The Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's remark on Balochistan has encouraged strong anti-Pakistan rhetoric (Reuters)
While celebrating the 70th Independence Day, Pakistani leaders affirmed solidarity towards pro-Pakistani secessionist elements in Kashmir. Abdul Basit, Pakistan's High Commissioner in New Delhi, who is known for his anti-India rhetoric went ahead and stated that this year's independence day has been dedicated to Kashmir. Pakistani leaders also made hostile remarks against India and alleged that the Indian security forces are violating human rights in Kashmir.
In the past when Pakistani leaders made false accusations about Indian atrocities in Jammu & Kashmir, the Indian ministry of external affairs and Indian political leaders usually went defensive. However, this time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a tough stance and mentioned in his Independence Day speech from Red Fort about the freedom struggle of people of Balochistan, Gilgit, Baltistan and the residents of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).
The Indian prime minister showed his concern about the cruelty perpetrated by the Pakistani army and security forces on the residents of POK and Balochistan. Narendra Modi, without mentioning names, also pointed out to the stark differences between India and Pakistan; India conveyed pain and grief when terrorists massacred school children in Peshawar, while they eulogized terrorists.
Modi’s mention of Balochistan and the POK region, including Gilgit and Baltistan, is an intrepid shift in India’s foreign policy. So far, India has never spoken a word against the mayhem perpetrated by Pakistan in the above-mentioned region. In the joint statement by Manmohan Singh and Yousaf Raza Gilani in 2009 at Sharm-el-Sheikh, both countries agreed to talk about Balochistan as Pakistan assured that its government possessed some credible information about terrorist activities in the province. In the long run, however, the statement did not actualise, and it has come to be seen as a diplomatic defeat for India.
Whenever India produced conclusive evidence on the involvement of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in terrorist activities within India, particularly, in Jammu & Kashmir, the Pakistani government always responded by falsely alleging that India is giving assistance to the Baloch insurgents.
Pakistan also tried to curb the rising Indian influence in Afghanistan by asserting that Indian consulates are supporting the Baloch rebellion. A few months back, the Pakistani security forces caught an innocent Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav and alleged that he was an agent of Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW). Jadhav was accused of fomenting trouble in Balochistan. However, Pakistani security agencies neither gave consular access nor could provide any proof against Jadhav.
The mineral rich Balochistan is the largest and poorest province, which was forcibly merged with Pakistan. Khan of Kalat wanted to stay independent but Pakistani army attacked Balochistan in 1948, and after some time it was incorporated into Pakistan against the wishes of the people of Balochistan. Hence, the insurgency in Balochistan is continuing since 1948.
In 1973 six divisions of Pakistani army were deployed to crush a rebellion of more than 10000 Balochis of different revolutionary organizations. In the process, more than 5000 Balochis and 3000 Pakistani soldiers were killed.
Pakistani army used heavy weapons and bombs to curb the uprising. Balochis were revolting against the economic exploitation by the Punjabi-dominated Pakistan government. Balochis were also resisting the sinister move of the Pakistani government to settle Punjabis in the Balochistan province with the intention of changing the demography of the state.
Pakistan's government is using Balochistan as a colony and exploiting its mineral wealth. In 2006, the Pakistani army had to launch a massive operation to curb Baloch insurgency, in which the chief of powerful Bugti tribe Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed. It is ridiculous that now Pakistani leaders condemn Indian security forces for the use of pellet guns in Kashmir while Pakistani army used fighter jets and heavy artillery in Balochistan.
There are several Baloch separatist organizations, including the Balochistan Liberation Army, the Balochistan Liberation Front, the Baloch Republican Army, and the United Baloch Army. All these organisations have been working for an independent Balochistan. Other than these outfits, the public of Balochistan is totally against Punjabi domination and wants to secede. India, therefore, needs to give them moral and diplomatic support. India should provide them recognition in the international arena and give them a forum so that they can expose the atrocities, exploitation and human right violations of Pakistani security forces in Balochistan.
It will be a hard-hitting lesson for Pakistan. So far it was internationalizing Kashmir issue and India was only rebutting its allegations. Now India will also be speaking out against Pakistani mayhem in Balochistan and the POK region.
Kashmiri resistance cannot survive without external assistance. Balochis are, however, so fed up with the exploitation of the Pakistani government that they do not require any material assistance from India.
India should also keep Iran's reaction within consideration as the latter is against an independent Balochistan.
The people of Balochistan are against USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as it will neither benefit Balochistan nor its people. China is also reluctant to finance such a huge amount if the Pakistani government fail to control the insurgents in Balochistan. Modi’s reference to Balochistan and POK is also a message to China as CPEC has to pass through both the regions.
India must understand that there cannot be friendly relations with Pakistan. Firstly, it was created on the theory of hate. Secondly, the Pakistani army enjoys several advantages trumpeting the danger of Pakistan from India. Hence, it will never allow the civilian government to initiate cordial relations with its eastern neighbor. General Raheel Sharif, Pakistan's army chief, who lost his elder brother Major Shabbir Sharif in 1971 war with India is personally against any amiable relation with India.
Pakistan has waged a low-intensity war against India; dispersal of terrorism has become the main organ of its foreign policy. The despicable ISI is running several terrorist camps in various parts of the country, particularly, in POK, Waziristan, and several other areas.
Indian security forces killed and nabbed several Pakistanis when they were carrying out terrorist activities in India. But Pakistan instead of impeding the nefarious activities of rogue ISI always pretended that these terrorists are non-state actors; they are involved in terrorist activities because of Islamic fervor, and the government has no control over them.
Pakistani masses are delighted when an ISI-trained terrorist carry out terrorist activities in India. They consider it as the victory of Pakistan.
India must chalk out a long-term plan so that Pakistan gets a lesson similar to the war of 1971. In this connection, the powerful speech of Ajit Doval, India's national security advisor, at SASTRA University in 2014 is important. He warned Pakistan, "You can do one Mumbai, you may lose Balochistan".