This conversation was made by BNM Chairman Dr. Naseem Baloch with India Narrative journalist Rahul Kumar in a space program on Twitter which is being presented here.
We appreciate your invitation to this session and thank you for highlighting Balochistan. It means a lot to the people here that their pain and sorrow is understood and heard. As a journalist, it is your duty and responsibility to shed light on important issues like this.
Balochistan is a vast and beautiful land with a rich history and culture. People of different religions have coexisted and worshipped freely here for centuries. Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians are also part of our society, and the Baloch people have always protected them.
Balochistan has also been a target of invaders and occupiers throughout the history.
The traditions and resistance of the Baloch people are always remembered. However, today we are living under brutal colonial rule by Pakistan. Our land has become a prison, a hell, where no one is safe or free. We are struggling to liberate ourselves from this nightmare.
I urge you to use your voice to help us tell our story. The world needs to know about the atrocities that are being committed against the Baloch people. We need your help to bring about justice and freedom.
The Land of Gold and Blood :
Balochistan, which makes up 50% of Pakistan’s land area, has a population of just ten million people as per the Pakistani census. It possesses abundant natural resources, including oil, gas, coal, copper, gold, and various other minerals. Moreover, its advantageous location near the Strait of Hormuz is enhanced by a 750-kilometer coastline.
The Strait of Hormuz is a vital corridor for global energy supplies, as about 21% of the world’s petroleum liquids pass through it. The attention of the entire world is focused on Balochistan for this reason. Balochistan has a history of invasions and occupations with various powers, including the British and Russian forces, attempting to take control at different times. Even today, their eyes are fixed here. This is why Balochistan has been the center of wars and resistance throughout most of its history. Baloch has always resisted invaders and occupiers. It has a long history, which continues even today.
Pakistan exploited Balochistan’s resources when it annexed the region by force. In 1954, Pakistan began using the gas from Sui to power its homes and industries, while the people of Sui had no access to it. Pakistan has also been extracting gold and silver from the Reko Dik and Saindak. Along with this plunder, Pakistan has unleashed a brutal campaign of repression and violence against the Baloch people.
The phrase “gold and blood” is well-known. It means that where there is wealth, there is also violence. The pursuit of riches and power often comes at the expense of human lives and rights. This is what we are facing in Balochistan. Pakistan thinks that it can take our gold, silver, and other resources by shedding our blood and oppressing us.
This is a form of colonialism or imperialism, where “gold and blood” refers to the plunder of natural resources and land from the colonized people. This involves displacing, enslaving, or genocide of the native people.
Some people and human rights organizations say that Pakistan is exploiting Balochistan’s resources without giving a fair share to the Baloch people and that this is the cause of our resistance. But this is not true. We are not asking for a share of our wealth. We are asking for our land, where we can live as free and sovereign people. We believe that after so much bloodshed in Balochistan, Baloch want their own land, not to become slaves of others on their own land and take a small share in their own wealth. Our demand is freedom, which is also our right.
As our topic today is “Is Balochistan heading towards independence?” Of course we answer that with “yes”. Although there is no set timeline for this struggle, the level of mass participation and the establishment of a full-fledged movement indicate that it is indeed heading in this direction.
The Baloch nation has reached a breaking point and can no longer endure the shackles of slavery and colonization. The momentum towards freedom is palpable, leaving no room for doubt. Our movement is based on historical facts and international law that support our claim that Balochistan has been occupied by force. Before Pakistan, we had agreements with the British colonizers. These agreements prove that we have a legal and moral right to our independence.
Today, our struggle is comprehensive and organized. We have established institutions and strengthened organizations. We have political resistance on the ground and a diaspora abroad. This is a common phenomenon in every occupied region, where the oppressed people are forced to flee to other countries and seek refuge. In the last 15-20 years, many Baloch people have left Balochistan and settled in various countries, including Europe, America, Australia, Afghanistan, and Iran. They are part of the freedom struggle and help us achieve our goal of freedom.
The freedom of Balochistan is not a dream, but a reality.
The Negative Impact of the China-Pakistan Alliance on Balochistan:
For decades, Balochistan has faced repression, oppression, exploitation, and occupation by Pakistan. China, Pakistan’s strategic partner, has added to this by initiating a large project called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The CPEC aims to link China’s Xinjiang region with Balochistan’s Gwadar Deep Sea Port through a network of highways, railways, and energy pipelines.
