By S. M. Hali
The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA)—a separatist militant group—currently headed by Hyrbair Marri, the son of Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, is striving for the separation of Balochistan. BLA gained prominence in 2000, after claiming responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks in Balochistan.
In April 2006, the Government of Pakistan declared BLA as a terrorist organisation, following a series of heinous attacks killing innocent civilians, journalists and security personnel. The same year, UK placed BLA in the list of “proscribed groups”. The dichotomy is that although BLA’s activities have been labelled as acts of terrorism by both the UK and US State Department but the organization has not been formally declared as a terrorist organization by either. The Government of Pakistan has proof that India has been funding the BLA. The dossier of evidence was presented to Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh by his Pakistani counterpart at the sidelines of the NAM Summit at Sharm El-Sheikh in July 2009. Manmohan Singh had appeared convinced but later dropped investigations at the behest of Indian hawks.
On 15 June 2013, BLA demolished one of the last relics of the Founder of Pakistan. The Quaid-e-Azam residency at Ziarat where Pakistan’s founder and First Governor General, Muhammad Ali Jinnah spent the last months of his life of his life, was attacked by rockets and destroyed. The militants also removed the flag of Pakistan from the monument site, replacing it with a BLA flag.
In recent months, BLA has been on the warpath through international supporters. BLA and Khan of Kalat had planned to take the issue of Balochistan to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and expected India to pay $2.4 million lawyers’ fee to contest their case in ICJ. As Indian support did not materialize, BLA and Khan of Kalat approached US leaders to achieve their ends. In February 2012, three Republican Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher, Louie Gohmert and Steve King, tabled a bill before US Congress stating, “Balochistan is currently divided between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan with no sovereign rights of its own. In Pakistani Balochistan the people are subjected to violence and extrajudicial killing. The bill favoured Baloch rights of self-determination, having a sovereign state and must be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status.”
Earlier on the US subcommittee on ‘Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ convened a hearing on extrajudicial killings and violation of human rights in Balochistan. Rohrabacher chaired the meeting while Lieutenant Colonel (R) Ralph Peters testified. Colonel Peters is the architect of the infamous 2006 New Middle East map and is an advocator for the disintegration of Muslim states on sectarian / religious fault lines. His map shows a number of Muslim countries (including Pakistan) truncated. US Government quickly distanced itself from Congressional hearing by Rohrabacher and Peters’ testimony. Despite its denial, U.S. think-tanks, NGOs and websites continue instigating the separatists in Balochistan. US State Department-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Voice of Balochistan (VOB) have been instrumental in fomenting dissension and nationalistic feelings. US has been pressing Pakistan to allow opening of a consulate in Quetta. The aim is to make it more convenient to execute US nefarious intentions against Pakistan.
The Tea Party members in US Congress are reportedly working to create an independent Balochistan. These leaders are angry with Pakistan for sheltering Osama-bin-Laden and intend teaching a lesson to Pakistan by supporting the separatists in Balochistan. Tea Party members currently supporting the idea of free Balochistan were in the forefront of Afghan Jihad against USSR. They include Dana Rohrabacher, Louie Gohmert and Steve King, who have also held meetings with Baloch dissidents in London.
India has been providing financial support to Baloch separatists which are being pocketed by tribal chiefs leading the separatism in Balochistan. It is worth mentioning that if Republicans come into power in the 2016 presidential elections, violence and bloodshed in Balochistan will have an upsurge as the militants are likely to get more funds from the mischief monger members of US Tea Party, representing so-called conservatives raising voice for human rights. Some of the Tea Party members are reportedly developing relations with Baloch Lobbyists from Iranian province of S?st?n -o-Balochistan with strong links to Jundollah—a terrorist outfit based in Balochistan, claiming to fight for the rights of Sunni Muslims in Iran and also has close ties to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The sensitive issue of Balochistan necessitates careful handling. Politically, the actions are on the right track. Elections have been held and a political Government has been installed. In addition the political process has been continuously evolving in Balochistan which resulted in successful holding of Local Bodies elections in Balochistan. Hence, the case of separatists as being instigated by Dana Rohrabacher et al gets negated.
It must be understood that the instigation of the US Congressmen is not based on respect for human rights as they have never raised their voice for either the downtrodden Palestinians or the suppressed Kashmiris. The raison-d’être of these mischief mongering US legislators is that the US is keen on acquiring control of the rich mineral resources of Balochistan. The strategic port of Gwadar, located in Balochistan, currently being operated by China, is also a lucrative target. Thirty five percent of the world’s oil supply plies through the Indian Ocean and Gwadar provides access to this strategic sea line of communication. He who controls Gwadar will call the shots in the world oil supply.
We must denounce the intriguing designs of US members of Tea Party for their hypocrisy and double face with regards to Balochistan. They draw inspiration from British colonial era (18th century) when a protest in Boston against absurd taxation on Tea (product) was held by a Tea Party as a measure of raising voice for human rights. The situation in Balochistan presents an internal issue of Pakistan which has mainly been addressed by the political leadership. Hopefully the patriotic Baloch will denounce the insurgents.