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The Baloch State: A vision for the world

July 14, 2010 14:04 IST
With the killing of senior Baloch leader Habib Jalib Baloch in Quetta on Wednesday morning, the Balochistan resistance has once come into focus. In this column, Dr Jumma Khan Marri, a leading Baloch activist, offers his vision for his people

The concept of 'energy security in exchange for independence', containing some evaluation of the nature of the Baloch resistance and the goals of national strategy to end the stalemate and the revival of the Baloch nation's statehood, has been evolved to place this idea among the Balochis to discuss and give their feedback so that we could together write the concept of the Baloch national dream of statehood and self-determination and move forward to build an international consensus.

The geo-strategic position of Balochistan is its fortune as well as misfortune because it is willy-nilly an object of interest for the superpowers, regional powers and neighbours. Its long coastline commands the shipping lane through which passes oil from Gulf. It is neighbours to Afghanistan and Iran which in turn are neighbours to the central Asian republics, some of which have known and potential energy reserves which need marketing. Iran's energy reserves also need to be marketed but at present it is under the West's opprobrium because of its nuclear policy.

The recently signed pipeline deal between Pakistan and Iran is still a long way from being implemented because Pakistan can at any time wilt under the United States pressure and back out of the deal. This pipeline should be discounted until the gas from it starts flowing and is used in the markets it is intended for. India had backed out after initially agreeing because the US offered it a nuclear deal. This pipeline faces threats from the Baloch insurgents who are demanding independence and have the ability to carry out attacks against security forces in the cities. This pipeline would be very vulnerable to their attacks.

The Iran-Pakistan pipeline or any other envisaged pipeline which will have to transverse Balochistan to make it to the market would have been the most economical option for all concerned countries had the Baloch people been a submissive lot ready to negotiate their rights for a few measly dollars. The Baloch has for all the 63 years of Pakistan's existence resisted subjugation in spite of overwhelming odds. They did it even when there was no indication of the importance that its territory would have for the marketing of energy sources in its neighbourhood, so now when the Baloch know that the stakes are high in this energy-starved world they will never submit easily, and even a once in a while disruption of the pipeline would create enough headaches for the suppliers and users to refrain from using Balochistan as an option.

Sooner or later the world will have to recognise the legitimate right of the Baloch people to independence, for without giving the Baloch their due rights, there is no hope for peace in the areas inhabited by the Baloch in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. The powers that have the clout to persuade these countries to give rights to the Baloch should start using their influence if they want and desire stability and peace in this strategically important region. It should be understood that though the Baloch may not be powerful enough to wrest independence today, the increasing politicisation of the Baloch people is currently underway as much due to the efforts of independence seeking groups as to the constant repression and denial of rights by the concerned countries. If the world wants peaceful passage for the energy resources to reach the markets, they will have to agree to the demands of the Baloch people.

The goal of this article is an attempt to offer the Baloch viewpoint on the ongoing events in Balochistan for the Pakistani and international community to judge. It is also an attempt to offer a possible way out of the tragic deadlock by the Islamabad regime. The irresponsible games the international community has been playing with the Pakistani regime have driven the people of Balochistan and Pakistani establishment into fatal embrace in a way that puts the entire region into instability, which can risk international peace.

This author expresses the hope that this article will be viewed by the apologists with due consideration, no prejudice or hostility, which unfortunately became a logic manifestation of unprecedented anti-Baloch moods (like Balochphobia) in the Pakistani establishment and army.

In spite of the fact that hypocrisy became a business card in international relations a long time ago, we are stating that hypocrisy in politics is counterproductive. Relations between states and nations, as well as between people, are subject to the same law: the law of logic and experience.

It is stupid and amoral for a Baloch to be expressing hypocritically such pro-Western positions in order to gain favour from the international community while in a confrontation with Pakistan. It is just as stupid and useless as the Pakistani side assuring the world community that the Baloch freedom-fighters, who took up arms and who are fighting for freedom, are an aggression through foreign paid agencies. The Baloch national struggle is purely the result of the inhuman condition in which the Baloch are forced to live in. The Baloch people's lands are full of wealth while they can barely feed their kids leave alone the other human needs, but the politics of the world demands they be 'smarter and more artful'. According to this new logic, the Baloch struggle is supposed to be somewhat underground, so that God forbid, Washington or Islamabad do not find out about it.

But in reality it makes no sense and it is counterproductive to try and delude somebody or delude your own self. The point is not to conceal the obvious, but to show the interested countries that the Baloch freedom struggle poses no threat to the world and that it is a natural reaction to foreign aggression and the attempt to physically exterminate the Baloch ethos. And for the Baloch, the international law is a condition of vital importance for national survival and for preservation of their territorial and ethnic identity and independence.

The Baloch freedom struggle is not at war with the Western alliance, even though the Western alliance headed by the US has always been helping Pakistan murder innocent Baloch women and children and to occupy Balochistan and is directly responsible for the crimes against humanity committed by the Islamabad regime.

The Baloch side is defining its goals plainly and clearly and is trying to explain them to the world in an intelligible way that is easy to understand. Proceeding from these tasks, the Baloch side is searching for some common ground with the Western alliance, as well as common ground with the other friendly countries in the region which are totally dependent on the Western alliance.

Once the priorities are highlighted, the Baloch side offers the specific plan of 'political trade operation' ('security in exchange for independence'), where all sides, including the Western alliance, can see their own interests reflected in it. At the same time the Baloch side defends its own interests and its own position, proceeding from the powers and capabilities that it already has, and is stating that it is willing to show responsibility to its partners.

The result can be achieved not by humiliating Islamabad's dignity and betraying the principles, but by a clear and unambiguous indication of the Baloch national goal, which must show the international community and Islamabad the responsibility of the Baloch people and of their leaders just as clearly and unambiguously.

The boundaries which the Baloch side will never cross under any circumstances must be clearly pointed out as well. It does not mean that one must adhere to strict political constructions without considering the objective reality. However, any construction has its foundation that can never be broken, otherwise the very subject as the opposing side disappears. As a result, everything will tumble down and only fragments will remain, which will be thrown into the dustbin of history.

If the Baloch resistance relies on its traditional ideology, which is a natural and necessary form of national self-defence and ethnic survival in the national and state system, then it must be said openly, and explanations must be made about why the struggle is the response of every Baloch armed resistance group to Pakistani aggression, and why an independent national state based on the principle of international law is the goal.

The Western alliance must also be clearly shown that by supporting the genocide of the Baloch people it thus becomes Islamabad's accomplice in these crimes -- instead of making excuses before false and politically-biased accusations that the Baloch people allegedly have something to do with the so-called 'international terrorism' or that the Baloch State is unsustainable because it is 'unfair and dangerous'.

If the so-called international community and the Islamabad regime really are interested in the stability and security of not only Afghanistan and Pakistan, then the goal of the Baloch leadership is to show their understanding of that interest and the readiness of the Baloch State to unconditionally defend its national and State independence and its territorial and ethnic identity.

But if these assurances are just another manifestation of hypocrisy, and if they prefer maintaining instability in Afghanistan and the region while fearing the independence of the Baloch State, it can never do any harm to the Baloch side. Because, throughout the history of its just cause in the fight for freedom and independence, the Baloch nation has been relying on the fundamental precept of justice: live and let live.

Dr Jumma Khan Marri is president of the Baloch Unity Organisation who, while living in exile in Moscow, highlights his people's struggle for self-determination through the blog www.balochunity.org

Dr Jumma Khan Marri