The CPEC not only exploits Balochistan’s resources and strategic location, but also brings about social, environmental, and political problems. The region is seeing a shift in power balance with China’s growing presence in the Baloch Sea, including its submarines, posing a challenge to all neighboring countries.
Although it has become a global problem, Baloch nation is fighting it alone. Today as a nation we are suffering, but for a greater cause. If global powers and regional powers do not come and help us, do not interfere with them, it will prove to be a big loss for them too.
The Baloch, who have inhabited the region for millennia, face forced migration as a key issue with the CPEC project in Balochistan. In the name of projects like highways and railways are causing the loss of forests in Pakistan. The army is involved in burning forests in various locations.
The situation has resulted in numerous individuals becoming Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and relocating within Sindh or Balochistan. Meanwhile, those who remain face ongoing hostility from the Pakistani army on a daily basis.
As a consequence, their social and cultural norms have suffered disruption. Several individuals have been displaced from their native lands and have had to forego their traditional way of living.
Q&A session with Space participants
Mobilization of BNM in Balochistan:
The pro-liberation parties, such as the Baloch National Movement (BNM), Free Balochistan Movement (FBM), and the Balochistan Republican Party (BRP), used different mobilization methods when they were in Balochistan. Following Pakistan’s implementation of the “Kill and dump” policy, all organizations and political activists have been forced to go underground.
Today, the BNM’s policy in Balochistan, which is also part of their constitution, is that they do not openly operate in their name in Balochistan. They have created an organizational structure there, where they carry out the underground or cell system method and work with them to mobilize people in the freedom struggle. This is the procedure of almost all these organizations.
The BNM has changed procedures after the losses they faced earlier, from leadership to common workers, like the martyrdom of their founder chairman Ghulam Muhammad Baloch to common members. Additionally, various human rights groups operate both within and outside of Balochistan, conducting numerous activities and initiatives.
The ones who are forcibly disappeared are labeled as freedom fighters by Pakistan. Their claim is that there are only five thousand individuals, while our estimation is forty thousand. This indicates the enormous demand for and mobilization of the freedom movement.
Today, efforts to halt the mobilization and quell the movement continue through tactics such as “kill and dump” and “fake encounters.” The people’s voice, represented by different organizations both within and beyond Balochistan, continues to drive this ongoing process.The BNM is in touch with people. The BNM employs both overt and covert techniques to mobilize people, but the process remains consistent and ongoing. Though the means have evolved, the pace has not diminished.
The BNM is raising awareness and mobilizing people by utilizing various mediums such as reading and writing, audio and video platforms, and sending messages.
One of their big broadcasting corporations, “Zrumbesh”, which runs news, brings the situation of Balochistan to people twice a day, in audio and video form, and written form.
The party engages in these activities thrice daily, including mobilization processes and propaganda campaigns. Such activities are undertaken across various situational contexts. Additionally, the BNM employs covert measures for consistent mobilization efforts.
Does the Baloch movement demand a share in the resources of Balochistan?
Our nationalism and struggle are not based on resources, because if we trace this movement and struggle back to 1948, then there were no resources, no oil, no gas, no Rekodik, no Saindik, no copper mines, no gold mines discovered. The Baloch movement or the movement of nationalism existed even before the creation of Pakistan. Today’s struggle has no direct relation to resources.
We see in the 1930s that modern nationalism has never brought up resources in the form it has existed since the time of Yusuf Aziz Magsi. If we talk about resources, after the creation of Pakistan and the occupation of Balochistan, they discovered gas in the Sui region. After a couple of years of work and networking, since 1954 it has started supplying gas to Pakistan. Today, more than one well has been discovered from time to time, at different points of Sui.
In the nineties, Pakistan acquired the remaining copper and gold mines from various companies, often in partnership with Chile and Canada. Today, a similar trend is occurring. Therefore, we cannot call it a resource-related movement.
Our movement has always been a national one, operating on the same path even before Pakistan’s creation. The ideology behind our resistance against Pakistan’s occupation remains consistent. Pakistan has taken advantage of the region and its resources, including what the world has developed in the nearby Gulf area. Being located along the coast of the Gulf, the discovery of oil and gas there has inspired the belief that similar treasures may be found in Balochistan.
They started exploring here. Then, going forward, Barrick Gold Company’s recent contracts with the Pakistani government in Reko Diq are recent.