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Baluchis are Pakistan's nemesis: They do not need India's help

Baluchis are Pakistan's nemesis: They do not need India's help

Author: M.V.Kamath
Publication: Free Press Journal
Date: July 31, 2009

The Baluchis need no help from India; they are fully capable of fighting their own battles as they have shown in the past. What that shows, irrespective of Gilani's charges against India, is that in the matter of the Two Nation Theory based on which Pakistan was created, it has no leg to stand on.

Tv here has been a lot of controersy over the Joint Statement issued on July 17 in Sharm-el-Sheikh, following the talks between Prime Minister of India and Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, in which a reference was made to India's alleged interference in Baluchistan. That reference was entirely uncalled for and by including it in a Joint Statement India has not only self-incriminated itself but has unconsciously admitted to the charge that Baluchis are getting India's support, even indirectly.

The Baluchis need no help from India; they are fully capable of fighting their own battles as they have shown in the past. What that shows, irrespective of Gilani's charges against India, is that in the matter of the Two Nation Theory based on which Pakistan was created, it has no leg to stand on.

Islam is by no means a unifying factor as first Bangladesh has shown and prior to it, both the North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan have shown. The very concept of Pakistan is under challenge and the Baluchis have long been proving it. Baluchistan constitutes 42 per cent of Pakistan's land mass and if Baluchistan secedes, Pakistan has no ground to claim a separate identity. That is why it is so anxious to hold on to Baluchistan no matter at what cost. And Baluchistan has paid heavily for Pakistan's aggressiveness. Since partition there have been four mini-wars between the Baluch and Pakistan forces in none of which was India even vaguely involved.

The first war was in 1948 when the then nascent Pakistan Army forced Mir Ahmed Yar Khan to abdicate. It was by any reckoning a conquest. Mir Ahmed Yar Khan was compelled to sign an accession agreement ending Kalat's de facto independence. It was left to his brother, Prince Abdul Karim Khan to carry on the freedom struggle. Basing himself in Afghanistan, he conducted guerilla warfare against the Pakistan Army. The Prince invited leading members of nationalist political parties like the Kalat State Nationalist Party, the Baloch League and the Baloch National Workers Party to join him in the struggle for the creation of an independent Greater Baluchistan. India, then, was nowhere in the picture.

The second conflict (1958-59) was led by Nawab Nowroze Khan who took up arms. He and his followers were charged with treason and arrested and confined in Hyderabad (Sind) jail. Five of his family members (sons and nephews) were subsequently hanged and the Nawab himself died in captivity.

The third conflict (1963-69) was led by Sher Mohammad Bijarani Marri. What had happened was that after the second conflict the Pakistan Government had built strong armed forces bases in Baluchistan to contain separatism. Marri inaugrated a counter-force which bombed railway tracts and ambushed Pakistan armed convoys. The insurgency spread to over 45,000 sq miles. But the rebellion failed, considering Baluchistan, a tribal nation, has hardly a middle class to sustain it.

The fourth conflict (1973-77) was led by Nawab Khair Baksh Marri but this was mercilessly crushed by the Zulfikar Bhutto regime which launched a full-scale military operation. The army and para-military forces numbering more than 80,000 was re-inforced by helicopters, gunships and armoured vehicles. Despite that the forces suffered 3,300 casualties but some 7,000 Balochis had to take refuge in Afghanistan. Another 8,000 were killed.

The fifth conflict from 2004 to the present led by Nawab Akhtar Khan Bugti almost ended when the Nawab was killed in fighting the Pakistan Army, in August 2006.

In April 2009 Baloch National Movement President Ghulam Mohammad Bloch and two other Nationalist leaders (Lala Munir and Sher Muhammad) were seized from their office "handcuffed, blindfolded and hustled into a waiting pick-up truck, right in front of their lawyer and neighbouring shopkeepers. Five days later their bodies "riddled with bullets" were found in the countryside sparking "rioting and weeks of strikes, demonstrations and civil resistance in cities and towns in Baluchistan".

Where can India possibly come in the picture? Baluchistan has every right to be independent. It is kept down by sheer force and downright brutality, when it could have been happily a part of Muslim Pakistan. If a cent per cent Muslim state refuses to be part of Pakistan, by what logic can Islamabad claim to speak for Jammu and Kashmir? Which, on its own, acceded to India? Pakistan has been misbehaving like a spoilt child, it has been playing havoc in Kashmir.

Pakistani terrorists mostly Army men have been infiltrating into Jammu and Kashmir. Can Pakistan, hand on heart, say that Hindu jihadis are operating in Baluchistan? On what Pakistani jihadis have been doing to Jammu & Kashmir, India can do to Baluchistan which, on principled grounds, India has desisted from doing. India does not believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Unlike Pakistan, India functions on principles.

Pakistan should remain grateful to India for resisting the temptation to pay it back in the same coin. Its leaders don't understand decency. Pakistan is adept at destroying demographic equilibria whereas India has never tried to flood the Kashmir vale with nonKashmiris. But consider what has happened to Karachi. According to Stephen Cohen a South India expert, Karachi now has a population of 5.5 million Urdu and Gujarati speaking Mohajirs, 2 million Punjabis, 1.5 million Pushtuns reducing the local Sindhis a minority in their own city with a population of less than a million.

Altaf Hussain, head of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) has said on several occasions that the creation of Pakistan was a mistake. It was and continues to be. It should understand Indian high-mindedness in accept it for what it is.

As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, our Indian saint, said, India does not want even a square inch of Pakistani territory. India wants peace. It should have talks, but with whom? Zardari? Gilani? In Pakistan what matters is the Army and the ISI. For peace in the subcontinent what is needed is defanging the Pak Army. The people of Pakistan can do that. Can they? The United States can do that. But would it? And a war can accomplish it. Dr Singh is right, but does Pakistan want a war? The issue is not a matter of trusting Pakistan's civilian leaders who don't matter. What is needed is psychiatric treatment of Pakistan's Generals whose mind is set in the era of the Ghoris and Ghaznis, and who are beyond all redemption.

One doesn't talk to thugs to get them around. The Prime Minister should read up on Lord Bentinck.

He must also remember that his American friends won't be of any help. They are specialists in running with the hare and bunting with the bounds. With a saint as a Prime Minister India does not require softies.

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