakistani leaders say the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), launched in 2015, is a “game changer” for the country’s ailing economy. But opaque plans for the corridor, the upheaval likely to affect locals along its route, and profits flowing mostly to outsiders could stir unrest. The government has repressed CPEC critics.
Why does it matter? CPEC could help revive Pakistan’s economy. But if it moves ahead without more thorough debate in parliament and provincial legislatures and consultation with locals, it will deepen friction between the federal centre and periphery, roil provinces already long neglected, widen social divides and potentially create new sources of conflict.