London : According to Dr. Naseem Baloch, Pakistan is striving to extend its forced occupation of Balochistan by changing the geographic makeup of the region through colonization. Concerns have been raised that the occupying state is rapidly depleting Balochistan’s resources to strengthen its foothold and suppress any aspirations for independence voiced by the Baloch people.
The speaker shared his opinions at a Baloch National Movement UK Chapter event for Balochistan Pledge Renewal Day. This day marks the anniversary of Balochistan’s liberation from British rule. Every year on August 11, the Baloch people remember their lost freedom and reaffirm their commitment to regain it.
In addition to Dr. Naseem, renowned Baloch historian Dr. Naseer Baloch was also invited to provide insight into the historical background of the day.
According to Dr. Naseem, Pakistan is resorting to tactics such as promoting religious extremism and obstructing educational and developmental progress in Balochistan to maintain its occupation of the region. He believes that these actions are aimed at depriving future generations of Baloch of education and critical thinking skills, which would leave them vulnerable to internal conflicts and unable to resist Pakistani expansionism. Furthermore, the state has been stoking tribal conflicts to further confuse and divide the Baloch people.
Dr. Naseem Baloch, discussing the political landscape in Balochistan, highlighted the long-standing fear of the Pakistani state towards the political awareness and aspirations of the Baloch people. He pointed out that Baloch political activists and leaders have faced targeted killings, while numerous individuals have been subjected to enforced disappearances. Moreover, Baloch nationalist political parties have been banned by Pakistan. However, despite these oppressive measures, the Baloch nation remains resolute in their political journey and is now making strides towards their goals with increased organization and determination.
According to him, despite Pakistan’s heinous acts, the Baloch people’s desire for freedom remains unbroken, and they continue to resist Pakistani aggression through both armed and political means.
Dr. Naseer Dashti: “Britain established British Balochistan owing to the region’s strategic significance.”
Dr. Naseer Baloch, speaking at the event, emphasized that to understand the significance of August 11, it is crucial to delve into the reasons behind the Baloch people’s pursuit of freedom. He highlighted the historical context of how and why Great Britain had subjugated Balochistan, and how the region was ultimately handed over to Pakistan after the British withdrawal from the subcontinent.
According to Dr. Naseer Baloch, during the first few decades of the nineteenth century, only a handful of nations held global dominance. Britain and Russia were among the foremost superpowers, with France and Spain also holding significant influence over territories in Latin America and the African continent. While Britain controlled vast territories ranging from Australia to America, India played a pivotal role as their main colony and market in Asia. At the same time, Russia was seizing control of Central Asia through its expansionist policies.
Dr. Naseer Dashti shed light on the historical context of British occupation in Balochistan. He explained that, initially, Britain had established its border in India up to the Indus River. However, due to Russian expansionist ambitions in the west and the Russian occupation of central Asia, Britain began to worry about the safety of its most profitable colony – India. Hence, to counter the threat of a potential Russian attack, Britain adopted a forward policy of colonizing Afghanistan and installed a puppet ruler to govern it.Driven by the same objective, they invaded Afghanistan via Peshawar and Baluchistan, occupied it, and installed Shah Shuja as the ruler in place of Dost Muhammad. Exploiting a minor incident as a pretext, the British launched an attack on the state of Kalat, resulting in the tragic demise of Khan Kalat and hundreds of his companions. This marked the onset of an oppressive era, characterized by enslavement, in Balochistan.
According to him, owing to its strategic significance, the British established an area adjacent to Afghanistan called British Balochistan, which remained under their direct control. Meanwhile, the rest of the Kalat state was managed through a puppet rulers named Khawanin-e-Kalat. Following the Treaty of Mastung, the Khans were reliant on Britain to manage both its internal and external affairs.
Dr. Naseer Dashti pointed that the hopes for the future of Balochistan were again setback when the socialist revolution led by Lenin and the Bolshevik Party took place in Russia, championing workers’ rights in other countries such as Great Britain. Alarmed by this, Britain devised a secret plan to partition the subcontinent before leaving. As per the scheme, the nation decided to create a separate independent country for Muslims called Pakistan, which would serve as a buffer state to stop Soviet expansion and separate left-leaning India from Soviet Russia.
Dr. Naseer Dashti brought attention to the occurrences in 1947, clarifying that when the British made the decision to depart from India, the Khan of Kalat, who was deemed as an ineffective ruler, was persuaded by other Baloch leaders that the British were retreating for good. Consequently, they started discussions on the independence of Balochistan. The Baloch political figures urged Khan of Kalat to engage Muhammad Ali Jinnah as his legal representative to advocate for the case of Balochistan. However, their efforts were fruitless as the British amalgamated it with Pakistan.
He mentioned that Kalat state, after gaining independence on August 11, only retained its autonomy for a mere nine months before being seized by the newly formed state of Pakistan assisted by the ulterior motives of the British. However, the weak leadership of the Khan of Kalat failed to maintain control over his state. He made no attempt to defend or aid his brother, Agha Abdul Karim Khan, and associates, who were intent on resisting the forced occupation of Kalat state.