Today, Balochistan’s invasion and occupation by the Pakistan military is 70 years old, and since 1948, the Baloch nation has gone through various phases of revolts and political struggles to regain their independence and the rightful place in the world among the civilized nations. The seven decades of Baloch struggle has witnessed worst forms of military operations under military and civilian rulers; General Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamization of society to counter secular politics; rise of Taliban and the jihadist terror outfits; and of course the Chinese military and economic expansion in the coastal Balochistan and the Arabian Sea.
By all measures, this is the longest single conflict Balochistan is currently going through and also the most widely acknowledged one in Balochistan’s modern history. We are fighting a country that has become the epicenter of global network of terrorism, threatening the international community and the political stability, security of economic development in the region.
Balochistan’s invasion on March 27, 1948 by Pakistan wasn’t simply territorial; it was this newly founded jihadist state’s first assault on democracy and the democratic will of a people. The bicameral legislative assembly of Kalat State had unanimously decided for Balochistan to be an independent country as of August 11, 1947. The military invasion of Balochistan in 1948 and that of Kashmir a year earlier marked the beginning of successive military dictatorships and Talibanization phenomenon in South Asia.
Twin evils of Pakistan state – military and the mullah – has now a new strategic partner, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the $54 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor with control over Gwadar port providing access to the Arabian Sea. Balochistan won a hundred-year-war with the British colonial powers, only to be handed over to Pakistan and seventy years later Islamabad is selling it off to China as a colony.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or simply Pakhtunistan is another example of being victim to the 19th century “Great Game” policies of European colonialism. An imaginary line in the sand has destroyed a nation’s free choice to be rulers on their own lands and develop a society with cultural values that may evolve into a modern political system. The 1893 Durand Line or its later version, the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919 signed in Rawalpindi that ironically symbolizes Pakistan Army today are basically the classical examples of revenge of geography – how a sovereign Afghan nation’s culture, economics and political integrity were shattered into chaos by redrawing artificial boundaries and maps to serve foreign interests.
Similarly, Sindh’s culture of Sufism and religious tolerance is being systematically eroded by state policy of Blasphemy Law, which along with the Hindu community is also targeting the Christians in Punjab. Extrajudicial murders of Sindhi nationalist leaders and activists are now on the rise in Sindh where state forces have the impunity to abduct and torture the voices of dissent.
Today, West needs to understand the basics about Pakistan, the country they chose as their ally during the cold war period. The three most important features of Pakistan are:
- Pakistan Ideology based on the “Two Nation Theory” referring to Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent as a nation and thus fundamentally defining the Islamic state according to the principles of Muslim Brotherhood.
- Occupation of sovereign nations and their lands by military invasions and claiming it as Pakistan, the land of the pure in the name of God. Balochistan, Pakhtunistan and Kashmir are prime examples of occupied lands. The official moto of Pakistan Army – “Jihad-fi-Sabilillah” spells out very clearly the motive behind all the wars it fought since 1947 and the ones this state supports today in the name of Islam.
- The third important feature of Pakistan is its jihadist army, the main force behind its foreign and defense policies. It is the “holy glue” that sticks together the occupied lands and the jihadist ideology as an entity called Pakistan.
Balochistan chose independence on August 11, 1947 when Pakistan did not exist. Therefore, the accusations that Baloch struggle is a separatist movement is a joke with history. Actually, Pakistan’s foundation is in fact the first separatist state in the Indian Subcontinent supported by a fake ideology based on religion.
Today, Baloch are defending their land and sea coast from invading foreign armies:
- We want a peaceful end to the Pakistani military occupation of Balochistan that took place on March 27, 1948.
- We demand an end to the genocidal military operation in Balochistan that has claimed thousands of innocent lives.
- We demand an end to the testing of nuclear bombs and weapons of mass destruction in Balochistan. And all such weapons testing sites made accessible to international observers.
- We demand an end to all China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects in Balochistan that are basically designed by the Pakistani military to plunder natural wealth and build settlers colonies to further marginalize indigenous population through demographic changes.
- We demand complete halt to Chinese control of Gwadar port and withdrawal of all the Chinese personnel from the area.
- We demand Balochistan be made accessible to international media and human rights bodies for independent investigations into genocide, mass graves, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
- We demand dismantling of all Pakistani state sponsored structures of terror and death squads in Balochistan.
- We ask the western democracies, economic powers and experts on international law to recognize Balochistan’s plight to end Pakistani military occupation and restoration of its sovereignty to August 11, 1947 status.
Zaffar Baloch, President, Baloch National Movement – North America