Why Baloch Leader Opposes CPEC?
Although various Baloch separatist leaders of the Balochistan province are still opposing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), yet case of Nawabzada Braham¬¬dagh Bugti, the leader of the outlawed Baloch Republican Party (BRP) is of special consideration which exposes foreign designs of external powers against Pakistan.
In this respect, Brahamdagh Bugti, in a recently-held conference in Frankfurt, organized by the German Chapter of the BRP highlighted human rights situation in Balochistan. He criticized the CPEC and Gwadar port projects and called for a UN-sponsored referendum in Balochistan to decide its future. He alleged the military equipments and funds obtained by Pakistan from the US and other western countries for combating terrorists and extremist groups were also being used against the democratic and political struggle of the Baloch people.
With the assistance of anti-Pakistan foreign entities, BRP held the conference. Besides Baloch Republican Party leaders, human rights activists, politicians and businessmen from the European countries participated in the conference in order to endorse the ill-conceived stand of Brahamdagh Bugti about Balochistan, as part of propaganda.
It is not new attempt to malign Pakistan in relation to Baluchistan, such sort of conferences and meetings also held in the past in Geneva, London and the US. In this regard, the US Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs had convened unprecedented hearing on February 8, 2012 and negatively, discussed Balochistan. The Committee’s hearing was attended by the supporters of Baloch separatism and American scholars including human rights activists. It was chaired by Dana Rohrabacher who said, “Balochistan is a turbulent land marred by human rights violations”, requiring urgent attention. Rohrabacher had also co-authored an article with Congressman Louie Gohmert, and favoured an independent Balochistan.
However, Nawabzada Braham¬¬dagh Bugti who is now living in Europe in self-imposed exile has full backing of some external secret agencies, especially Indian RAW in misguiding the innocent people of Balochsitan.
In fact, entrenched in Afghanistan, foreign intelligence agencies like American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad have perennially been supporting bomb blasts, suicide attacks, abductions, target killings, ethnic and sectarian violence in Balochistan through their affiliated militant groups such as BRP, Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), Jundollah (God’s soldiers) etc. to fulfill the secret strategic designs of US, India and Israel at the cost of Pakistan, China and Iran. Besides martyring several personnel of law-enforcing agencies and security forces in the province, these anti-Pakistan entities kidnapped and massacred many Punjabis, Pushtuns, Shias, people of Hazara community and patriot Balochis including Iranian Shias. In the past few years, they abducted and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan. On a number of occasions, these militant outfits claimed responsibility for their subversive acts. But, they have always blamed Pak Army and other security agencies for human rights violations in Balochistan.
It is notable that the ink on Pak-China agreements related to CPEC was barely dry when some western media, especially RAW started playing up the Baloch insurgency. In this regard, the director of The Second Floor (T2F), a social activist Sabeen Mahmud was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Karachi on April 24, 2015, followed by a bomb blast in Sibi, which killed several persons on April 26. However, she had left T2F after attending the session on Balochistan province, when she was targeted. She was likely to conduct a seminar at LUMS in Lahore about Balochistan. Earlier, on April 11, gunmen killed 20 laborers at a dam construction site in the Turbat district of Baluchistan. On May 29, 2015, 20 people were killed when unknown militants opened fire at the kidnapped passengers in Mastung area of Balochistan—after abduction of two buses. Particularly, on May 13, 45 people were killed when gunmen brutally opened fire on a bus of the Ismaili community in Karachi. Ahmed Marwat, a spokesman of Jundullah which is the affiliated group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)—backed by RAW claimed responsibility for the bus attack.
These terror attacks which continue in some way or the other are aimed at sabotaging the CPEC by showing that if Pakistan government is not able to provide security to its citizens, how it can protect CPEC.
Similarly, RAW was behind the assassination of Sabeen Mahmud-a well thought-out plan not only to try to harm Pak-China CPEC project, but also to accuse Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Another aim was also to drive a wedge between Balochistan and rest of Pakistan.
It is mentionable that on July 23, 2008, Brahmdagh Bugti told the BBC that they had the right to accept foreign aid and arms from anywhere including India.
It is worth-mentioning that with the help of Baloch nationalist leaders who have taken refuge in western countries; these hostile entities are launching false campaign to distort the image of Islamabad and its security agencies.
Whereas Pak Army has not only been successful in uprooting the anti-state elements, but also contributed a lot in socio-economic development of Balochistan. While protecting mega projects, and promoting other developments works, Army set up a number of institutes in Balochistan, which have been providing especially technical training to thousands of Balochis. Army has also been imparting military training to the Baloch youth. The purpose is to bring them in the mainstream of the country.
Baloch people know that the feudal lords (Sardars) like Brahmdagh Bugti who have been fighting for their own so-called status, prestige and influence, do not want to give up the old system of feudalism. They are now well-aware that with the assistance of US-led India and Israel, these anti-Pakistan elements are inciting them for independence of the province.
It is noteworthy that a Gallup survey of the UK official body, DFID, conducted on July 20, 2012 had disclosed that the vast majority of the Baloch people oppose the idea of an independent Balochistan.
While, as a result of the general elections 2013, the government led by a nationalist leader Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch was established. And on December 7, 2013; local bodies elections were largely held in a peaceful manner in Balochistan. The successful elections have greatly negated the cause of terrorist groups who always claim to enjoy the majority support. These elections also proved that majority of the Baloch are loyal to the federation, as they have rejected the case of separatists, being projected by India and other major countries.
Now, a majority of the Baloch persons has understood that Balochistan’s mineral resources and geo-strategic location with deep Gwadar seaport which would connect rest of the world with Central Asia have further annoyed the US and India. In this connection, Pak-China CPEC project is to be economic game changer in whole the region, which is badly hit by below average living conditions, while people of Balochistan would be the main beneficiaries of the project. Two decades down the timeline, Gwadar would be a thriving metropolitan providing economic opportunities to the youth of Balochistan.
And, with the inception of new political governments both at the center and the province, a meaningful negotiation with all the armed groups have been initiated by a high level reconciliation and negotiation committee, comprising seasoned Baloch, Pashtoon and Sindhi leaders to initiate dialogue with Baloch separatists. The government of Balochistan has also announced general pardon and protection to the Baloch militants. Hence, many insurgents have surrendered their arms and decided to work for the development of Pakistan.
But, it is regrettable that on the instruction of some western countries, particularly, New Delhi, leader of the BRP, Nawabzada Braham¬¬dagh Bugti who continues to deny such an offer is misguiding the Baloch against the federation of Pakistan by opposing the CPEC.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations