Balochistan was forcibly occupied by Pakistan on March 27, 1948 and the Baloch have been fighting for their independence since then. Yet a large section of mainstream media considers Balochistan’s freedom struggle as an internal matter of Pakistan. Dil Murad Baloch, Secretary General Baloch National Movement (BNM) is upset that media and the intelligentsia still look at the Balochistan’s freedom struggle from the perspective of Panjabi Pakistan. In this discussion with Vivek Sinha, Editor-in-Chief News Intervention, Dil Murad Baloch explains that the Pakistani regime spreads rumors of negotiations with the Baloch people only to divert attention even as Pakistan Army continues to abduct and kill the Baloch people.
Vivek Sinha: Balochistan attained independence on Aug 11, 1947 which is four days before Indian independence. Yet very few people outside Balochistan know about this important historical fact. What are the efforts of BNM to let the world know about Balochistan’s history?
Dil Murad Baloch: Following the British occupation of India, their efforts to thwart Soviet Union’s influence in Afghanistan led to hurdles, with independent Baluchistan acting as a significant obstacle. This was due, in part, to the strategic importance of the Bolan Pass — the primary route the British believed was the best way to launch attacks against Afghanistan. During the British occupation of Afghanistan, the Baloch people put up formidable resistance as the British army marched through Bolan Pass. The British army suffered heavy losses there. The British opted to occupy Balochistan as a means of exerting control over Afghanistan. Britain wanted to use Balochistan and Afghanistan as a buffer state against the Soviet Union. Upon returning from Afghanistan, the British army, led by Major Wilshire, initiated a significant assault on Kalat, the capital of Balochistan, on November 13, 1839. However, Baloch ruler Khan Mehrab Khan valiantly fought a historic battle and, along with his companions, was ultimately martyred.
The British, despite their occupation, did not eliminate the Baloch’s sovereignty. Instead, they entered into four well-known agreements with them: the 1841, 1854, 1854, and 1862 agreements. Khan Kalat was officially acknowledged as Balochistan’s ruler through these agreements.
Following the aftermath of the World War, Britain relinquished control over its colonies. Rather than acknowledging India’s independence, the country was partitioned. It is ironic that the Congress leadership supported the partition of India, resulting in ongoing religious strife in the region.
On August 4, 1947 a meeting was held in New Delhi, chaired by Lord Mountbatten, the Viceroy of India, with the participation of Baloch ruler Ahmed Yar Khan, Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan from the Muslim League leadership. Balochistan stood out as a distinct entity during these discussions.
The proposal acknowledged Balochistan as a distinct and autonomous country, and the return of British Balochistan’s Baloch areas. It recognized Balochistan’s separation from the Indian states as an independent sovereign territory. Kalat (Balochistan) was declared an independent state by its ruler, Khan Kalat Mir Ahmad Yar Khan, on August 11, 1947. Kalat’s liberation was reported by All India Radio Delhi, and also covered by The New York Times in its 12 August 1947 edition.
On August 15, 1947, Britain created two dominion states in the Indian subcontinent: India and Pakistan, just four days after Balochistan had declared independence. Governor General of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah pushed for Kalat (Balochistan) to be included in Pakistan. To discuss this matter, the Diwan Aam (Lower House) of Kalat held its first meeting from 12 to 15 December 1947 in Dhadar.
In a unanimous decision, the House rejected the proposal to join Pakistan. Similarly, on January 4, 1948, the Diwan Khas (Upper House) also refused the proposition to join Pakistan during their meeting in Dhadar. During the second session on February 27, 1948, the Kalat parliament rejected the proposition of joining Pakistan. However, on March 27, Pakistan occupied Balochistan by force, taking away our freedom.
Vivek Sinha: A section of Pakistani media refers to Baloch freedom struggle as “Pakistan’s internal matter”. These Pakistanis claim that they are in talks with Baloch and that they will be pacified. Your thoughts.
Dil Murad Baloch: Not a part of the Pakistani media, but the entire media considers the Baloch national issue and the freedom movement as an internal matter of Pakistan. Due to the absence of independent media in Pakistan, there is a non-existence of any reference to Balochistan in the media. All institutions there (in Pakistan) are under the control of the army. The army’s influence can be found in every institution in Pakistan, from the parliament to the judiciary. However, these institutions are completely devoted to maintaining and advancing the army’s viewpoint. Whatever is provided to them by the army, they propagate it.
Occasionally, certain individuals spread rumors of negotiations with the Baloch or others in an attempt to sow discord within our movement. These claims are unfounded and baseless. Those involved in the Baloch movement cannot negotiate with Pakistan or engage in politics under the guise of Baloch interests. How can there be a dialogue between the weak and the powerful, rather a dialogue means putting one’s neck on the sword. After numerous sacrifices, it is not expected that the Baloch will be deluded into accepting Pakistan.
Vivek Sinha: Despite widespread protests by Baloch diaspora the Pakistan Army continues to abduct Baloch and kill innocent Baloch people. Why do you think Pakistan Army is killing Baloch intelligentsia? How many Baloch have been forcefully abducted and killed by the Pakistan Army over the last two decades?
Dil Murad Baloch: Not only does the Baloch diaspora, but large-scale demonstrations and political protests persist on Baloch land too. However, despite these the acts of genocide and forced disappearances continue unabated. It is evident that Pakistan recognizes the fact that the Baloch people have no desire to coexist with their country. That is why Pakistan is implementing a strategy of collective punishment as a means to teach the Baloch nation a lesson. The ultimate objective is to effectively weaken the Baloch nation through genocide and collective punishment in hopes that it will eventually withdraw from its pursuit of national independence.
