Balochistan being equated with Kashmir

By Asif Haroon Raja

Under the partition plan worked out by the British in June 1947, the 600 princely states had been given the choice of either joining up with India or Pakistan, giving credence to communal demographic milieus and geographic proximity. India in connivance with British Viceroy Lord Mount Batten annexed all the princely states including Junagadh, Hyderabad Deccan and Manavadar whose Muslim rulers had desired accession to Pakistan. India annexed these states on the pretext of communal affinity and contiguity. However, the same approach was not adopted in Kashmir which was heavily Muslim populated and contiguous to Pakistan but was ruled by an autocratic Hindu Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh.

Jawaharlal Nehru led Congress leaders who opposed division of India tooth and nail till the very end didn’t want to part with Kashmir at any cost. In connivance with Viceroy Lord Mount Batten and Sir Cyril Radcliffe, a plan was hatched to falsify Two-Nation Theory, negate the partition principle of self-determination and to cripple Pakistan at its birth by means of mischievous Radcliffe Award. After blatantly dividing Punjab and Bengal and further depriving Pakistan of its rightful lands to convert the newly born state into moth eaten Pakistan, Boundary Award was deviously altered by Radcliffe at the behest of Mount Batten to make predominantly Muslim majority district of Gurdaspur district in East Punjab part of India.

This treachery was committed to make Kashmir contiguous to India and give a reason to Indian leaders to lay claim over it. By this perfidious act, which Mount Batten himself admitted at a later date, he not only subjected Muslim majority area to the eternal curse of Hindu domination, but also sowed the seed from which was to grow the Indian domination of State of Kashmir inhabited by 80% Muslims.

All peaceful efforts aimed at changing the status quo have met with outright obduracy. Armed uprising from 1989 onwards followed by unarmed movement from 2008 to 2010 in the bleeding vale of Kashmir resulting in deaths of tens of thousands at the hands of Indian security forces didn’t soften up cold-blooded Hindu Brahman rulers. After killing over 100,000 Kashmiris, men, women and children and incapacitating the same number in a mad frenzy to crush the movement, neither there is any let up in Indian atrocities nor in the freedom struggle of the Kashmiris. Thousands have gone missing or killed in fake encounters and not a single killer has ever been made accountable. Indian soldiers, paramilitary forces and police employed in Occupied Kashmir are above law.

India falsely claims that secession of Kashmir, for that is precisely what a plebiscite in the State would mean, would become a precedent for other Indian states to secede from the fractionally divided, internally restive, artificially cemented Indian Union. This weird logic is preposterous and it is mockery of justice. Why the Kashmiris should be made the sacrificial lamb for the sake of unity of Indian Union which has been unable to overcome factionalism and communalism. Dozens of insurgencies and separatist movements in about 20 Indian States out of total 28 States speaks for itself that there is something terribly wrong in so-called shining India which the advanced world never tire applauding.

The impotent UNO has failed to implement its own resolutions since the sufferers are Muslims and the perpetrators are non-Muslims. East Timor and South Sudan have been made independent through the UN arbitration since the inhabitants of the two regions are Christian heavy. In case of Kashmir, the sole super power callously says that the UN resolutions are outdated. It has ganged up with India and dubs the Kashmiri freedom fighters as terrorists. Even unarmed teenagers are dubbed as Pakistan motivated terrorists. Instead of restraining India, it is encouraging India to crush the movement with full force. Pakistan’s moral, political and diplomatic support irritates India and the US. The duo dubs it as interference and goes a step further by alleging that Pakistan is involved in cross border terrorism.

While duplicitous USA considers the whole lot of Kashmiris, suffering state terrorism of Indian forces for over six decades, as terrorists deserving no mercy, it considers 2000-2500 terrorist Balochis supported by foreign powers involved in sabotage, abductions, target killings, killing of security forces and demanding independence of Balochistan as freedom fighters. Pak security forces are censured for carrying out human rights abuses. In collusion with India, the US is actively working on a sinister conspiracy to make Balochistan independent as is evident from the bill moved in US Congress for independent Balochistan on 17 February 2012. The bill states that Balochi people subjected to violence and extrajudicial killing have an innate right to self-determination and their own sovereign country.

Instead of worrying over the fate of the Kashmiris and trying to solve the oldest dispute of Kashmir, the unjust and callous US leaders are more worried about Balochistan which is integral part of Pakistan and 97% people of Balochistan are patriotic Pakistanis. Ali Dayan Hasan heading Human Rights Watch and Dr Wahid Baloch, President Baloch Society of North America were instrumental in coloring the perceptions of the three Republican Congress members though concocted stories about Balochistan. The Army and Frontier Corps (FC) engaged in massive development works in Balochistan have been dubbed as oppressors and the terrorists as innocent victims. Security forces are being presented as occupation forces and Balochistan as an occupied territory.

It is a sinister move to equate Balochistan with occupied Kashmir. Although the US government has disassociated itself from the movers of the bill essentially because of timely protests made by Pakistan, the fact remains that it is very much part of the conspiracy. It should not surprise us if similar bills are moved in British Parliament and in the EU so as to prepare grounds to move a resolution in the UNSC as had been done in case of Syria. It is unfortunate that a section of our media instead of exposing the sinister designs of our adversaries has ganged up with western media and is bashing Pak Army, FC and ISI and tarnishing their image. Electronic media is giving lot of space to the runaway rebel Baloch leaders espousing independence of Balochistan.

The world as a whole has turned a deaf ear to the cries and shrieks of the Kashmiris agonizing in open hell and overlooks India’s atrocities. They have been denied their indisputable right of self-determination as promised by the UN and the Indian leaders. India’s belligerence and apathy of the world powers to resolve the oldest dispute of the world has bred extremism and poses a serious threat to the security of the entire continent of Asia. Kashmir has now become a flashpoint with nuclear overtones. Instead of fishing in troubled waters of Balochistan, the US should worry about the molten lava simmering in Kashmir, which is now at the brink of eruption. This uncontrollable volcanic emission will occur when the Kashmiri youth will be forced to pick up arms again.

Rather than putting pressure on Pakistan to withdraw the FC from internal security duties in Balochistan and thus open the doors for foreign intervention, the US should earnestly work towards demilitarization of occupied Kashmir so that a fair and free plebiscite could be held. Our media should highlight the atrocities of the Indian forces against the hapless Kashmiris rather than sympathizing with the handful of Baloch terrorists in Balochistan involved in massive target killings of the non-locals and demonizing Pak security forces who are sacrificing their lives to safeguard the interests of Pakistan.

The writer is a defence analyst, a freelance columnist and author of several books.

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