South Asia Minority Alliance Foundation (SAMAF) organized an event in USA, Washington DC, highlighting the issue of religious freedom and minority rights in Pakistan as well as to show solidarity with Afghan people and US troops and their families.
A number of Congressmen attended and spoke in the event; which include Tom Garret, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, Adam Kizinger, Rod Wittman, Dave Brat, Morgan Griffith, Jeff Dancan, Raul Labrador, Gary Palmer, Rod Blum, Randy Huttgren, Jodz Rice, Andy Biggs, Tom Rice and Alex Mooney. Nabi Bakhsh Baloch represented BNM in the event. He said, “I am grateful to Nadeem Nusrat and the South Asia Minority Alliance Foundation for honoring me with this opportunity to express my views on current affairs in parts of South Asia, especially Pakistan in relation to my homeland, Balochistan.”
He said , “As a representative of the Baloch nation and Balochistan let me be crystal clear that Baloch are not a minority but a nation under brutal, forced occupation by Pakistan since 1948. Sovereign state of Balochistan won its freedom on August 11, 1947 based on the treaties between the British crown and the rulers of Kalat. And on March 27, 1948, Pakistan Army invaded Kalat, the seat of Baloch rule on Balochistan. We, as a people, were forced to accept Pakistan without our national consent”.
Balochistan is 44 percent of the Pakistani land mass and is strategically located at the sea and land routes linked to the critical oil flow to the world, Iran and the AfPak war/terrorism theatre.
Pakistan’s interference in the region has a history of cross-border militarism, export of terrorism and destabilization with catastrophic nuclear threats. CPEC, the China-Pakistan strategic alliance and the Chinese control over the port of Gwadar in the Makran division of Balochistan is not only an economic plan of plunder in the name of development but in reality it is a military strategic expansion using Balochistan territory to challenge the western nations and the neighboring India.
Religious minorities in Pakistan are suffering dearly because of Islamabad’s policies of using Islamist militancy as a tool of foreign policy against neighboring countries India and Afghanistan. In Balochistan, the Hazara Shiites and Zikri Baloch are facing the main brunt of religious extremism unleashed upon them by the state-sponsored groups, used by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to counter the Baloch secular nationalist movement. Thousands of Baloch youth have been abducted by the ISI and their militant gangs, held at secret locations where they face brutal torture and execution.
Nothing has changed for Balochistan after the general elections 2018 in Pakistan, dubbed in the local and international media as the “military coup through ballet” because of the large-scale rigging and explicit army interference and support for Imran Khan and his PTI. U.S. Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo’s call to PM Khan was a clear message to Islamabad that they better quit playing games and begin delivering results in countering terror outfits and their heads that are enjoying V.I.P status and protocol in Pakistan. Peace in Afghanistan will be a major step in this direction as part of the U.S. and international strategy to combat terrorism globally.