The killing of educated youth is another link in the chain as the current leadership of the movement is predominantly made up of educated young people, a contrast to the past. Be it the field of politics, armed fronts, and diplomacy, everywhere you will see educated Baloch youth. Pakistan is perpetrating genocide against the Baloch people by engaging in abhorrent war crimes.
The history of nations proves that they cannot be subdued in such a manner. Presently, the Baloch independence movement is complex and intricate, consisting of various dimensions and layers. When Pakistan tries to suppress one-layer, other layers become more active. Therefore, despite twenty years of war crimes, Pakistan is unable to crush the Baloch national movement.
As far as the statistics of murders and enforced disappearances are concerned, Pakistan has forcibly disappeared more than twenty youths during the last week. This process is continuous. This provides an insight into the staggering number of individuals who have been forcibly disappeared or killed within the past two decades. The count is expressed in thousands and continues to rise with each passing day.
Vivek Sinha: Given the prejudiced approach of international organizations such as the UN, UNHRC, Amnesty International etc. the Baloch still expect that these international organizations will help Balochistan’s independence struggle. Don’t you think that too much expectation from these international organizations is delaying Balochistan’s independence?
Dil Murad Baloch: The Baloch people did not rely on any international organizations or neighboring countries to grant them freedom and assistance. They depended on their own actions and efforts. The Baloch are unwavering in their willingness to make any sacrifice necessary for the sake of freedom, recognizing that it is a fundamental requirement. This is an entirely indigenous movement, being fought locally and solely driven by its own resources. However, we make a concerted effort to remind both, countries and international organizations of their responsibilities. Why are institutions created and what is the primary goal of the United Nations?
In the UN, “nations” refers to a nation itself. Therefore, as a nation, we must remind them that it is their responsibility to act when a nation is in distress, undergoing genocide, or stripped of its freedom. The United Nations must act in such circumstances, and we strive to raise awareness among other human rights organizations. The institutions face questions about their existence when they fail to perform their fundamental responsibilities. I think this is the problem of these institutions more than us.
Vivek Sinha: International media and the mainstream Indian media, in particular, still reports about Balochistan’s freedom struggle from the Panjabi Pakistani perspective. What is BNM doing to change this?
Dil Murad Baloch: It raises the question of the seriousness of the Indian media that despite the passage of seventy-six years, the most important issue of the region i.e. the Baloch national issue is seen from the point of view of Punjabi Pakistan. We can only regret this. The Indian media ought to recognize the root cause of the dire state of the entire region, including India. Where is the center and source of terrorism? What were the historical events that led to the partition of India on the basis of religious differences?
Regrettably, discussions of this nature seem to be absent from the Indian media. What was the status of the Baloch nation during India’s partition and how was Balochistan occupied? The Baloch nation has now become a recognized party, despite having faced numerous wars in the past. For the last twenty-three years, the Baloch people have been in a constant battle with the world’s seventh nuclear power. Here Pakistan is not alone but China is also present.
Everyone should know that Pakistan and China are not only the problem for Baloch, but the region and your India will also be affected by it. To understand these issues in depth, there is no remarkable performance in the Indian media to discuss them. No research is seen, no documentary is seen, but a few superficial issues are thrown around in such a way that the real issue is never seen on the screen.
Vivek Sinha: One Naila Qadri is claiming that she has set up Balochistan’s government in exile. She also claims to lead the Baloch freedom struggle. What is the truth regarding this?
Dil Murad Baloch: The answer to this also lies in the answer to the previous question, because most of us knew from the Indian media that “we have a government-in-exile and Banuk Naila Qadri is our PM”. This is a movement, people are making daily sacrifices here. Behind this movement, there are political parties and organizations that have the support of the masses. In the current era of social media, it is essential to verify the authenticity of anyone who claims to be the true representative of the Baloch nation. If this practice persists, the number of Prime Ministers will multiply.
The Baloch nation alone holds the right to form a government-in-exile; it is not the right of one individual. Baloch nation is represented by well-known parties and organizations. In the event that establishing a government-in-exile becomes necessary, all parties involved will collaborate. No one has the right to make such a claim and their credibility is lost if they do. Indian media must take extra precautions to avoid this.
Vivek Sinha: What does Balochistan expect from the Indian people?
Dil Murad Baloch: The discussion of India and Baloch is often framed within the context of the Pakistan-India arch rivalry, wherein the principle of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” holds sway. We strongly disagree with this. We require all countries and nations to aid and protect us from oppressive forces and the occupier.
When we talk about India, we mean the largest population in the world and the largest democracy in the world. Given its status as the world’s largest republic, we have high expectations for India to fulfill its responsibilities. Our aim is to make it clear that Pakistan poses a threat not only to the Baloch people, but to all of humanity. Pakistan has become associated with terrorism around the world as it has been observed that wherever acts of terrorism happen, a connection to Pakistan is often found.
China has established a presence in Balochistan and their joint plans with Pakistan in this area are unimaginable. It is crucial for India to recognize the gravity of the current situation. We will take charge of our own battle, but it is crucial for the global community, and India in particular, to advocate for our fallen independence. The dire circumstances that have arisen in the region since Pakistan’s formation can only be rectified by dismantling it. Independent Balochistan is the guarantor of peace in the region.